Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 26, 1893


Art. XXII.—Description of a New Species of Pimelea.

[Read before the Nelson Philosophical Society, 11th December, 1893.]

Pimelea suteri, n.s.

Stems suberect or spreading 4in.—10in. high, much branched, branches slender, naked and scarred below, bark black; sparingly silky above with rather long straight hairs. Leaves about ⅜in. long, erecto-patent, sessile, narrow linear-lanceolate, more or less concave above, with ciliated margins and apices, scarcely acute. Flowers small, in 5–8 flowered capitula rarely exceeding the leaves; perianth silky or villous. Fruit baccate, ovate-acuminate, hairy at the apex, opaque, red.

Hab. South Island: Dun Mountain, Nelson, alt. 3,000ft. P. Lawson! (1868). W. T. L. Travers! R. I. Kingsley!

This species is most nearly related to P. prostrata, Vahl., and P. urvilleana, A. Rich.; but the fruit is quite unlike that of any other species. Mr. N. E. Brown, of the Kew Herbarium, who has kindly compared my plant with type specimens of various species, informs me that he considers it specifically distinct, although it is identical with P. prostrata, var. γ, of the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.” It differs, however, from that form in the leaves never being ovate, truly acute, or glabrous: in all the specimens examined the hairs are confined to the margins and spices of the leaves.

As in all the New Zealand species with small leaves, the flowers of P. suteri are functionally diœcious, although apparently hermaphrodite. The staminate flowers may be distinguished at a glance by the greater length of the perianth; the erect anthers are distinctly exserted and produce abundance of pollen, while the short style, with its small abortive stigma, is invariably glabrous.

In the pistillate plant the anthers are invariably abortive, and are hidden in the tube of the perianth; the large capitate stigma, thickly clothed with short papillose hairs, is prominent at the mouth of the tube, where it takes the place of the anthers in the proper staminate plant.

– 260 –

My specimens do not show any instance in which the style in the proper staminate plant is bent on one side and protruded beyond the anthers, as is the case in the large-flowered forms of P. prostrata.

The remarkable dimorphism of the flowers in this genus has long been observed, but is not yet fully understood; it is occasionally correlated with slight differences in the habit and leaves of the plant, so that the different sexes in certain localities may be distinguished at sight over large areas. This was first observed at Great Omaha in 1864, when I forwarded specimens of P. arenaria showing this feature to Sir Joseph Hooker, who was greatly interested in the phenomenon, although unable to account for it at that time. In many localities, however, there is no obvious difference between the staminate and pistillate flowers except the smaller size of the latter; and at present it is not proved that the occasional difference in habit and foliage is permanent, although its occurrence over large areas is certainly striking. I have never met with true hermaphrodite specimens; in all forms with perfect anthers the stigma is invariably glabrous and abortive so far as my observations extend, but it must be admitted that wider observation is necessary.

It affords me great pleasure to connect the name of the Right Rev. Dr. Super with this species, and to acknowledge the help he has frequently rendered in forwarding specimens of various New Zealand plants.

Art. XXIII.—Description of New Cyperaceous Plants, chiefly from the Nelson Provincial District.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st February, 1894.]

Eleocharis neo-zelandica, C. B. Clarke, MS.

A small species with short creeping rhizomes; culms 1in.- 2in. high, striate spreading, sheath membranous, mouth oblique, mucronate; spike broadly - ovate ⅕in. long, glumes ovate, obtuse, almost keeled, midrib stout, not extending to the apex, margins membranous; stamens 3, bristles O, style-arms 2. Nut broadly pyriform, slightly convex, or almost plano-convex, smooth.

Hab. South Island: Cape Farewell, Nelson (1884). T. K.

Mr. Clarke, who has for some years been engaged on a

– 261 –

revision of the Cyperaceœ, kindly examined my specimens of this curious little plant, for which he suggests the name here adopted. In his letter he states, “This belongs to my subgenus Eleogenus. In the absence of setæ, and in the very small style-base, it approximates to some of the New Zealand species of Scirpus.”

I need only add that small specimens of E. acuta, R. Br., approach this species very closely in general appearance, but may easily be distinguished by the truncate mouth of the sheath with its foliaceous mucro, the presence of bristles, and the trigonous nut.

Gahnia robusta, n. s.

A robust species, with erect culms, 6ft.-7ft. high, as thick as the little finger. Leaves 5ft.-6ft. long, more or less involute, excessively scabrous, produced into long filiform pendulous points. Panicle 2ft.-3ft. long, dense, striate, narrow, erect; lower branches 5in.-10in. long; stem-leaves narrow with long filiform points. Spikelets narrow-lanceolate; outer bract lanceolate-acuminate; strongly 3-nerved; empty glumes 4, coriaceous, with a strong nerve. Outer flowering-glume closely enwrapping the flowers, broadly ovate, obtuse, faintly nerved; inner flowering-glumes similar, but more membranous; lowest flower male, stamens 6, filaments united at the base, flattened, flexuous and elongating; upper flower hermaphrodite, stamens 5, ovary fusiform, style-arms 2. Nut ovoid, black or brownish - black, shining, transversely furrowed within.

Hab. North Island: Mungaroa, Wellington. T. K.

This species has the strict habit of G. rigida, T. Kirk, but is more robust. Its affinities are with G. setifolia, Hook. f., and G. xanthocarpa, Hook. f.: it differs from both in the erect culms, the strict panicle, and the number of style-arms; it is more robust than the former, from which it differs essentially in the larger black ovoid nut. From G. xanthocarpa it differs also in the nut being smaller, shorter, and broader.

Carex dallii, n. s.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

A small, slender, tufted species. Culms about 6in. high. Leaves shorter than the culms, 1/15in.-1/12in. broad, involute. Spikelets 3–5, distant, ⅜in.-⅝in. long, narrow, the lowest basal on a long slender peduncle, the uppermost female, sessile, with a few male flowers at base, rarely at apex. Glumes membranous, ovate-acuminate, the lower shortly awned. Style-arms 3. Utricles (immature) ovate-fusiform, shortly bifid. Bracts overtopping the culms. Male spikelet longer than the female.

– 262 –

Hab. South Island: Near the source of the Heaphy River, Nelson. J. Dall.

This species is related to C. lucida, Boott, from which it differs in the bifid stigmas and fusiform utricles. Better specimens are badly wanted those forwarded by Mr. Dall being immature.

Carex traversii, n. s.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

A slender, tufted species, 6in.-9in. high, culms suberect, or prostrate, almost filiform. Leaves much shorter than the culms, 1/30in. broad, filiform at the tips, involute. Spikelets 2—4; terminal male, shortly pedunculate; the others female, with one or two male flowers at base; sessile, ⅜in.-½in. long, broadly-ovate, approximate, except the basal one, which is sometimes distant, and carried on a capillary peduncle; glumes ovate or ovate-lanceolate, many-nerved, with a stout midrib produced into a short awn. Utricle slightly fusiform, bifid at the apex, scaberulous. Style-arms 3.

Hab. South Island: Dun Mountain, &c.; 3,000ft.-4,000ft. W. T. L. Travers.

This species bears considerable resemblance to C. novæ-zelandiæ, Petrie, which is distinguished by its bifid stigmas and plano-convex utricles.

Carex australis, n. s.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Culms tufted, slender, slightly compressed, 1 ½ft. high, pale. Leaves involute, equalling or exceeding the culms, 3/16in.-¼in. broad, with long filiform points. Spikelets 4–5, broadly-ovate, sessile, ⅜in.-½in. long, glumes broadly-ovate-acuminate, shortly awned. Utricles broadly-ovate, equalling the glumes, plano-convex, with a short broad bifid beak, nerves prominent. Style-arms 3.

