Art. XL.—Descriptions of new Native Plants.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 8th May, 1886.]
1. Ranunculus berggreni, n. sp.
Small, glabrous, glossy green.
Rootstock as thick as a crow-quill, creeping, and sending off long roots.
Leaves all radical, on slender flattened petioles ⅓–1 inch long; blade orbicular-reniform, 8–11 lines in diameter, unequally 3-lobed to the middle, the lobes crenate and beautifully reticulated.
Scapes 1 or 2, 1-flowered, slender, naked, glabrous, 1 ½–3 ½ inches long.
Sepals 5, ovate, obtuse, yellowish-green, with brown margins.
Petals 5, rich golden-yellow above, more or less green below; narrow-obovate, very obtuse, sometimes pink at the edges on the back; nectary near the base conspicuous.
Mature achenes not seen; in young forms the style is terminal, subulate, and recurved.
Hab. Carrick Range, near Cromwell; 4,000 feet: collected November, 1885. I visited this habitat in February of this year, expecting to get mature achenes; but in this I was disappointed, for the plants were eaten down by sheep or rabbits, no doubt in consequence of the exceptionally dry season rendering green food very scarce.
2. Haloragis spicata, n. sp.
A slender, erect, branched herb, 4–10 inches high.
Stems slender, wiry, grooved, sparingly scabrid, usually divided near the base into several branches.
Leaves in opposite pairs, diminishing upwards, almost sessile, coriaceous, with distinct midrib, acute, elliptic-oblong, sparingly pilose or almost glabrous, ⅓–⅔ inch long, with five distinct rather deep serratures at equal intervals along the margin.
Peduncles numerous, branching off from the top of the stem, with several (7 or fewer) single or paired small sub-hispid bracts, bearing in their axils perfect or imperfect sessile flowers.
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Stigmas 4, plumose, long, turned down on the ovoid 4-angled smooth nut, which is 1/10th inch long and stout. Fruit, 1-celled.
Hab. Moist terraces, top of Lake Hawea, 1,150 feet.
I have not been able to satisfy myself as to the nature of some of the flowers. The upper one or two in each spike is perfect, and produces large nuts, while the others appear to be staminate only. Only a study of later and more mature fresh plants can settle whether the lower flowers are perfect. So far as I can judge from my materials, the uppermost, or two upper, flowers of each spike alone are perfect.
3. Celmisia prorepens, n. sp.
A species of somewhat smaller size than C. viscosa, Hook. fil., forming large dense patches on moist alpine situations.
Rootstock (denuded of the withered fibrous bases of the leaves) as stout as a quill or stouter, much branched, creeping and rooting, the terminal portions invested by a dense covering of the withered sheaths of the leaves or of their fibrous remains.
Leaves densely crowded, 1 ½–3 inches long, ½–1 inch broad, thin, leathery, rugose and corrugated lengthwise, glabrous above, below glabrous, or with a very thin pellicle of grey tomentum, oblong-lanceolate, acute, coarsely serrate, margins recurved, viscid, with veins distinct below. Sheaths narrower than the leaves, semi-membranous, striate, extremely viscid, reddish-brown.
Scapes 1 or 2, axillary, 6 inches long or less, flattened towards the base, slender, viscid, with sparse hairs and numerous broadly-linear entire bracts, often as much as 1 inch long.
Heads ¾ inch across; involucral scales rather few, linear, very viscid.
Pappus as long as the slender silky achene.
Hab. Old Man Range, 4,500 feet; Mt. St. Bathans, 5,000 feet.
This is a very distinct species. My flowering specimens are few, and the description of the head may need correction.
4. Stipa setacea, Br.
Several years ago I found this grass at Firewood Creek, Cromwell, and the Nevis Bluff, Kawarau River. As the plants were confined in these localities to small areas, and these were near an important highway, it was uncertain whether the species had not been accidentally introduced. In March of the present year I found it on the banks of the Waitaki River at Wharekuri. The discovery of this widely-distant habitat is sufficient to remove all reasonable doubt as to its being a genuine native of New Zealand. No doubt it will be observed in other stations ere long. The rare occurrence of this grass is, I believe, due to its being a favourite with sheep. At the Nevis Bluff I noticed that it was always closely cropped wherever sheep could get at it, and it was only in the clefts of rocky cliffs and inaccessible ledges that flowering or fruiting specimens could be got. At Cromwell, also, the only specimens to be found grow in spots very difficult of access. I have for years carefully looked for this plant in all likely places, and I am satisfied that it is now on the verge of extinction. It has a wide range in Australia, being found as far north as Queensland and as far south as Tasmania. I do not know whether it is readily eaten by sheep in these countries.