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Volume 23, 1890
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Art. XLII.—Descriptions of New Native Plants, with Notes on some Known Species.

[Read before the Otago Institute, 13th May, 1890.]

1. Olearia fragrantissima, sp. nov.

An erect compact twiggy shrub, 8ft. to 20ft. high; trunk 6in. in section or less; branchlets flexuous, grooved.

Leaves alternate, narrow-elliptic or lozenge-shaped, acute and slightly apiculate, thin, 1in. to 1½in. long, green and nearly glabrous above, clothed below with delicate rather loose grey tomentum; veins distinct.

Heads sessile on very short lateral branches, in sub-racemose fascicles of 10 to 12, with a cottony bract at the base of each head, smelling strongly and sweetly of apricots and peaches.

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Involucral scales in two series, cottony on the back and edges, the inner longer and more membranous; florets 5 to 8 yellow, the outer series shortly ligulate; corolla sub-tomentose at the top.

Achene hispidly silky.

Hab. Otepopo; Dunedin (Vauxhall and Saddle Hill); Taiaroa Head; Catlin's River.

This species has been hitherto confounded with Olearia hectori, Hook. fil., under which name it was noticed by me in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” (vol. xvi., p. 393). Until last spring the flowers of Olearia hectori were unknown to me, and, so far as I am aware, to all others botanists. They are now found to be very like those of Olearia virgata, Hook, fil., and to differ very widely from the raceme like inflorescence of the present species. The alternate arrangement of the leaves should long since have suggested its specific distinctness, but this point of difference was some how overlooked. The present species of Olearia is perhaps the most attractive of all the native shrubs of New Zealand, and its strong and delicious perfume is sure to make it a favourite plant for gardens and shrubberies. The flower clusters, though of a pleasing yellow tint, are rather small, but their great fragrance makes ample amends for their want of show. Like the other species of the genus, it is readily propagated by cuttings placed in a warm shady border. Some of the localities assigned to it in my notice above referred to apply to the true Olearia hectori, Hook. fil., and not to the present species. The time of flowering is November and the earlier part of December.

2. Olearia odorata, sp. nov.

An erect, much-branched, twiggy shrub, 6ft. to 10ft. high; branchlets strongly divaricating, terete, with numerous shallow grooves.

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Leaves fascicled or in opposite pairs, on short usually opposite aborted lateral branchlets, ½in. to 7/8in. long, sub-sessile, narrow-obovate or almost linear-spathulate, rounded at the apex, coriaceous, green and almost glabrous above, densely clothed below with nearly white cottony tomentum.

Heads in small clusters of 5 or fewer, on the aborted lateral branchlets; pedicels short, rather stout, tomentose; involucral scales usually in 3 series, the outer series shorter than those within, the innermost half the length of the heads, viscid, puberulous, dark-brown; florets numerous (30 or more), the outer series shortly ligulate, the ligule more or less streaked with purple, the top of the corolla in the disc-florets viscid and puberulous. Achenes silky.

Hab. Maniototo Plain (at Sowburn and elsewhere); Upper

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Manuherikia; Upper Clutha basin, as far south as Moa Flat.

This species like the last is strongly scented. It is closely allied to O. virgata, Hook. fil., with which it has been hitherto confounded. From this it is sufficiently distinguished by its stouter terete (not square) branchlets, differently veined leaves, viscid and widely different involucral scales, more numerous florets, longer achenes, much larger and broader leaves, and later season of flowering. Throughout the Upper Clutha basin Olearia virgata, Hook. fil., flowers in November; while the present species flowers in February or the last days of January, when the traveller's attention is attracted to wayside plants by their sweet but cloying perfume. It is a common plant throughout the Upper Clutha basin on alluvial flats and the lower slopes of the mountains, everywhere growing side by side with O. virgata, Hook. fil. It is a true upland plant, being nowhere found near the coast, so far as I have observed.

3. Myosotis goyeni, sp. nov.

Root perennial, woody, rather slender. The whole plant rather closely clothed with short stiff appressed white hairs, which give it a grey tint. Radical leaves tufted, 1½in. to 3in. long, linear-spathulate, acute, broadest near the apex (⅓in.), equally hispid on both surfaces, the narrow petiole more than half the length of the entire leaf. Cauline leaves numerous, scattered, similar to the radical, but in the upper ones with broader and shorter petioles.