Hab. Stewart Island. C. Traill and T. Kirk (1882).

Allied to C. longiculmis, Petrie, but distinguished by the slender habit, narrow leaves, short spikelets, shorter broader glumes, and broader utricles, which are not stipitate.

The following species of Carex are not enumerated either in Mr. Cheeseman's excellent catalogue of the plants of the Provincial District of Nelson,* or in my list of additional plants found in the Nelson District.

Carex lagopina,Wahl.

Dun Mountain, &c. W. T. L. Travers!

C. teretiuscula, Good.

Rotoiti, &c. T. K.

[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xiv.(1881), p. 224.

[Footnote] † Ibid., xviii. (1885), p. 322.

– 263 –

C. trachycarpa, Cheesem.

Mount Owen. T. F. C.

C. muelleri, Petrie.

Valley of the Stanley, Amuri, &c. T.K.

C. buchanani, Berg.

Amuri, Spenser Mountains, &c. T. K.

C. dipsacea, Berg.

Motueka Valley, &c. T. K.

C. devia, Cheesem.

D'Urville Island; H. B. Kirk! Dun Mountain; R. I. Kingsley!

C. wakatipu, Petrie.

Amuri. T. K.

C. uncifolia, Cheesem.

Wairau Valley. T.F.C.!

C. comans, Berg.

Amuri, Spenser Mountains. T. K.

C. petriei, Cheesem.

Mount Arthur District. T. F. C.

C. litorosa, Bailey.

Nelson Harbour. T.K.

C. solandri, Boott, in Fl. N.Z., i., 284.

Westport, Richmond, &c. T.K.

In the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora” this species is erroneously united with C. neesiana, Endlicher, of Norfolk Island, from which it differs in the more slender habit, narrower leaves, ♀ spikelets slender, distant, pendulous, on long filiform peduncles; the glumes are almost papery, and the awn is very short, or O, more especially in the faintly nerved, narrow-ovate, black, shining utricles.

C. flava, L., var. cataractæ.

Mount Captain Range, Amuri; Spenser Mountains; Lake Guyon.

Art. XXIV.—Remarks on the New Zealand Sow-thistles, with Description of a New Species.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st February, 1894.]

In all probability there are no common New Zealand plants about which the ideas of local botanists and agriculturists are so confused as the sow-thistle. The range of variation in the habit and foliage of some species is so great that an ordinary

– 264 –

observer may be excused for doubting the specific identity of several of the forms comprehended under the same name: for instance, the plant named Sonchus asper by Fuchs exhibits in many instances rigid leaves with crisped and waved margins so closely fringed with brittle spines as to fully justify the application of the trivial name when incautiously handled. By its side may be seen another form with flat, soft, membranous leaves, more or less deeply cut into broad or narrow lobes, utterly destitute of spines. A complete series of gradations may, however, be found between the two forms, and, as their flowers and fruit present no differential characters of the slightest importance, both plants, notwithstanding their dissimilarity, must be referred to the same species.

In the “Flora Novæ-Zelandiæ,” and the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” Sir Joseph Hooker recognises one species—S. oleraceus, L.—of which he considerS. asper, Fuchs, to be a variety. Bentham adopts the same view in the “Flora Australiensis.” Both the type and the variety vary to a great extent in the outline, cutting, and texture of the leaves, but may be briefly characterized as under:-

Sonchus oleraceus, L., sp. 116. Forst., Prodr. n. 282.

α. oleraceus.

Leaves clasping, almost entire, or toothed, or deeply pinnatifid. Cauline leaves, with large sagittate auricles. Achenes with 3—5 longitudinal ribs, finely muricate, glabrous.

β. asper. S. asper, Fuchs, Hist. 674.

Leaves clasping, almost entire or lobed, or deeply pinnatifid, sharply toothed, sometimes rigid, with the margins crisped and spinulose. Achenes longitudinally ribbed, glabrous.

Both forms are common in cultivated land throughout the colony.

Sir Joseph Hooker considers that var. β is certainly indigenous in New Zealand, as it was collected by Banks and Solander. It is, however, certain that seeds of both forms must have been repeatedly introduced since that period, and that cross-fertilisation has taken place, since fruits of the typical form exhibit all degrees of murication—some showing only faint traces, while others are covered with small but strongly-marked pittings.

The Rev. W. Colenso, F.R.S., considers this var. β to be the puwha of the Maoris, who formerly used it for food, but abandoned it for the introduced European plant, which is less bitter. There is, however, a still more striking form which may also have been utilised by the Maoris. Although widely distributed it is somewhat local, and rarely occurs in large quantity. I do not know any European form with which it

– 265 –

exactly agrees. Its characters will be found in the following description:—

Sonchus oleraceus, L., γ.littoralis.

Robust, stems 1ft. to 1 ½ft. high, sparingly branched, radical leaves sessile, ovate-oblong, entire or sparingly lobed, obtuse, finely or coarsely toothed, somewhat fleshy, rosulate, and closely appressed to the ground; cauline leaves few, acute, auricles rounded or subacute. Outer involucral bracts acute, inner obtuse; achenes glabrous, 3–5-ribbed.

Hab. On maritime cliffs from Auckland to Stewart Island, but often local, and rarely occurring in great abundance.

The uniformly undivided, rosulate, slightly fleshy leaves, the more robust habit, and copious milky juice are well worthy of notice, as is the large fleshy root. I have never seen this form on cultivated land, and, as far as I am aware, it is absolutely restricted to maritime localities. The singular absence of variation is a remarkable feature when this plant is compared with the typical form and variety β

It seems not unlikely that the plant observed by Banks and Solander is identical with var. littoralis, the fruits of which resemble those of var. β, but are slightly larger. This point could doubtless be settled by an examination of the specimens in the Banksian Herbarium. It is worthy of note that Dr. Anderson, who acted as naturalist in Cook's third expedition, mentions the occurrence of “sow-thistles” in Queen Charlotte Sound: there can be but little doubt that the plant observed by him was var. littoralis.

Shortly before my old friend Mr. J. D. Enys, F.G.S., left the colony he made a hasty trip to the Chatham Islands, where he obtained specimens of a handsome sow-thistle, with leaves upwards of 2ft. in length, and large flower-heads, which he kindly sent to me, but unfortunately they were in such a bad state of decay when they came to hand that I was unable to dissect them. However, on examining the type collection of Chatham Island plants in the herbarium of the Colonial Museum I found two specimens, one of which was S. oleraceus, L.; the other proved to be identical with the plant collected by Mr. Enys. In justice to Mr. Buchanan, who arranged the type collection, it should be mentioned that both specimens are small, and in bad condition. Unhappily, my efforts to obtain good specimens so far have failed, although a valued correspondent sent me a strong root, which, however, failed to grow. It was therefore with no little pleasure I learned that the plant had flowered in the rich collection of native species cultivated by Messrs. Adams and Sons, of Christchurch, and I am indebted to these gentlemen for their kindness in sending the shrivelled receptacles and ripe fruits.

– 266 –

Unlike the forms mentioned in the early part of this paper, it is a strongly-marked species, as will be seen from the appended description.

Sonchus grandifolius, n. s.

A succulent herb, 2ft.-4ft. high, rhizomes stout, fleshy, creeping, sometimes 2 ½in. diameter. Radical leaves erect, 1 ½ft.—2ft. long, 4in.—7in. broad, petiole 6in.-9in. long, stout, dilated at base, but not clasping, blade oblong or ovate-oblong, deeply lobed, pinnatifid or pinnate; segments 4—6 on each side, broad, lobulate, often overlapping, coarsely doubly serrate or dentate, almost coriaceous, scabrid above. Lower cauline leaves petiolate, upper broadly sessile, not auriculate. Heads large, 1in.—1 ½in. diameter, peduncles white, with cottony wool. Involucral leaves in 3—4 series, broad, subacute, outer with a median line of spinous or almost foliaceous processes. Achenes large, broad, with 1 or 2 stout median longitudinal ribs, and about 4 finer ones, margins broad.

