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Volume 23, 1890
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Art. XXIX.—Contributions to the Knowledge of the Fossil Flora of New Zealand.

Communicated by Sir James Hector.

[Translated from the German (Vienna, 1887) by C. Juhl.]

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 13th February, 1891.]

Plates XXIV. to XXXII.

The genealogical relation of the living flora of New Zealand to its Tertiary one has already formed the subject of a paper. I submitted to the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna under the title, “Genetische Gliederung der Flora von Neuseeland” (Sitzungsberichte, vol. 1viii., part i., p. 953). I have pointed out in it that the endemic New Zealand flora not only contains types which may probably descend from the principal element of its Tertiary flora, but also such ones probably derivable from some accessory elements of the latter flora.

Only a short time had elapsed since my attention had been again drawn to the subject, and I was able to lay a memoir before the above-named Academy, entitled “Beiträge zur Kenntniss der fossilen Flora Neuseelands” (Contributions to the Fossil Flora of New Zealand, Denksch. K. Akad. Wissensch., Wien, vol. lii., part i., 1887), in which I state, “It was my good fortune in 1884 to receive two collections of fossil plants from New Zealand, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Professor Dr. Julius von Haast, of Christ church, and Professor T. J. Parker, of Dunedin.”

Seventeen localities of fossil plants are here represented, which belong to three formations—the Tertiary, Cretaceous and Trias.

[Footnote] * See also “Tertiary Flora of Australia,” by Baron von Ettingshausen; translated and published by the Gov. Surv. of N. S. Wales Sydney, 1888; p. 82. Von Haast: Trans. N.Z. Inst., xix., p. 449. Geol. Magazine, 1887, p. 359.

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The Tertiary flora, collected from eight localities, as Shag Point, Dunstan, Landslip Hill, Malvern Hills, Redcliffe Gully, Weka Pass, Amuri, and Murderer's Creek, comprises till now, as far as investigation could bring to light, fifty-two species, which are distributed into thirty-nine genera and twenty-six families. Of these species, three are Cryptogamæ, eleven Gymnospermæ, two Monocotyledons, twenty-two Apetalæ, three Gamopetalæ, and ten Dialypetalæ. Regarding the general flora character, it by no means essentially deviates from that of the hitherto known Tertiary flora. We find here the same mixed character as in the Tertiary flora of Europe, North America, and Australia, the analogies of which to the New Zealand Tertiary species may easily be seen in the subjoined table.

Although the Tertiary flora of New Zealand is very different from the living one, yet with regard to several species a close relationship is clearly indicated. Thus, Aspidium tertiario-zeelandicum and A. novæ-zeelandiæ, Presl., Dammara oweni and D. australis, Lamb., Podocarpus parkeri and P. totara, Don., Dacrydium præcupressinum and D. cupressinum, Sol., &c., are closely allied. Besides, several genera—for instance, Fagus, Hedycarya, Santalum, Loranthus, &c.—are represented in both, whereas others seem to be in a genetic relation to living ones, and the latter may in some degree be transmuted from the former. Thus, Daphnophyllum or Laurophyllum may have turned out to be Nesodaphne, likewise Apocynophyllum to Parsonsia, Aralia to Schefflera, Sapindus to Alectryon, &c. On the contrary, we miss in the recent (endemic) flora of New Zealand a considerable series of genera due to its Tertiary one: for example, Lomariopsis, Sequoia, Araucaria, Seaforthia, Casuarina, Myrica, Alnus, Quercus, Ulmus, Planera, Ficus, Cinnamomum, Dryandra, Diospyros, Aralia, Acer, Sapindus, Elæodendron, &c.

According to the preceding statements, the principal results of my memoir are as follow:—

Firstly—In New Zealand there exists a genetic relationship between its Tertiary and its living flora.

Secondly—The Tertiary flora of New Zealand contains the elements of several floras.

Thirdly—The Tertiary flora of New Zealand is a part of that universal original flora from which all living floras of the globe descend.