Flowering-stems several, branched or simple, ascending, rather stout, the upper third naked, 5in. to 10in. long. Flowers in a simple or forked raceme 2in. long or less, large and showy, nearly sessile. Calyx deeply divided into 5 linear-subulate divisions; corolla tubular, dilated upwards, ½in. to ¾in. long, ⅓in. wide at the limb, which is divided into 5 large rounded lobes; the tube of the corolla pale yellow, the limb almost pure white. Stamens sessile on the tube a little above the middle. Style slender, slightly longer than the corolla-tube Nuts four, large; mature forms not seen.

This species was first found, several years ago, by Mr. P. Goyen, F.L.S., at Arrowtown. I have gathered it also in the Cardrona Valley, and at the bluff on the east side of Lake Hawea. It flowers late in November, and has a very attractive appearance on the steep bare rocky or shingly faces which it appears to affect. It is very close to Myosotis albosericea, Hook. fil., from which it differs in the larger size of all its parts, the stouter, longer, and more branched flowering stems, and the much larger pale-yellow or nearly white flowers. In M. albo-sericea, Hook. fil., the whole plant is

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silvery-white with silky hairs, the flowers are a rich sulphur yellow, and the flowering stems are slender and invariably simple. The description of it in the Appendix to the “Hand book,” though drawn up from a single specimen, accords perfectly with a considerable suite of specimens in my herbarium. It is a very rare plant, and is now almost extinct at the only known habitat near Cromwell. The present species grows in great profusion in most of the localities where I have observed it. It stands drought very well, and is well worth cultivating.

4. Glossostigma submersum, sp. nov.

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A minute herb, with very slender intricate stems, creeping, and rooting at the nodes. Leaves opposite, but sometimes fascicled from non-development of the internodes, linear, faintly one-nerved, entire, glabrous, 3/16in. long. Pedicels as long as the leaves, axillary, very slender, borne alternately on opposite sides of the creeping stem.

Flowers very minute, stamens two.

Hab. Lake Waihola. This curious little species grows on the shores of Lake Waihola below high-tide level, and is submerged for a good many hours daily. It is very inconspicuous, and when not in flower very easily overlooked. The flowers, though so minute, attract the observer's notice by glittering in the sunshine like small beads of dew. It has only two stamens, a character which readily distinguishes it from the common species, G. elatinoides, Benth. Its nearest relative seems to be G. spathulatum, Arnot, from Rockhampton (Queensland).

5. Deschampsia chapmani, sp. nov.

Culms about 10in. high, decumbent and branched at the base, slender, leafy to the base of the panicle. Leaves flaccid, flat, narrow; ligule long, subulate, scarious, the basal part much broader than the blade of the leaf; sheaths deeply striate.

Panicle about 4in. long, laxly branched, the branches three or fewer, subdivided into scabrid capillary branchlets bearing numerous rather distant shortly-pedicelled spikelets.

Spikelets about ⅛in. long, two-flowered (rarely three flowered), green, shining; outer glumes unequal, membranous, narrow-lanceolate, acuminate, the lower one-nerved and half as long as the spikelet, the upper three-nerved and two-thirds the length of the spikelet; flowering glume membranous, broadly oblong, truncate and eroded into four or more teeth, usually one-nerved (additional nerves when present very faint), with a short slender blunt dorsal arm: palea bifid, with two faint ciliated sub-median nerves: rachilla glabrous, produced to half the length of the upper flower.

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Hab. Auckland Islands. This interesting and, from a systematic point of view, important species was collected by Mr. F. R. Chapman, after whom I have much pleasure in naming it.

6. Deschampsia tenella, sp. nov.

Culms 8in. to more than a foot in length, tufted, much branched at the base, very slender. Leaves flaccid, setaceous, striate, bright-green, 8in. long or less; sheaths grooved and produced into a long subulate scarious ligule broader at the base than the blade of the leaf.