Hab. Chatham Islands.

The ligulate florets appear to be yellow, tinged at the apices with faint salmon-colour or purple. It is a noble addition to the New Zealand flora, and adds another remarkable species to the singular group of endemic plants on the Chatham Islands.

The fleshy rhizome may possibly prove valuable for cattle-food.

Art. XXV.—Descriptions of New Native Plants, &c.

[Read before the otago Institute, 13th June, 1893.]

1. Ranunculus novæ-zelandiæ, sp. nov.

A rather small glabrous fleshy glaucous plant. Rootstock covered by the withered fibres of decayed petioles, and sending down many rather stout fibrous roots.

Leaves all radical; petioles about lin. long, flattened, expanded and provided with broad membranous wings at the base; blades ternately divided, the lower leaflets sessile and subdivided into two or three deeply 3-lobed crenate segments; upper leaflet distant, broadly petiolate, subdivided into three deeply 3-lobed crenate segments.

Scapes solitary, or very few, one-flowered, glabrous, rather stout, 1in. to 2 ½in. long.

Sepals broadly oblong, obtuse, the back purplish and

– 267 –

bordered with yellow. Petals twice as long as the sepals, cuneate, rounded at the top, the upper part bright-yellow, the lower third greenish and more membranous; veins of the back evident; gland broad, shallow, crescent-shaped near the very base.

Ripe achenes not seen.

Hab. Rough shingly stations at the summit of the Rock and Pillar Range, opposite Middlemarch, and similar stations on the Old Man Range, at 4,000ft. and upwards. I found it very plentiful in the former habitat, and rare in the latter. This species seems most nearly alied to R. gracilipes, Hook. f. The leaves, are, however, very different, and the stems neither creep nor give off creeping stolons. It flowers during the first half of November.

2. Geum leiospermum, sp. nov.

A small silky or villous perennial herb, with short rosulate leaves, and slender prostrate or ascending stems.

Leaves 1 ¼in. long or less, pinnate; leaflets about eight pairs, gradually diminishing to the base, the terminal one suborbicular or broadly ovate, ½in. in diameter or less, all closely, acutely, and unequally toothed at the margin.

Stems few, slender, 4in. long or less, densely clothed with fine villous hairs mixed with rather numerous long soft ones.

Flowers small, white, solitary in the axis of the lower bracts, and subpaniculately arranged at the top of the stem, at first almost sessile, but with slender pedicels ⅓in. long when in fruit.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Stamens 10; achenes about 20, on a nearly flat receptacle which is clothed with long silky hairs, perfectly smooth and glabrous, less than 1/12in. long, narrow elliptic, slightly compressed, and ending in a short slender recurved style about one-third the length of the achene.

Hab. Mount Cardrona (4,000ft.), Dunstan Mountains (2,000ft.–4,000ft.), Upper Waipori (1,800ft.).

The smooth glabrous achenes of this species, which strongly resemble those of many kinds of native Ranunculus, readily distinguish it from the other two species that are native to our colony. The flowers, so far as I have seen, are invariably white.

3.Coprosma pubens, sp. nov.

A much-branched, slender, leafy decumbent or rambling shrub.

Twigs pale-brown, finely and densely pubescent.

Leaves very uniform, about ⅓in. long and ⅛in. wide, narrow obovate, broadly rounded at the apex and often submucronate, the edges slightly recurved when dry, and the lower half

– 268 –

gradually narrowing into a sort of petiole; veinless above, the veins below indistinct and diverging but slightly from the midrib.

Stipules prominent, white, membranous, connate into a rather long ciliate triangular lobe between the petioles; in age ruptured by the growth of the twigs.

Flowers not seen.

Drupes solitary, often in opposite pairs, sessile or subsessile in the axils of the opposite leaves on the younger lateral shoots, deep-red, but not so dark as the drupes of C. rhamnoides, A. Cunn., which they closely resemble but somewhat excel in size.

Hab. Arthur's Pass (3,000ft.), and Kelly's Hill (2,500ft. to 3,500ft.), both in Westland.

This is a very distinct plant. It is, perhaps, most closely related to C. depressa, Colenso—a species which also occurs on Kelly's Hill, differing in its broader obtuse leaves, long white stipules, red drupe, and rambling habit. It has been compared at Kew with the plants recently described as new species by Mr. Colenso, F.R.S., but it has no resemblance to any of these forms of the genus.

4.Coprosma retusa, sp. nov.

A slender, sparingly-branched, procumbent shrub, emitting a very disagreeable odour when crushed.

Bark of twigs pale-grey, marked by two opposite broad bands of pubescence, the planes of which lie at right angles in successive internodes.

Leaves ⅓in. long and about half as broad, close-set, spreading, obovate-cuneate, retuse, coriaceous, nerveless, recurved at the edges, and fringed by a delicately erose membranous border; depressed above, and strongly keeled below. Stipules coriaceous, connate into short broad ciliated sheaths investing the twigs, 3-lobed, the lobes forming prominent, pale, horn-like processes.

Flowers terminal on the short lateral shoots of the main twigs, rather large; males, ⅓in. long; calyx cupular, 4-lobed, two opposite lobes rather long and acute, the others short and subulate; corolla campanulate deeply 4- or 5-lobed; filaments long, anthers pendulous: females rather larger than the males; calyx tubular, short, with 4 remote subulate teeth on the limb; corolla narrow campanulate, deeply divided into 4 narrow acute lobes; styles 2, long, stout, diverging.

Drupes orange, ovoid, ⅜in. long, the top crowned by the persistent calyx teeth.

Hab. Clinton Saddle, Lake Te Anau (3,000ft.), and Kelly's Hill, Otira River, Westland (3,500ft.).

The present species is intermediate between C. cuneata,

– 269 –

Hk. f., and C. serrulata, Buchanan. Its disagreeable odour recalls C. fœtidissima, which it further resembles in its large terminal flowers. Mr. L. Cockayne informs me that the drupes smell as vilely as the crushed leaves. The erose membranous margins of the leaves distinguish the present plant from all the native species except C. serrulata, from which its smaller retuse leaves at once mark it off.

5. Celmisia armstrongii, sp. nov.

A species growing in large tufts, with very many leaves, and numerous flower-scapes.

Leaves 9in. to 12in. long (exclusive of the sheaths), ½in. to ⅔in. wide, linear-ensiform, tapering regularly from below the middle to the acute point, rigid, entire, strongly recurved at and near the top, the lower part less recurved, longitudinally wrinkled when dry, midrib stiff and prominent; upper surface greenish-yellow, with a broad yellow band down the middle, and covered by a very delicate pellicle of greenish-grey tomentum; under surface not wrinkled, clothed except on the midrib with a dense layer of white smoothly-appressed tomentum; midrib broad and ribbed at the base, and tapering uniformly to the apex; sheaths broad, many-nerved, glabrous on the inner surface, the back densely covered with white cottony hairs which are continued beyond the edge as a delicate fringe.

Scapes as long as, or slightly longer than, the leaves, rather slender, everywhere clothed with white cobwebby tomentum; bracts numerous, linear, acute, fringed with a membranous border of tomentum.

Heads 1 ½in. across, or less; involucral scales glabrous, linear-subulate, more or less reflexed, pale-brown. Achenes finely pubescent, grooved.