Fourthly—In New Zealand only one part of its Tertiary flora has changed into its living flora; the other has become extinct.

I proceed now to communicate a brief record on the fossil plants occurring in the above-named localities.

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I. Of all the localities ascribed to the Tertiary formation that of Shag Point is the richest and most interesting. Of Cryptogamæ two species of Aspidium, and of Cycadeæ a specimen betraying some resemblance to Zamites tertiarius, Heer, have been found. Of Coniferæ we have ten species, belonging to seven genera. They are fully enumerated in the table affixed below.

Of Monocotyledons one Caulinites, and of Dicotyledons a considerable series, occur there, as follow: One Casuarina; two species of Myrica, the one allied to M. integrifolia, Ung., of the European Tertiary flora, the other similar to M. quercifolia, Linn., a native of the Cape of Good Hope; one Alnus, closely related to the European Tertiary A. kefersteinii, as well as to the Australian Tertiary A. maccoyi; four Quercus, one of them allied to Q. macranthera, native of the Caucasus, another related to the European Tertiary, Q. lonchitis, Ung.; two species of Fagus, the one related to F. procera and F. alpina, both natives of Chili, the other very similar to F. deucalionis, Ung., as well as to the North American F. ferruginea; one Ulmus and one Planera, both analogous to species of the European Tertiary flora; one Ficus, a species corresponding to F. lanceolata, of the European Tertiary, and to F. burkei, of the Australian Tertiary flora; one Hedycarya, analogous to the Tertiary H. europæ, as well as to the Australian Tertiary, H. wickami; one Cinnamomum, closely allied to C. polymorphum and C. polymorphoides; two Cassia, the one closely related to C. phaseolites and C. phaseolitoides, the other to C. memnonia. Besides, species of the genera Santalum, Diospyros, Aralia, Loranthus, Acer, and Carpolithes, have been found there, their analogues being represented in the Tertiary of Europe, North America, and Australia (as specified in the subjoined table).

From the flora of the above-mentioned locality we may safely conclude that it, and probably also the following localities, belong to the Lower Tertiary. As many species of this flora are closely related or at least analogous to Eocene species, I refer it to the Eocene period.

II. From Dunstan the following species are now before us: A Lomariopsis analogous to L. bilinica from the Eocene strata of Kutschlin, near Bilin, and related to L. triquetra, a native of Nepal; an Aspidium, which has also been collected from the preceding locality; and a Seaforthia, analogous to S. mellingii of the fossil flora of Eibiswald, and to S. robusta, R. Brown, living in Australia.

III. From Landslip Hill the following are derived: Sequoia, also found at Shag Point; a Dryophyllum, being analogous to D. lineare, from the Eocene flora of Sézanne; two Apocynophyllum, the one corresponding to A. helveticum,

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of the European Tertiary, and to A. mackinlayi, of the Australian Eocene flora, the other related to A. tabernæmontana, of the fossil flora of Radoboj; an Elæodendron, corresponding to E. helveticum, of the European Tertiary flora, and to E. curtipendulum, a native of Norfolk Island.

IV. At Malvern Hills, the following species have been found: An Araucaria and a Dammara, both also occurring at Shag Point; a Myrica, representing the widely-spread Tertiary Myrica lignitum; a Quercus, coming also from Shag Point; a Fagus, corresponding to F. wilkinsoni, of the Australian Tertiary; a Planera, which appears also at Shag Point and at Murderer's Creek; a Cissophyllum, approaching the genera Cissites and Ampelophyllum.

V. At Redcliffe Gully the following species have been found: An Alnus and a Quercus, both also occurring at Shag Point; a Sapindus, corresponding to S. falcifolius, of the European, and to S. caudatus, of the American, as well as to S. gossei, of the Australian Tertiary flora.

VI. From Weka Pass a Daphnophyllum, related to D. ellipticum, Heer, has been collected.

VII. At Amuri a fragment of wood has been discovered. I referred it to Dammara oweni, a species occurring also at Shag Point and at Malvern Hills.