Panicle 6in. long or less, rather effuse; the branches in pairs, long, scabrid, capillary, subdivided twice or thrice, and bearing few long-pedicelled minute spikelets.

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Spikelets very small, 1/12in. long or less, shining, two flowered; outer glumes very unequal, membranous; the lower linear; the upper linear-lanceolate, acute, faintly one-nerved, and less than half the length of the spikelet; flowering glume oblong, membranous and hyaline, truncate at the apex with three short acute lobes, the middle lobe mucronate or shortly awned, the awn decurrent as a ridge for half the length of the glume; palea bifid, with two sub-median ciliate nerves; rachis and base of flowering glume clothed with fine silky hairs; rachilla half the length of the upper flower, sparingly pilose.

Hab. Catlin's River district, in moist rather open spots in woods, up to 400ft. The plant from the Ruahine and Tararua Mountains, hitherto referred to Catabrosa antarctica, Hook, fil., appears to be a form of this species, as I hear from Mr. N. E. Brown, A.L.S., of the Kew Herbarium.

7. Deschampsia novæ-zelandiæ, sp. nov.

Culms tufted, branched at the base, slender, ascending, leafy below, 4in. to 12in. high.

Leaves about one-third the length of the culm, almost setaceous, striate and channelled above; sheaths broad, membranous, grooved, terminating in a long scarious subulate sheath much broader than the blade of the leaf.

Panicle about 2in. long, with rather few flowers; the branches in pairs or threes, short, giving off one or two pairs of branchlets bearing few shortly pedicelled spikelets.

Spikelets ⅛in. long, slender; outer glumes unequal (the lower one-half, the upper two-thirds the length of the spikelet), broadly lanceolate, sub-acute, membranous, one-nerved (the upper sometimes three-nerved); flowering glume shortly oblong, membranous and hyaline, truncate, eroded at the apex into 3 to 5 shallow acute or gently-rounded lobes, the middle lobe occasionally shortly mucronate, nerves 3 to 5 very faint,

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the middle one most distinct; palea shortly bifid, with two faint sub-median ciliated nerves; rachilla glabrous, produced to nearly half the length of the upper flower; grain broadly oblong, rounded, not flattened or constricted.

Hab. Hector Mountains, 4,000ft. to 6,000ft.; Mount Arnould (Upper Hawea), 5,000ft.; Mount Cardrona, 5,000ft.; in very moist situations, chiefly by the sides of small water courses fringed by bog.

8. Deschampsia pusilla, sp. nov.

Culms very short, densely tufted, branched at the base, twice as long as the leaves.

Leaves about 1in. long; sheaths broad, grooved, membranous, produced into a long lanceolate acuminate scarious ligule; blade narrow-linear, sub-terete, channelled above, striate.

Panicle contracted and spiciform; branches solitary, short, glabrous, each bearing three, or fewer, sub-sessile shining spikelets.

Spikelets ⅛in. long, 2- (rarely 3-) flowered. Outer glumes sub-equal, as long as the spikelet, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, hyaline, one-nerved; flowering glume silky at the base, shortly oblong, truncate, cut at the apex into 3 to 5 teeth, hyaline, obscurely one-nerved (the nerve being really the adnate decurrent awn), often with a short stout median mucro or awn, usually terminal but occasionally sub-dorsal in position. Palea hyaline, deeply bifid, with two very faint ciliate submedian nerves. Rachilla slender, glabrous, half the length of the upper flower.

Hab. Hector Mountains, 6,000ft.

9. Note on Triodia antarctica, Benth. and Hook. f.

This grass, originally described and figured by Sir Joseph Hooker, in vol. i. of the “Flora Antarctica,” under the name of Catabrosa antarctica, has been removed from that genus and placed doubtfully under Triodia. As to the propriety of the change, I shall have something to say below; but I may here point out that it is evidently a close ally of the four species of Deschampsia described in the present paper. As I have never seen any specimen of the grass, which grows on Campbell Island and appears to be very rare, I refrain from renaming it; but, if my view of the Deschampsias described above is accepted, the Campbell Island grass will form another species of that genus. The plant figured in Buchanan's “Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand” as Catabrosa antarctica, Hook. f., is almost certainly a form of Deschampsia tenella, mihi.