Hab Arthur's Pass (3,000ft.) and Kelly's Hill (3,000ft.-4,000ft.). This is the most abundant species above the bush-line in Westland.

I have long had it from Mr. J. B. Armstrong, who referred it to C. munroi, Hk. f., but I learn from the Director of the Kew Herbarium that it is quite distinct from that species.

6. Euphrasia cockayniana, sp. nov.

A short sparingly-branched plant, 2in.—3in. high, and everywhere more or less pubescent with articulate glandular hairs. Branches solitary, or in opposite pairs.

Leaves in opposite pairs, sessile, quadrate-ovate in outline, about ⅓in. long by ¼in. broad, the lower half cuneate and entire, the upper cut into 5–7 short obtusely rounded teeth, glandular pubescent, especially at the slightly-recurved margin.

– 270 –

Flowers ½in. long, shortly pedicelled, in opposite pairs in the axils of the upper leaves, bright yellow. Calyx campanulate, divided to the middle into 4 lanceolate acute lobes, not recurved, rather membranous, clothed with articulate glandular hairs which form a ciliate fringe all round the edge. Corolla about twice the length of the calyx, funnel-shaped, with narrow tube and widely-dilated throat; lower lip large, deeply 3-fid; upper erect, hooded, shortly and broadly 2-lobed

Anthers shortly mucronate, the lower cell of the lower anther spurred. Apex of style linear and somewhat crotchet-shaped.

Capsule as long as the tube of the calyx, broad, shortly mucronate at the apex, which is never retuse.

Hab. Kelly's Hill, Otira River (4,000ft.).

A very pretty little species, easily distinguished from its New Zealand congeners by its conspicuous yellow flowers. I found but a few flowering specimens on Kelly's Hill. Mr. Cockayne has kindly sent me ripe capsules, and he mentions that the plant grows abundantly on the low spurs leading up to Mount Rolleston from Arthur's Pass.

7. Pterostylis oliveri, sp. nov.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

A rather stout leafy species 6in. to 12in. high. Leaves reticulately veined, bright glossy - green, amplexicaul or shortly sheathing; radical several, narrow-ovate, acute, narrowed into a rather broad petiole, 2 ½in. to 3 ½in. long, ¾in. to 7/8in. wide; cauline several, amplexicaul, sessile, almost acuminate, the upper gradually diminishing in size.

Flowers usually solitary and terminal, a second flower occurring but rarely in the axil of the uppermost cauline leaf, about 2in. long, curved forward and downward in front almost to the level of the ovary. Upper sepal boat-shaped, broad, tapering gradually to an acute point, the free lobes of the lower sepals broadly obcuneate and produced into very slender erect filaments 1 ¼in. in length. Petals falcate, 1 ¼in. long, ¼in. broad, acuminate. Claw broadly linear, brown, of nearly uniform width to the base; appendage much narrower than the claw, terminating in numerous very narrow filaments. Column ¾in. long.

Hab. Open scrub and low bush on the banks of Kelly's Creek, Otira River (1,100ft.). In flower in the early part of January.

I have much pleasure in dedicating this plant to Professor D. Oliver, F.R.S., of Kew, in acknowledgment of valued assistance in my botanical studies.

– 271 –

8. Danthonia pallida, sp. nov.

A short densely-tufted alpine grass.

Culms branched at the base, leafy below, slender, erect, smooth, 10in. high or less.

Leaves distichous, glabrous, about one-third the length of the culms; sheaths infiated, slightly grooved; blades involute, wiry, tapering to a very slender point, deeply grooved above, rough at the edges; ligule a narrow ciliate or jagged ridge with a few long ciliate hairs at each end.

Panicle ovate, 1 ½in. long or less; branches few, solitary, filiform, smooth, bearing one or two spikelets, and having a few ciliate hairs at their origin.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Spikelets 5/16in. long and half as broad, pale, 4—5-flowered, cuneate in outline. Outer glumes unequal, subacute, membranous and hyaline, nerves very obscure or wanting, almost as long as the spikelets. Flowering-glumes very membranous, with many faint nerves, cut at the top into two subtriangular acute nerveless lobes, between which lies the rather broad reflexed untwisted awn, lower edges fringed with long ciliate hairs, which also sparingly clothe the lower half of the midrib; basal pedicel densely pilose. Palea bifid at the top, with ciliate nerves and long delicate hairs fringing its lower edges.

Hab. Kelly's Hill, Otira River (4,000ft.).

This plant differs from its nearest ally, D. australis, J. Buchanan, in its untwisted awn, the unawned lobes of the flowering-glume, and the glabrous branches of the panicle. It flowers very sparingly.

9. Poa dipsacea, sp. nov.

Culms stout, smooth, glabrous, 6in. to 18in. high, leafy below, branched and decumbent at the base, and rooting at the lower joints.

Leaves considerably shorter than the culms, narrow involute, or incurved at the edges, smooth, deeply striate, sheaths inflated, twice as broad as the blades; ligule broad, very short, rather membranous.

Panicle broadly ovate, 2 ½in. to 4 ½in. long; the branches usually in pairs, divaricating, glabrous, bearing few large spikelets near their ends.

Spikelets pale-brown, about ⅜in. long and half as broad, 5–8-flowered. Outer glumes as long as the flowering, membranous, pale-brown, acute or subacute, obscurely 3-nerved. Flowering-glumes yellowish-brown, acute or subacute, 5- to 7-nerved, membranous at the sides, the base with a tuft of long straight hairs reaching to the middle of the midrib, the upper half of which is finely scabrid; the outer nerves more or less clothed with fine hairs. Palea somewhat shorter than the glume, with strongly-ciliate nerves.

– 272 –

Hab. Sources of Broken River, Canterbury alps (4,000ft.).

This grass attains great luxuriance of growth on spray-washed rocky faces. In wet ground with inferior drainage more stunted forms are found. It is somewhat closely allied to Poa mackayi, Buchanan, from which it is distinguished by the involute or incurved leaves, the short ligule, the broad panicle with smooth divaricating branches, the larger size of the spikelets, and the different colour, clothing, and texture of the flowering-glumes. The nerves are much less prominent than in that species, and the glumes are never scabrid. I have to record my thanks to Mr. Buchanan for allowing me to compare it with the type of his species.

10. Asprella aristata, sp. nov.

Culms slender, smooth, leafy below, 10in. to 20in. long. Leaves bluish-green, much shorter than the culms, narrow, flat, membranous, softly villous (especially on the sheaths); cauline leaves nearly glabrous; ligule short, membranous, irregularly toothed or jagged.

Spike 2in. to 4in. long, broadly linear, of 15 or fewer spikelets.

Spikelets pale bluish - green, sessile, solitary, 2- to 4-flowered. Empty glumes narrow, obliquely falcate, concave, strongly nerved, aristate, usually toothed on one side only, membranous at the edges; the midrib and edges of the arista scabrid.

Flowering-glumes lanceolate, coriaceous, rounded on the back, smooth, 3- to 5-nerved, the apex shortly and in general obliquely toothed and produced into a tapering scabrid arista half as long as the glume; the upper half of the midrib scabrid and more or less keeled.

Palea coriaceous, nearly as long as the glume, with finely-ciliate nerves.

Upper half of ovary densely villous; styles two plumose to the base. Scales broadly triangular, entire, glabrous.

Hab Sources of Broken River (4,000ft.), and valleys of Mount Torlesse (3,500ft.), Alps of North Canterbury.

This species is well marked by its soft villous leaves, short and rather stout spike, broader falcate nerved outer glumes, and the larger number of flowers in the spikelet. I am not sure that it should be included in Asprella, as it has many characters in common with the genus Agropyrum, Beauv. It may even be doubted if any of the New Zealand grasses referred to Asprella are really members of that genus.