VIII. At Murderer's Creek the following species have appeared: A Quercus, a Planera, a Cinnamomum, and a Cassia, all also collected from the preceding localities, I.-V.; a Dryandra, closely related to D. acutiloba, of the European, and to D. benthami, of the Australian Tertiary flora.

The strata containing remains of Dicotyledons in New Zealand have been collectively called “Cretaceo-Tertiary.” I have pointed out that some of the strata must be referred only to the Cretaceous, and the others only to the Tertiary formation. The latter having already been taken into consideration in the preceding exposition, I now proceed to explain the results of my investigations on the fossil flora of the Cretaceous formation. The Cretaceous flora of New Zealand has up till now been collected from four localities—namely, Pakawau, Grey River, Wangapeka, and Reefton. It contains thirty-seven species, distributed into twenty-nine genera and seventeen families. Of these species, four are Cryptogamæ, eight Coniferæ, four Monocotyledons, thirteen Apetalæ, and eight Dialypetalæ. Gamopetalæ are wanting here. Several species seem to be the ancestors of Tertiary ones, particularly of the genera Aspidium, Podocarpus, Dacrydium, Quercus, Fagus, Ulmus, Ficus, Cinnamomum, Dryandroides, Ceratopetalum, Cupanites, &c. According to the closer relationship of some of these species to Tertiary ones, we

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may refer the above-mentioned localities to the Upper Cretaceous formation.

I. Pakawau, Nelson, the richest locality of the four, contains well-preserved fossil plants. Its flora is characterized by species of ferns exhibiting the facies of Cretaceous ferns, by the genera of Coniferæ, Podocarpium and Dacrydinium; by a peculiar genus of Musaceæ, Haastia, related to Musophyllum; by Ulmophylon, a genus comprising the ancestor species of Tertiary Ulmus- and Planera-species; by a Dryophyllum, and by a Grewiopsis—species analogous to species of the American Cretaceous formation; and by species of Cinnamomum and Dryandroides, corresponding to European Cretaceous species. There have also been found a Bambusea, a Casuarinites, a peculiar Fagus-species, and a Cupanites.

II. Grey River, Westland, a locality which offers many but not such well-preserved fossils. There have been discovered a Flabellaria, related to F. longirhachis, Ung., from the Cretaceous beds of Muthmannsdorf, Austria; two species of Quercus, one species of Celastrophyllum, and one species of Palæocassia, all corresponding to species of the Cretaceous flora; a Dalbergiophyllum reminds us of a Dalbergia-species of the same flora. There also have been found a Knightiophyllum and a Ceratopetalum, both peculiar to this locality; whilst a Bambusea, a Casuarinites, and a Cupanites, which also occur at the former locality, have been collected.

III. Wangapeka, Nelson, showing a flora which agrees with that of the preceding localities, inasmuch as some of its species are common to the latter. Of the several forms of fossil plants peculiar to this locality, the following are worthy of notice: Two genera of Coniferæ, the one intermediate between Cephalotaxus and Torreya, the other uniting Ginkgo with Phyllocladus; two Quercus-, one Fagus-, and one Ficus-species, all corresponding to Cretaceous forms; a Sapindo-phyllum analogous to Sapindus prodromus, Heer, from the Cretaceous strata of North Greenland; a Dalbergiophyllum, and a Poacites.

IV. Reefton, Nelson. Only Casuarinites (Cretaceous) has been found here, a species which also occurs at Pakawau and at Grey River.


The collections of Sir Julius von Haast and Professor Parker also contain many fossil plants from localities which I refer to much lower Mesozoic strata. They are—Mount Potts, Haast Gully, Malvern Hills II., Mataura, and Waikawa. A greater difference of age of these localities is excluded by some common species which they contain. The species mostly are analogous to Triassic ones. I may therefore not be far wrong in supposing that all the last-named localities belong to the Trias formation.

