Aralia lyallii, n. s
A stout herb. Stems ¾″ thick, pilose, forming strong arcuate stolons. Leaves alternate, crowded, petioles 1′–5′ long, fistulose, terete, pilose, with a sheathing laciniated ligule at the base: blade 6″–24″ in diameter, orbicular-reniform, lobed and deeply toothed, upper surface shining, usually glabrous, hairy beneath. Umbels monœcious, on axillary or terminal scapes, equalling or exceeding the leaves, globose 6″–12″ diameter, compound: primary involucral leaves foliaceous, inferior linear. Fl. unisexual, calyx teeth reduced to points, petals linear, more or less imbricate in bud. Male, stamens 5, filaments slender, disk 2-lobed. Female, stylopodia 2, reniform, forming a flat indented disk; styles 2, short, free, straight or divergent, ovary 2-celled. Fruit spherical, black, 2-celled, cells 1-seeded: testa crustaceous, striated.
Hob. South Island:—Goal Island, Preservation Inlet (identified from the deck of a passing steamer); Stewart Island and outliers, chiefly on shady cliffs, etc; Herekopere Island, Ruapuke Island, Green Island, Centre, Island (nearly extinct).
Reported also from the Snares, Antipodes Island, and Bounty Island, but I have not seen specimens.
The punui often forms large patches spreading by means of the stout naked stolons which at first are suberect but gradually become inclined or arched until the terminal bud comes in contact with the ground, when roots are given off and a new plant is speedily developed. The stems vary in length from a few inches to 3′ or 4′ and are about the thickness of a man's finger. The patch becomes more and more dense as seeding plants are developed amongst the stolons. Specimens grown in the shade exhibit a marked difference from those grown in the open. In the former the leaves are flat or convex, more membranous, and with softer hairs than those grown in exposed places. The latter have leaves of stouter texture and clothed with stronger hairs—the blades often concave forming cups having the cordate or reniform bases folded inwards: it is doubtless this peculiarity
which led Mr. J. B. Armstrong to describe the leaf as having a closed sinus, an error which is at once demonstrated by simply flattening the leaf. As a rule large specimens growing in the open have the upper leaves concave and the lower convex, the texture of those most exposed being almost as thick as in some specimens of Stilbocarpa. Occasionally hairs are developed on both surfaces, but they are always white and soft.
The foliaceous ligule at the base of each leaf is sometimes largely developed, and usually exhibits a pair of acute laciniæ larger than the others, at first sight presenting the appearance of a pair of ordinary stipules: most frequently all the laciniæ are more or less acute and ciliated, but a considerable amount of variation is exhibited in this respect.
Much variation is shown in the density of the inflorescence; the umbels are highly compound, usually forming a dense orbicular mass of reddish-purple flowers, often more than a foot in diameter. Frequently the inflorescence is lax and open. The scapes are fistulose, and equal the petioles; the primary involucral leaves are sometimes 5″ or 6″ in diameter, on stout petioles, and closely resemble ordinary leaves; the secondary series is also petioled but greatly reduced in size and modified in form, being trifid, tripartite, or lobulate with a cuneate base; in the tertiary umbellules they are simply linear.
In most specimens each of the secondary rays carries a female umbellule, from beneath which a whorl of from two to five male umbellules is given off; some of these are again branched. Sometimes the apex of a secondary ray terminates in a single abortive flower, when the tertiary rays carry small female umbellules surrounded by male as before. The pedicels of the male flowers are shorter than those of the female.
In the male flowers the calyx teeth are reduced to points, in the female they are obsolete; the petals are usually close set, those of the male being slightly longer than the others, both alike are of a lurid reddish-purple.
Stilbocarpa polaris differs from Aralia lyallii in the stouter texture of the leaves, which are clothed on both surfaces with long bristles, and the petiole is slightly compressed, sometimes exhibiting traces of a groove on the upper surface; the ligule is usually more deeply laciniated, the laciniæ being orbtuse and fringed with strong cilia. The petals are broader, obovate-spathulate, and of a pale yellow colour. The stamens are oblong, with rather shorter filaments, and the styles are recurved. The stylopodia form an interrupted annular disk, and as already shown, the fruit is acetabuliform 8–4 celled. It appears to be restricted to the Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, and Macquarrie Island.