11. Gastrodia sesamoides, R. Br.

This Australian orchid has not hitherto been recorded from New Zealand, but I am now able to add it to the species

– 273 –

truly native to our Islands. I found it growing in considerable abundance in sparse scrub, at Kelly's Creek, Otira River (1,100ft.), in January of the present year. G. cunninghamii, Hook. f., grows pretty plentifully in the same district, but it flowers some weeks earlier. It was this difference in the time of flowering that led me to examine critically the flowers of the present plant, and recognise its independence. Unfortunately but one or two spikes had come into flower when I had to leave Kelly's Creek, but these exactly match the excellent figure given in Sir Joseph Hooker's “Flora Tasmaniæ.”

G. sesamoides is very similar to G. cunninghamii, but an observer is at once struck by its stouter stems, and their paler mottled-grey colour. It is not so tall as Hooker's plant, and does not seem to affect such deep shade.

The undoubted species of Gastrodia occurring in New Zealand are thus raised to three, for Mr. Buchanan's G. hectori clearly does not belong to this genus, and it seems doubtful if the species described by Mr. Colenso, F.R.S., are really different from G. cunninghamii and the present plant.

12. Helichrysum purdiei, D. Petrie.

This pretty plant has been in cultivation for some years in several gardens in Dunedin. It forms large circular patches of densely-compacted twigs, spread flat on the ground. The patches reach a diameter of 3ft. or 4ft. in three or four years, and as the prostrate branches, which are often as stout as a goose-quill, readily strike root, they give promise of growing to a much larger size. The plant is found wild only near the seaside, and it is very sensitive to frost, which, in situations that are at all exposed, kills off the younger growth every winter. In habit it differs widely from the other species of Helichrysum native to New Zealand. Mr. W. T. Thiselton Dyer, F.R.S., Director of the kew Gardens, informs me that its nearest ally is a South African species. It seems to be almost extinct about Dunedin, where it was plentiful on seaside slopes in the early days, as Mr. A. C. Purdie informs me. From its slight power of resisting frost, it is not unlikely that its head-quarters lie more to the north, though it has not yet been reported from any other place than the shores of Otago Harbour. In cultivation it shows no sign of want of constitutional vigour, but it flowers much more sparingly than in a wild state.

13. Juncus obtusiflorus, Ehrhart.

This European rush was found by me some years ago at Lake Waihola, and this year I met with it again near the mouth of the Avon River, at New Brighton, a suburb of

– 274 –

Christchurch. In both stations it occurs near long-frequented routes of traffic, and is most likely introduced, though it is quite possible that it may be native. It will, however, have to be found under less equivocal conditions before its indigenous character can be regarded as certain. In both localities it is firmly established.

14. Juncus gerardi, Loisel.

This European species is now well established on the muddy beaches of Otago Harbour, near Anderson's Bay. I have watched it for some seasons, but have never found it set fruit, a peculiarity for which I am unable to account. Mr. A. C. Purdie informs me that in former years it grew at the mouth of the Kaikorai Lagoon, in the Green Island district, but I have not had opportunity to verify his observation.

15. Gastrodia minor, D. Petrie.

In the fruiting state of this species, the flowers, which are at first almost pendulous, become erect and parallel with the axis of the spike. It seems to be parasitic on the roots of Leptospermum ericoides, A. Rich., but I have not been able to satisfy myself on this point. It has flowered very sparingly this season.

Art. XXVI.—On Four New Species of New Zealand Musci.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 4th October, 1893.]


Phascum austro-crispum, sp. nov.

Autoicous. Densely gregarious, minute. Stem short, much divided. Leaves, when dry, curled and contorted, with the margins incurved, curved, from an oval base linear-lanceolate; lower leaves smaller; perichætial leaves much longer, slightly secund, 2—2 ¼ lines long. Nerve canaliculate, very stout, excurrent in a stout mucro, margins entire. Cells of lower part of leaf hyaline lax long-rectangular, above quadrate and densely chlorophyllose. Seta short, yellow, same length as the capsule. Capsule immersed, oval or roundish-oval (rarely two in one perichætium). Operculum conical, produced into a stout, short, blunt, inclined or straight beak. Calyptra dimidiate, smooth, base entire, reaching below the middle of the capsule. Cladautoicous, the male inflorescence

– 275 –

terminal on a special branch, bracts broadly oval at base, tapering gradually into a point, nerved, paraphyses few.

Hab. On clay-banks.

Loc. Dyer's Pass Road, Lyttelton Hills. Abundant in the Malvern district, Canterbury, on sod-banks, No. 407 (named by Dr. Müller), T. W. N. B. North-east Valley, Dunedin, W. Bell.

Braunia novæ-seelandiæ, sp. nov.

Monoicous. Plants wide creeping, irregularly branched; branches patulous and somewhat clavate at the apices. Leaves, when dry, closely appressed and imbricated, when wet patulous, olive-green above, brown below, the lower parts of the stem denuded, concave, broadly ovate, acute, tapering somewhat suddenly into a blunt point, nerveless; O.06in. to 0·065in. long, 0·02in. to 0·0325in. wide, margins loosely revolute with a row of incrassated marginal cells. Stolons on lower part of stem, divaricate, 3 to 4 lines long; leaves small from an ovate base, tapering gradually into a long flexuous point, interspersed with red-brown radicles. Cells very uniform over the whole leaf, small, oval, those at the base in the centre long, and of a bright orange colour. Female inflorescence terminal, perichætial leaves longer, ovate-lanceolate, waved, margins flat, nerveless, archegonia numerous (20 or more). Male inflorescence axillary, bud-like, globose antheridia short-stalked, very numerous, with few paraphyses.

Hab. Growing on dry rocks, mixed with Hedwigia ciliata.

Loc. Selwyn Gorge, Canterbury, September, 1892; No. 417; T. W. N. B. (named by Dr. K. Müller).

Quite distinct from Braunia humboldtii, and very different from it in appearance. My specimens are not in fruit, but have well-developed archegonia and antheridia.

Hypnum (Lembophyllum.) micro-vagum, sp., nov.

Stem creeping, procumbent, vaguely and irregularly branched. Leaves not altered when dry, dull grey-green, very small, broadly ovate, very concave, apex rounded, minutely toothed, quite nerveless. Cells long, slightly sigmoid, round-ended, very distinct, roundish at margin and apex of leaf, papillose at back. Perichætial leaves much larger, quite entire, inner ones convolute, apices pointed and spreading. Seta smooth, brown, 8 lines long. Capsule inclined or horizontal, short, ovate. Endostome, processes carinate, perforated, with two or three long-jointed cilia between.

Hab. Creeping on stones in dry forest.

Loc. Fagus forest, Ben More, North Canterbury, alt. 4,000ft., No. 366 (named by Dr. Müller), T. W. N. B. Kene

– 276 –

puru, Pelorus Sound; J. Rutland. McKinnon's Pass, Otago (collected by—Triggs); T. G. Wright, No. 963. Greymouth (collected by W. J. Gulliver); T. G. Wright, No. 874.

The perichætium and fruit are very large when contrasted with the very minute leaves.

It is allied to, and in some respects resembles, Hypnum vagum, Hornsch., but it materially differs in the form of the cells, which in H. vagum are prosenchymatous. It is also separated by its round-ended leaves and entire absence of nerve.

Daltonia straminea, sp. nov.