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A brief record of their flora follows:—

I. Mount Potts. Here have been collected—Equisetum microdon, m., a species corresponding to a European Triassic one; Tæniopteris pseudo-vittata, m., closely allied to T. vittata from the European Trias flora; Asplenium hochstetteri, Ung., sp.: Palissya podocarpioides, m., analogous to P. braunii, Endl,; Baiera australis, m., also corresponding to a European species of that flora; phyllodes of Thinnfeldia australis, m., and of Protocladus lingua, m.

II. At Haast Gully (also Clent Hills) have been found—Sphenopteris amissa, m., S. clentiana, m., Pecopteris proxima m., Tæniopteris pseudo-simplex, m.—all more or less related to Triassic species; Tæniopteris pseudo-vittata, Camptopteris haastii, m., Asplenium hochstetteri, Equisetum microdon, Palissya podocarpioides, and Baiera australis.

III. Malvern Hills II. (not to be confounded with the above-named Tertiary locality, Malvern Hills No. I.) Pecopteris proxima, m., Tæniopteris lomariopsis, m., both related to Triassic species; Asplenium palæo-darea, m., A. hochstetteri, Podozamites malvernicus, m., and Protocladus lingua, have been collected here.

IV. Mataura; and V. Waikawa. Here have been found—Sphenopteris, Palæopteris, Ung., sp., Hymenophyllites australis, m., Tæniopteris pseudo-simplex, T. lomariopsis, Asplenium hochstetteri, Macro-tæniopteris affinis, m., Lycopodites palæo-silaginella, m., Nilssonia zeelandica, m., Zamites mataurensis, m., Pterophyllum dieffenbachi, m., The fossil plants are well preserved here, and the species bear more or less the facies of those of the Triassic flora.

In concluding this brief notice, I have to remark that I am unwillingly compelled to differ from the views expressed by Sir James Hector, and published by him in “New Zealand Court,” Catalogue Indian and Colonial Exhibition, London, 1886, p. 60—namely, that there occur Mesozoic plants in New Zealand, as, for instance, species of Alethopteris, Tæniopteris, &c., together with leaves of Tertiary Dicotyledons in the same strata. I have not seen any trace of such a connection in the rich material the above-mentioned collections offer. Sir James Hector's statement may be based on some mistake: perhaps he has taken specimens of Camptopteris for leaves of Dicotyledons, an error easily possible when the specimens are not well preserved.*

[Footnote] * The association of Alethopteris (=Blechnum priscum ?) and Tæniopteris in the same slab with dicotyledonous leaves occurs in the collections from Pakawau, Clarence River, and Malvern Hills I., not in the Jurassic strata that yield Camptopteris. The leaves are—Fagus (ninnisiana ?), Protophyllum sp.—J. Hector.