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10. Note on the systematic position of the four Deschampsias described in this paper.

Among botanists there has been great uncertainty as to the systematic position of the grasses described as Deschampsias in the present paper. When the Campbell Island grass was first described, Sir Joseph Hooker placed it in the genus Catabrosa, Beauv., at the same time indicating several important points of difference. In the “Genera Plantarum,” Bentham and Hooker removed it without hesitation from the genus Catabrosa, but did not well know where to place it, suggesting doubtfully that it might take rank in R. Brown's genus Triodia. Some of our best local botanists readily acquiesced in this view, but I have never been able to satisfy myself of its correctness. Repeated study of specimens of Deschampsia tenella and Deschampsia novæ-zelandiæ (described above) made me more and more unwilling to recognize their affinity to Triodia, and my difficulties led me to consult the botanical authorities at the Kew Herbarium in hopes that light might be thrown on this puzzling group of grasses. Mr. N. E. Brown, A.L.S., was good enough to go into the question very carefully, and he communicated to me his opinion that the grasses in question were neither Catabrosas nor Triodias, but Deschampsia. From the first I was inclined to accept the view put forward by Mr. Brown, and the discovery of D. chapmani and D. pusilla, early in the present year, finally set all my doubts at rest. Deschampsia chapmani is clearly not a Triodia, for it differs from that genus in having a dorsal awn, more numerous teeth at the apex of the flowering glume, and a wholly different type of ligule, as well as in many minor particulars. On the other hand, it is clearly a close ally of the series of grasses here described as Deschampsias, and, indeed, occupies an exactly intermediate position between the typical species of the genus and the aberrant awnless, or nearly awnless, forms referred to it in the present paper. The close alliance of the whole series makes it extremely probable that they all belong to one and the same genus, and the structure of D. chapmani proves that that genus is not Triodia; and I feel quite satisfied that their alliance is with Deschampsia, unless, indeed, a new genus should be created for their reception.

Mr. N.E. Brown has sent me a small piece of an awnless grass from the Andes which the late Mr. Bentham regarded as a Deschampsia, and he informs me that in one section of the genus the species are without awns. Beyond the piece above referred to I have seen none of these species, and no account appears to be taken of them in the generic character as given in the “Genera Plantarum,” though the brief notices

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of some of the genera merged by Bentham and Hooker in Deschampsia clearly imply that awnless species are included. This is a point of great importance, for in D. tenella, D. novæzelandiæ, and usually in Q. pusilla, the absence of a distinct dorsal awn is the only cardinal character in which these species depart from the normal type of Deschampsia. In some, it is true, the outer glumes are markedly unequal, but in others they are not more unequal than is usual in the genus. In all other respects they are all true Deschampsias and have little in common with Triodia; and the Triodia (?) antarctica of Bentham and Hooker agrees with the endemic New Zealand forms in every generically important feature. The chief characters in which they differ from Triodia are the uniformly membranous texture of the glumes and their few and faint nerves, the small number of flowers in each spikelet (nearly always 2); the uniformly stipitate upper flowers; the more numerous teeth or lobes of the flowering glume; the sub-median nerves of the hyaline palea; the absence of any imperfect terminal flower; the rounded-oblong (not plano-convex) grain; and the peculiar, broad, long, subulate, scarious ligule. In addition to these points of difference common to all the species here described, D. chapmani has a distinct dorsal awn, a character wholly foreign to Triodia. A similar dorsal awn occurs frequently in the flowers of an allied form of which I have specimens from Mr. T. Kirk, F.L.S., under the MS. name of Triodia purpurea, and it occurs occasionally in the flowers of D. pusilla, while in D. tenella it is hardly doubtful that the nerve-like ridge on the back of the flowering glume is an awn like structure adnate to the glume. The remarkably uniform character of the ligule is a point of some importance, the more so as it is quite unlike that of Triodia, which is usually, if not invariably, represented by a band of hairs. The New Zealand species of Triodia, and also the British and Australian ones, all agree in this. Indeed, the two native species of Triodia, present few points of close alliance with the series of Deschampsias noticed in this paper, while their differences are obvious and striking. The result of this discussion seems to be that the character of the genus Deschampsia, as given in the “Genera Plantarum,” needs to be amended, so as to include the new species now brought to light from New Zealand and its outlying islands.