Dioicous. Stems crowded, fastigiately branched, 1in. to 1 ½in. long, golden-yellow. Leaves imbricated, appressed but not altered when dry, linear-lanceolate, tapering gradually to a point, concave, puckered within the edge. Nerve canaliculate, golden-brown, thin but well defined, the apex of the leaf frequently twisted. Margin entire, revolute. Cells long-oval and uniform over the whole leaf, a row at the base of a golden colour, cells of margin very long, narrow-ended. The revolute portion of the margin consists of about one-third of this band of prosenchymatous cells. Perichætial leaves half the length of stem leaves, oval, shortly and inconspicuously nerved, not margined. Seta 1 ½ lines long, smooth. Capsule slightly inclined, lying close to the underside of the foliage, oval-oblong, the lower part verrucose. Teeth of peristome linear, with a strongly-marked divisural line, trabeculæ very prominent and extending beyond the edge of the teeth; endostome divided to the middle into lanceolate carinate processes, not papillose. When dry the inner peristome is erect, and forms a cone, with the teeth of the outer peristome incurved. Operculum with a long straight subulate beak. Calyptra conical, deeply fringed at base, apex darker. Male inflorescence gemmiform in the axils of the leaves all up the stem, abundant: bracts numerous, inner ones with their apices curved outwards and truncate. Antheridia short and broad, mouth wide, areolation very distinct, paraphyses O.

Loc. Stewart Island, January, 1889; W. Bell.

This very handsome moss is of a beautiful golden straw-colour, specimens growing in exposed places having a coppery sheen. It was found by Mr. William Bell on smooth-barked trees, in one gully only, Half-moon Bay, Stewart Island. He sent it to Mr. Mitten, who decided that it was a new species “distinct from D. nervosa.” The dioicous inflorescence clearly separates it from that species.

Picture icon

Phascum austro-crispum, sp. nov.

Picture icon

Braunia novæ-seelandiæ, sp. nov.

Picture icon

Hypnum (Lembophyllum) micro - vagum, sp. nov.

Picture icon

Daltonia straminea, sp. nov.

– 277 –

Explanation Of Plates Xxv.-Xxviii.
Plate XXV.
Phascum austro-crispum.

  • Fig. 1, 2, Two leaves, X 32.

  • " 3. Perichætial leaf, X 32.

  • "4 Cells at base of leaf, X 270.

  • " 5. Cells of leaf, X 270.

  • Fig. 6. Capsule and seta, X 32.

  • " 7. Calyptra, X 32.

  • " 8. Special branch bearing male infl., X 32.

Plate XXVI.

Braunia novæ-seelandiæ.
  • Fig. 1. Plant, nat. size.

  • " 2. Leaf, X 32.

  • " 3. Section of leaf, X 32.

  • " 4. Leaf of stolon, X 32.

  • " 5, 6. Perichætial, X 32.

  • Fig. 7. Apex of leaf, X 270.

  • " 8. Marginal cells, X 270.

  • " 9. Cells at middle of leaf at base, X 270.

  • " 10. Leaf-cells, X 270.

Plate XXVII.

Hypnum micro-vagum.
  • Fig. 1. Leaf, X 32.

  • " 2. Leaf, X 70.

  • " 3. Apex of leaf, X 270.

  • " 4. Base of leaf, X 270.

  • " 5. Marginal cells, X 270.

  • " 6. Leaf-cells, X 270.

  • Fig. 7. Papillæ at back of leaf, X 270.

  • " 8. Capsule, X 32.

  • " 9. Endostome, X 270.

  • " 10. Leaf, X 32, and cells, X 270, of Hypnum vagum.


Daltonia straminea.
  • Fig. 1. Plant, nat. size.

  • " 2. Leaf, X 32.

  • " 3. Apex of leaf, X 32.

  • " 4. Revolute margin and cells, X 270.

  • " 5. Capsule, X 32.

  • " 6. Calyptra, X 32.

  • Fig. 7. Operculum, X 32.

  • " 8. Peristome and endostome, X 70.

  • " 9. Male inflorescence, X 32.

  • " 10. Antheridia, X 70.

  • " 11. Cells of capsule, X 270.

Art. XXVII.—On some little-known New Zealand Mosses.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 4th October, 1893.]

Plates XXIX.-XXXc.

In the following paper I continue my notes on little-known New Zealand mosses, and give descriptions, gleaned from various sources, of fourteen species which have not hitherto been recorded as belonging to our moss-flora. Through the kindness of Messrs. Wesley and Son, scientific publishers, London, I have obtained MSS. copies of the descriptions of Dr. Müller's and Dr. Hampe's mosses published at various times in the pages of “Lannæa” and the “Botanische Zeitung”—works which are not to be found in any of our libraries.

Professor V. F. Brotherus, of Helsingfors, has described many new Australian mosses in “Ofversigt af Finska Vet. Soc.

– 278 –

Forh.” I am indebted to him for copies of his papers, in which I found two of our undescribed mosses. Authentic specimens of the mosses from their discoverer, Mr. Weymouth, of Hobart, enabled me with certainty to determine them.

Pleuridium gracilentum, Mitten.

“Monoicum, habitu P. alternifolii, gracile, foliis inferioribus e basi ovali subulato-lanceolato-acuminatis, nervo subulam superiorem totam occupante, margine ad basin partis subulatæ indistincte crenulato vel lævi, cellulis inferioribus oblongis parallelogrammaticis superioribus minoribus, perichætialibus thecam non tegentibus, patulis anguste ellipticis subulato longe attenuatis canaliculatis apice parce denticulatis integerrimisve laxe areolatis, theca in pedunculo brevi subglobosa leptodermi, operculo brevissimo, calyptra cucullata ad thecæ mediam descendente. Hab. Tasmania and King George's Sound. Excepting that the perichætial leaves are less straight and bristly, in general appearance scarcely different from P. alternifolium, but its leaves are of a different form.”—W. Mitten, in Lin. Soc. Proc., iv., p. 65.

Phascum gracilentum, Hook., Fl. Tasm., ii., 164, T. 171, f. 3. Astomum gracilentum, C. Müll.

Hab. Growing amongst Acaulon apiculatum on claybanks, Dyer's Pass, Lyttelton Hills; August, 1892; No. 88; T. W. N. B. (Identified by Dr. K. Müller.)

Dicranum sub-pungens, Hampe.

“Dense cæspitosum, subbiunciale, flavo-viride rufescens; caulis strictiusculus attenuatus, parce diviso-ramosus, subfastigatus, basi fuscescente tomentosus, apico comoso-falcatus, nitidus; folia convoluta, e basi vaginante latiore lanceolato-subulata, undique erecto-patentia, superiora longiora, parum falcata, apice dense serrulata, nervo tenui obscuro percurso; perichætialia convoluta emersa; seta brevis (semi-uncialis) erecta; theca adscendens curvato-cylindrica, evidenter strumosa, lævis, sub ore constricta, operculo elongato-conicosubulato thecam fere superante, dentibus peristomii parum conniventibus, ferrugineis, usque ad medium bifidis. Hab. In Mont. Grampian, William et Victoria Ranges. Obs. Dicrano pungenti simile, theca breviore strumosa satis differt.”—“Muscorum frondosorum Floræ Australasiæ auctore Dr. Ferd. Müller). “Linnæa,” xxx., 1859–60, p. 629.

Flagstaff Hill, Dunedin; W. Bell; No. 379a (identified by Dr. K. Müller). Auckland; T. Kirk.

Mitten, in his “Catalogue of Australian Mosses,” p. 5, gives this as a synonym of Dicranum pungens, H. f. and W. (“Flora Antarctica,” i., 129, t. 59, f. 1.), a plant found in the Lord Auckland and Campbell Islands.

– 279 –

Our New Zealand moss is a very handsome species, with stems 5in. to 7in. long, growing in dense masses at the base of trees.