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Table of the Tertiary Plants of New Zealand.
Tertiary Flora.
New Zealand Europe. North America Australia. Existing Flora
Lomariopsis dunstanensis, Ett. L. bilinica, Ett. L. triquetra, Wall.
Aspidium otagoicum, Ett. A. serrulatum, Heer. A. stramineum, Kaulf.
tertiario-zeelandicum, Ett. A. novæ-zeelandiæ, Pr.
Phanerogamæ. Gymnospermæ.
Zamites, sp. Z. tertiarius, Heer.
Taxodium distichum eocenicum, Ett. T. distichum miocenicum T. distichum miocenicum T. distichum, Rich.
Sequoia novæ-zeelandiæ, Ett. S. couttsiæ, Heer. S. affinis, Lesq S. australiensis, Ett. S. sempervirens, Endl.
Pinus, sp.?
Araucaria haastii, Ett. A. chilensis, Mirb.
" danai, Ett. A. sternbergii, Gœpp. A. excelsa, R. Brown.
Dammara oweni, Ett. D. intermedia, Ett. D. australis, Lamb.
" uninervis, Ett. D. ovata, Moore.
Podocarpus parkeri, Ett. F. stiriaca, Ett. Podocarpus, sp. P. totara, Don.
" hochstetteri, Ett. B. elegans, De l'H. D. præcupressina, Ett. P. tenuifolia, Dec.
Dacrydium præcupressinum, Ett. D. cupressinoides, Ett. D. cupressinum, Sol.
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Caulinites otagoicus, Ett. C. radobojensis, Ung. C. sparganioides, Lesq.
Seaforthia zeelandica, Ett. S. mellingii, St. sp. S. robusta, R. Brown.
Casuarina deleta, Ett. C. sotzkiana, Ett. C. cookii, Ett. Casuarina, sp.
Myrica subintegrifolia, Ett. M. integrifolia, Ung M.bolanderi, Lesq. M.pseudosalix, Ett.
"proxima, Ett. M. lignitum, Ung. M. undulata, Lesq. M.konincki, Ett. M. cerifera, L.
"præquercifolia, Ett. M. quercifolia, L.
Alnus novæ-zeelandiæ, Ett. A. kefersteinii, Gœpp. A. kefersteinii A. maccoyi, Ett. A. glutinosa, Gaertn.
Quercus parkeri, Ett. Q. macranthera, F. et M.
"deleta, Ett. Q. corrugata, Hook.
"celastrifolia, Ett. Q. tephrodes, Ung Q. ellisiana, Lesq. Q.aquatica, Walt.
"lonchitoides, Ett. Q. lonchitis, Ung Q. drymejoides, Ett. Q. drymejoides, Ett.
Dryophyllum dubium, Ett. D. lineare, Sap. D. howitti, Ett.
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Fagus ulmifolia, Ett F. procera, P. et Endl.
"ninnisiana, Ung F. deucalionis, Ung. F. feroniæ, Ung. F. benthami, Ett. F. ferruginea, Ait.
"lendenfeldi, Ett. F. wilkinsoni, Ett. F. moorei, Muell.
Ulmus hectori, Ett. U. braunii, Heer U. tenuinervis, Lsq.
Planera australis, Ett. P. ungeri, Ett. P. ungeri P. richardi, Spach.
Ficus sublanceolata, Ett, F. lanceolata, Heer F. lanceolata F. burkei, Ett
Hedycarya præcedens, Ett. H. europæa, Ett. H.wickami, Ett. H. australasica, De Cand.
Cinnamomum intermedium, Ett. C. polymorphum, A.B C. polymorphum. C. polymorphoides, McCoy C. camphora, L.
Laurophyllum tenuinerve, Ett.
Daphnophyllum australe, Ett.
Santalum subacheronticum, Ett. S. acheronticum, Ett. S. americanum, Lesq. S frazeri, Ett, Santalum, sp.
Dryandra comptoniæfolia, Ett. D. acutiloba, Ett. D. benthami, Ett. D. formosa, R. Brown.
Apocynophyllum elegans, Ett. A. helveticum, Heer A. mackinlayi, Ett.
"affine, Ett. A. tabernæmontana, Ung.
Diospyros novæ-zeelandiæ, Ett. D. lotoides, Ung.
Aralia tasmanii, Ett A, dissecta, Lesq. A. Prisca, Ett.
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Loranthus otagoicus, Ett. L. tetrandrus, R. et P.
Acer subtrilobatum, Ett. A. trilobatum, A.B. A. trilobatum A. subproductum, Ett. A. rubrum, L.
