Art. XXV.—Description of a new Species of Uncinia, Persoon.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 8th November, 1887.]
Uncinia clarkii, n. s.
A spreading species, forming a close grass-like sward.
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Leaves somewhat shorter than the full-grown culms, grassy, smooth or slightly scabrid at the edges, flat with prominent midribs, 1/10–1/7; inch wide, 6–9 inches long.
Culms, 12 inches high or less, terete, rather stout, smooth, strongly grooved.
Spikelets, 1 ½–2 inches long; male portion short; bract short and setaceous or none.
Glumes, closely imbricate, as long as the utricles, lanceolate, acute or sub-acute, membranous, pale-brown, attached more than half-round to the rachis, deciduous, leaving when shed a semicircular cup-like projection below the attachment of the utricles, which gives the rachis a curious jointed appearance; male glumes more persistent.
Utricles, small, dark-brown, stipitate below and tapering above, half as long as the recurved bristle, strongly divaricating when mature, faintly nerved on the outer surface.
Hab. Eweburn Creek, Naseby, 2,000 feet; Hector Mountains, 3,000 to 5,000 feet; Mount Tyndall, 3,000 to 4,000 feet.
This species has pretty close affinity to U. compacta, Br. It is easily distinguished by its spreading habit, longer spikelets, small dark-brown and strongly divaricating utricles.
The plant ascends the mountains to a height of 5,000 feet or more, becoming smaller and smaller as the height increases. Many specimens in the higher valleys of the Hector Mountains do not exceed 2 inches in length.
I have long been convinced of the independence of this species, but have found it most difficult to satisfy myself on the point. The extant descriptions of the New Zealand forms are very imperfect and sometimes contradictory, and the genus badly needs working out afresh. I have much pleasure in dedicating the species to C. B. Clarke, Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S., who has most kindly compared it with the types in the Kew Herbarium, and supplied me with much valuable information about the New Zealand species.