Dicranum leucolomoides, C. Müll.

“Dioicum?; cæspites subelati laxe cohærentes, pallide lutescentes; caulis ascendens elatus subflaccidus flexuosus, ramis longiusculis subrecurvo - flexuosis, apice secundis divisus, inferne tenuis parce foliosus vel radiculosus; folia caulina laxe conferta subsecunda, pallide lutescentia, e basi late oblonga, cellulis alaribus creberrimis laxe parenchymaticis intense fuscis, dein marcescentibus albidis teneris, plains reticulata sensim longiuscule acuminata, apice denticulata, marginibus erectis vel apice conniventibus inferne tenuissime flavide marginatis, nervo tenui excurrente apice dorso denticulato, cellulis ubique valde incrassatis elongatis, parietibus haud conspicuis præditis; perich. in cylindrum exsertum congesta longe convolutacea lata, apice rotundata et acumine brevi stricto terminata, subintegerrima, enervia, basi laxius reticulata; theca in ped. terminali vel ob innovationem novam laterali breviusculo læve rubro recto suberecta, e collo brevi angusto strumoso cernuo-oblonga, breviuscula, operc. conico oblique subulato breviori, annulo nullo, calyptra robusta straminea; perist. d. densissimi robustissimi longi, inferne grosse cellulosi, rubri, in crura duo vel plerumque tria robusta apice hyalina subrugulosa, apice tantum libera ad basin usque divisi. Patria, Nova Seelandia, ad truncos arborum et rupes humidas sylvarum prope portum Kaipara: Coll. No. 715. A D. scopario gracillitate majore notisque illustratis longe differt. Ob marginem pallidum Leucolomati simile, sed diversum cellulis ubique elongatis.”—C. Mül [ unclear: ] er in “Botanische Zeitung,” 1851, p. 549.

Hab. In large patches on the ground in Fagus forests, Kowai, Mount Torlesse; No. 165b (identified by Dr. Müller). Rough Gully, Bealey River; T. W. N. B.

Mitten, in his “Australian Mosses,” p. 4, gives D. leucolomoides, C. M., as a synonym of D. dicarpum.

Dicranum angustinerve, Mitten.

“Dioicum, D. billardieri simile, caulibus brevibus ramosis, foliis patentibus subsecundis e basi subovali elongata sensim angustatis, nervo angusto percurrente dorso marginibusque apicem versus serrulatis, cellulis elongatis angustis alaribus Oblongis quadratisque flavide fuscis in massam quadratam utrinque dispositis, perichætialibus convolutis internis vaginantibus subito in acumen breve setiforme angustatis, theca in pedunculo breviusculo semiunciali arcuata inclinata basi strumosa, peristomio dentibus rubris dicranis.

– 280 –

“Hab. Tasmania, on dead wood. Nearly allied to D. billardieri, but with somewhat the aspect of D. reflexum. It differs from D. billardieri in the form of the wider portion of its leaves being more elongate, and the narrow upper part being shorter; the internal perichætial leaves are also furnished with a [ unclear: ] bristle-like point, which seems wanting in D. billardieri.”—Mitten, in Proc. Lin. Soc., iv., p. 68.

I am indebted to Mr. T. Kirk for specimens of this moss from Great Barrier Island (No. 46), which were identified by Mr. Mitten.

Campylopus bicolor, Hornsch. (In Musc. Siber. No. 9—Dicranum). Flora N.Z., ii., 69. Plate XXIX.

The cells of the leaf are oval, distinct, and disposed in very regular lines at an angle of 30° to the nerve. The laminæ of the leaf at the base are narrow and membranaceous and hyaline, and there are no inflated alar cells. The nerve is thin and conspicuous, occupying the greater part of the leaf; lamina 0·006in. broad; nerve 0·018in. This moss, in colour and the blunt cymbiform foliage, greatly resembles C. kirkii, but the leaves are smaller and the lamina much narrower than the nerve. The comal leaves do not form large heads. The fruit is unknown in New Zealand, but Müller describes it as slightly immersed and the operculum as having a curved beak.

Hab. Great Barrier Island; T. Kirk.

I am indebted to Mr. Kirk for authentic specimens of this and the following species identified by Mr. Mitten. I have lately received from Mr. W. A. Weymouth very fine specimens of this moss from Port Arthur, Tasmania, which were identified by Professor V. F. Brotherus.

Campylopus kirkii, Mitten. Plate XXX.

Stems 3in. to 4in. long, upper leaves yellowish-green, lower dark-brown, comal leaves in a round congested head, larger, broadly ovate-lanceolate, quite entire, cymbiform, apex blunt and concave. Stem leaves smaller, erect and appressed, lanceolate, obtuse, apex concave. Nerve thin, continued to the apex about one-fifth the width of the leaf, the lamellæ from the middle upwards branching off into the leaf. Lamina of leaf 0·019in. broad; nerve 0·008in. Cells of lower part of nerve long, narrow, rectangular, well defined; alar cells large, inflated, bladdery, when young hyaline, but at maturity chestnut-brown; the wings above transparent and very thin; cells of leaf roundish. Perichætial leaves, 4 inner ones long, convolute, towards the apex tapering to a narrow point, 12 outer ones gradually decreasing in size, lower part broad and vaginant, contracted suddenly into a ligulate point, all nerved to apex. Seta cygneous, 5 lines long. Capsule pachyder-

– 281 –

mous, mouth small, oval, gradually tapering into the seta, where it is slightly verrucose. Calyptra with a fringe about a quarter its length. Operculum conic, tapering evenly to a point. Peristome long, erect, teeth cleft to the middle, the undivided portion chestnut-brown, strongly trabeculate, legs long, slender, hyaline.

Hab. Golden Bay; No. 111; Dr. L. Boor. Great Barrier Island; T. Kirk. Named by Mr. Mitten.

Mr. Kirk informs me that he has also collected this moss on Stewart Island.

This beautiful moss differs from its near congener C. bicolor in its narrower nerve, in the presence of large inflated alar cells, and in the much more obscure leaf-cells. The seta is longer, and carries the capsule well above the comal leaves.

Dicnemon obsoletinerve, Hp. and C.M. Dicranum fasciatum, Hook., Fl. N.Z., ii., 66 (not Hedwig). Plate XXXa.

“Caulis humilis decumbens parce divisus laxissime-foliosus flaccidus; folia caulina patentissima longissima subsecunda latiuscule lanceolata longissime acuminata spiraliter torta valde concava, nerva ubique obsoleto angustissime pallescente excurrente, margine albescente erecto apice serrato, cellulis alaribus magis laxis aureis parenchymaticis, cæteris elongatis angustis laxis lævissimis; perichætialia in cylindrum exsertum congesta vaginantia; theca in pedicello brevi rubente lævi latere perichætii breviter emersa substrumosa oblonga cernua; dentes peristomii purpurei vix ad medium bifidi. Operculum et calyptra desunt. Patria, Nova - Seelandia. Ex analogia ad Dicnemon revocavimus. Habitus perfecte dicranoideus; calyptra desiderata!”—“Linnæa,” 1853, p. 496.

The seta are very generally twin. The operculum has a long, slender, and slightly-curved beak; the calyptra is cucullate and rough at the apex.

Hab. On tree-ferns, Fisher's Bush, Oxford; No. 19 (identified by Dr. Müller). Waimate Bush and Peel Forest, also on the stems of tree-ferns; T. W. N. B. Petane, Hawke's Bay; A. Hamilton. Stewart Island; W. Bell.