Sapindus subfalcifolius, Ett. S. falcifolius, A. Br. S. caudatus, Lesq. S. gossei, Ett.
Elæodendron rigidum, Ett. E. helveticum, Heer E. curtipendulum, Endl.
Cissophyllum malvernicum, Ett.
Eucalyptus dubia, Ett. E. oceanica, Ung. E. americana, Lesq. E. mitchelli, Ett. Eucalyptus, sp.
Dalbergia australis, Ett. D. bella, Heer.
Cassia pseudophaseolites, Ett. C. phaseolites, Ung. C. phaseolites C. phaseolitoides, Ett. C. micranthera, De Cand.
" pseudomemnonia, Ett. C. memnonia, Ung.
Plantæ Incertæ Sedis.
Carpolithes otagoicus, Ett. C. websteri, Heer.
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Table of the Cretaceous Plants of New Zealand.
Cretaceous Flora. Tertiary and Existing Flora.
New Zealand. Europe. Arctic Zone. North America.
Blechnum priscum, Ett. B. atavium, Sap. B. occidentale, L., Trop. America.
Aspidium cretaceo-zeelandicum, Ett. A. fœcundum, Heer A. novæ-zeelandiæ, Pr.
Dicksonia pterioides, Ett. D. conferta, Heer D. smithii, Hook, Luzon Island.
Gleichenia obscura, Ett. G. rigida, Heer. G. flabellata, Desv., Australia.
Dammara mantelli, Ett. Dammara, sp. D. australis, Lamb.
Taxo-torreya trinervia, Ett. Cephalotaxus drupacea. Torreya grandis.
Podocarpium ungeri, Ett. Podocarpus parkeri, Ett., Tertiary flora.
" cupressinum, Ett. Podocarpus præcupressina, Ett., Tertiary flora.
" tenuifolium, Ett. P. hochstetteri, Ett., Tertiary flora.
" prædacrydioides, Ett. P. dacrydioides, New Zeal.
Dacrydinium cupressinum, Ett. D. præcupressinum, Ett., Tertiary flora.
Ginkgocladus novæ-zeelandiæ, Ett.
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Poacites nelsonicus, Ett.
Bambusites australis, Ett.
Haastia speciosa, Ett. Musophyllum, sp., Tertiary flora.
Flabellaria sublogirhachis, Ett. F. longirhachis, Ung.
Casuarinites cretaceus, Ett.
Quercus pachyphylla, Ett. Q. myrtillus, Heer Q. daphnes, Ung., Tertiary flora.
" nelsonica, Ett. Q. beyrichii, Ett. Q. denticulata, Heer Q. ellsworthiana, Lesq. Q. cyri, Ung., Tertiary flora.
" calliprinoides, Ett. Q. rinkiana, Heer Q. mediterranea, Tertiary flora. Q. calliprinos, still existing
Dryophyllum nelsonicum, Ett. D. holmesii, Lesq.
Fagus nelsonica, Ett. F. prisca, Ett. F. polyclada, Lesq. F. feroniæ, Ung., Tertiary flora.
" producta, Ett.
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Ulmophylon latifolium, Ett. Ulmus and Planera sp., Tertiary flora.
" planeræfolium, Ett.
" Moreæ.
Ficus similis, Ett. F. geinitzii, Ett. F. atavina, Heer F. magnoliæfolia, Lesq. F. jynx, Ung., tertiary flora.
Cinnamomum haastii, Ett. Cinnamomum, sp. Cinnamomum, sp. C. heerii, Lesq. C. scheuchzeri, Heer, Tertiary flora.
Knightiophyllum primævum, Ett. K. daltonicum, Ett., Tertiary flora.
Dryandroides pakawauica, Ett. D. latifolia, Ett. Dryandroides, sp., Tertiary flora.
Ceratopetalum rivulare, Ett. C. bilinicum, Ett. C. macdonaldi, Ett.
Grewiopsis pakawauica, Ett. G. orbiculata, Sap. G. haydenii, Lesq. C. miocenicus, Tertiary flora.
Sapindophyllum coriaceum, Ett. S. prodromus, Heer
Cupanites novæ-zeelandiæ, Ett.
Celastrophyllum australe, Ett. C. integrifolium, Ett. C. crenatum, Heer
Dalbergiophyllum rivulare, Ett. Dalbergia rinkiana, Heer.
" nelsonicum, Ett.
Palaæcassia phaseolitoides, Ett. P. angustifolia, Ett. Cassia phaseolites, Ung., Tertiary flora.