11. Lobelia linnæoides, sp. nov.

This is Pratia (?) linnæoides, Hook. f., described on page 172 of Hooker's “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.” When it was described the fruit was unknown, and, as the habit and foliage present a close resemblance to the indigenous species of Pratia, it was provisionally ranked in that genus.

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The fruit, however, is not fleshy and indehiscent, but a dry bilocular capsule, opening by two rather large rounded pores between the persistent calyx-teeth. The seeds are numerous and very minute. The present species is widely spread over the interior of Otago, at elevations ranging from 2,500ft. to 4,000ft. I can give the following localities for it: Mount Kyeburn, Old Man Range, Hector Mountains, Mount Pisa, Mount Cardrona, Mount Arnould, Mount Tyndall (Matukituki basin), Ben Lomond, and Mount Bonpland.

12. Note on occurrence of Carex lagopina, Wahl., in New Zealand.

In vol. xiii., p. 332, of the “Transactions of the N.Z. Institute,” I described what I regarded as a new species of Carex under the name of C. parkeri. The specimens then at my disposal were immature, but I have recently gathered an excellent series of mature forms, which show that my species is identical with the European C. lagopina, Wahl. The name bestowed on it by me therefore becomes a synonym of the latter species. Mr. T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., in his “Revision of the New Zealand Carices” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvi., p. 426), was the first to notice its resemblance to Wahlenberg's plant. The present species adds one more to the growing number of indigenous plants that are common to New Zealand and Northern and Central Europe. It grows plentifully on the Hector Mountains at a height of 6,000ft., and has been gathered by Mr. A. C. Purdie at an elevation of 3,000ft. near the head of Lake Wakatipu. I have not met with it at a lower elevation than 5,000ft., near Mount Aspiring.

13. Note on Acæna buchanani, Hook. f.

In the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” this species is described as having a single stamen, but I have specimens otherwise indistinguishable from it in which the stamens are uniformly two. The error, if error it be, is no doubt due to the imperfect materials which Sir Joseph Hooker had to examine.

14. Note on Olearia hectori, Hook. f.

Some two years ago I received flowering specimens of this species of Olcaria from Catlin's River, collected by Mr. J. T. Bryant, and I have more recently gathered specimens from a plant grown in the garden of Mr. John Buchanan, F.L.S., at North-east Valley, and brought by him from Lake Wanaka many years ago. As the flowers are as yet undescribed, I append a notice of them.

Flowers solitary or in fascicles of two or three, borne on short aborted lateral shoots, and springing from below the

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leaves; pedicel slender, ½in. long or less, sparingly cottony, dilated at the base of the receptacle; involucral scales in two series, linear-oblong; the outer series broader and villous, the inner narrower and glandular.

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Heads ¼in. long, 1/7in. wide; florets numerous; those of the ray with a short narrow ligule and a deeply divided style; of the disc, with a rather long sparingly silky corolla-tube, contracted above the insertion of the stamens, and with shorter and broader divisions of the styles; pappus of few simple crumpled or wavy hairs; achene densely silky.

This species is common by the open banks of streams and in swampy situations at Catlin's River, where it is known as the “swamp gum.” It also grows in the upper valleys of the Clutha River, at the Matukituki, &c., and along the Kawarau River as far as the Cromwell Flat. I have not seen it anywhere in the Clutha basin below the mouth of the Kawarau Gorge. As a species it is perfectly distinct from the most nearly allied forms, Olearia odorata, mihi, and Olearia virgata, Hook. f. It is much closer to O. odorata than to O. virgata. It flowers at least four months before the former, and a month or more before the latter. At Dunedin and Catlin's River the time of flowering is October. In general appearance it greatly resembles O. fragrantissima, mihi, but the leaves are larger and not lozenge-shaped, the twigs are not flexuous, and the inflorescence is quite different.