Obs. Hooker had doubts about the identity of this plant with Hedwig's Dicranum fasciatum, and observes, in Flora of N.Z., ii., p. 66, “If the specimens are rightly named, Hedwig's figure and description are very inaccurate”; and in a note in Handbook (p. 412) states, “The figure of Hedwig is indifferent, and Wilson thinks that it may indicate a different species.”

Orthotrichum lateciliatum, Venturi, n. sp.

“Cæspituli tumescentes, caules erecti, 2cm. alti. Folia

– 282 –

siccitate curvata et laxe crispata, humiditate erecto-patentia ex ovata basi longe lanceolata, carinata, 3·33mm. longa, apice plus minusve acuminata, margine ad apicem usque recurvo, nervo in apice soluto. Areolatio superne rotundato-hexagona, parietibus haud incrassatis, papillis prominentibus, simplicibus vel bifurcatis ornata; inferne cellulæ elongatæ, angustee, cum parietibus haud incrassatis basin conficiunt. Folia perichætii intima minora, margine plana. Inflorescentia monoica, lateralis; gemmulæ masculæ parvulæ, antheridia pauca, ova-to-oblonga, pedicellata, eparaphysata. Vaginula cylindracea, parce pilosa, ochrea distincta pedicello adhærens. Pedicellus emergens, 3·20mm. longius siccitate torquescens. Capsula cum collo brevi, cito defluente ovato-cylindrica, 1·75mm. longa. Striæ ad medium sporangii productæ, e 4—5 seriebus cellularum latiorum compositæ, siccitate prominentes et capsulam ad medium usque sulcatam efficientes. Stomata emersa, in parte inferiore sporangii. Annulus bi-tri-seriatus, persistens. Peristomii dentes externi 8, rufi, siccitate laxe recurvi, bigeminati, integri, ad apicem obtusum crura connata, articulata, articulis brevissimis, densissime papillosis. Cilia 8, breviora, obtusa, papillosa, dimidiam dentium et ultra attingentes ex 3—4 articulis conflata. Sporæ 24—26 micromill. diametro metientes. Patria, Tasmania, ad arbores (W. A. Weymouth, n. 895 et n. 897). Species O. tasmanico, H. f. and W., affinis, sed statura multo majore, striis distinctis aliisque notis satis superque distincta.”—“On some New Species of Australian Mosses,” by V. F. Brotherus, Helsingfors.

Orthotrichum fasciculatum, Mitt., MSS.—Otago; Buchanan, Diamond Lake; W. Bell. Orthotrichum beckettii, C.M., MSS.—On stems of Discaria toumatou, Mount Torlesse; April, 1892; No. 382; Arthur's Pass, Selwyn Gorge; T. W. N. B.

In 1889 Mr. William Bell sent this moss to Mr. Mitten, who decided that it was new, and wrote: “I have marked a part of Buchanan's specimen of O. tasmanicum, O. fasciculatum, but it wants more observation. It seems to have a tuft of short branches at the top of its stems with many smaller fruits. The calyptra I am not sure about. Its leaves seem narrower.”

It was amongst the mosses I sent to Dr. Müller last year, and he honoured me by calling it O. beckettii. As, however, these names are in MSS. only, Dr. Venturi's name takes precedence. I have to thank Mr. Weymouth for authentic specimens.

Orthotrichum hortense, Boswell.

“Habitus O. affinis, sed laxior irregulariter cæspitosum; caulis dichotome innovans ramosus. Folia erecto-patentia et recurvata, in statu sicco erecta laxe contorta, e basi dilatata

– 283 –

anguste lanceolata, marginibus ad medium reflexis, ad basin et apicem planis, breviter papillosa; cellulis superioribus densis, rotundatis, inferioribus elongatis, pellucidis, ad margines dilatatis quadratis. Calyptra mitrata, acuminata, straminea, nitida hirsuta, apice purpurea. Capsula in pedicello brevi, cylindraceo-oblonga, anguste striata, sicca plicata, sub ore lato coarctata. Peristomii dentes bigeminati, rufoaurantii, sicci reflexi.

“On trees in a garden, Hanmer Plains, New Zealand; Mr. Roper. This, with much the general appearance of average O. affine, has the leaves more acute, more spreading and subsquarrose, and when dry somewhat twisted; the seta is rather longer and the capsule more exserted; the calyptra more hairy, paler, glossier, yellower, with a purplish apex, like that of O. straminea. The exserted capsules give some resemblance to O. speciosum, while the red peristome is suggestive of O. pulchellum.”—“On New Exotic Mosses,” by Henry Boswell, M.A., “Journal of Botany,” Ap., 1892, xxx., p. 97.

Macromitrium retusum, H. f. and W. Flora N.Z., ii., 79, t. 85, f. 6. Plate XXXb.

Hooker, in Fl. N.Z., figures this moss with retuse leaves, and describes them as “retuse and 2-fid at the apex,” omitting any reference to the very remarkable hair-like points with which they are terminated. This was doubtless due to the fact that these points are very fragile, and in the “few barren specimens” from which he drew up his diagnosis they had in all probability fallen off. Their long bristle-like points are articulated at the apex of the leaves, and when they are broken off leave the apex of the leaf with a deep notch. They may be observed in the young comal leaves, and are to be found in great numbers loose in the paper in which the plant has been dried. The moss grows in situations exposed to the vicissitudes of the weather, and the repeated expansion and contraction of the leaves caused by the alternation of moisture and drought causes the points to fall off. I have never seen this moss in fruit.

Hab. On trees, Studholme Bush, Waimate; No. 114c; T. W. N. B. (identified by Dr. K. Müller). Lyttelton Hills; R. Brown. Tarawera, Hawke's Bay; H. Hill. Maungatui, Dunedin, and Wyndham Valley, Southland; W. Bell.

Cyathophorum densirete, Broth.

“Dioicum; gracile, viride vel lutescenti-viride, nitens; caulis repens, dense rufo-fusco-tomentosus stipitibus sparsis, erectis, gracilibus, flexuosis, apice plus minusve attenuatis, simplicibus, nigris, dense foliosis; folia sicca vix mutata,

– 284 –

humida patula, asymmetrica, basi latere superiore ventricosa, ovata, acuta, marginibus erectis, e medio ad apicem grosse argute serratis, nervo brevissimo latiusculo, furcato, cellulis rhombeis pachydermibus, superioribus .045–.06 mm. longis et ·015-·020 mm. latis, marginalibus angustis, limbum indistinctum formantibus; amphigastria multo minora, symmetrica, rotundata, acumine recto, acutissimo, nervo obsoleto; bracteæ perichætii e basi vaginante subito angustatæ, acutæ, apice parce sed grosse serratæ, enerves. Cætera ut in C. pteridioidi. Patria, Tasmania, W. A. Weymouth (862). A C. pteridioidi statura multo minore, areolatione multo densiore et nervo brevissimo differt.”—“On some New Species of Australian Mosses,” by V. F. Brotherus, Helsingfors.

Hab. On trees, damp forest, Kelly's Range, Westland (446ft.). Arthur's Pass; T. W. N. B.

I have received authentic and original specimens of this moss from Mr. W. A. Weymouth (No. 862), but I cannot consider it more than a small form of C. pennatum. In many of my specimens of C. pennatum of large size the cell-walls are as dense as in the Tasmanian plant, and the length of the nerve is a very unstable character. Mr. T. Kirk, to whom I referred the specimens, writes: “I fully agree with you as to the great range of size and luxuriance of C. pennatum. I have seen sterile specimens over 5in. in length, and others under ¾in.”

Hypnum (Cupressina) mossmanianum, C.M.

“Monoicum; H. cupressiformi simillimum, caulis gracillimus, filiformis, longe attenuatus apice vix uncinatus, ramos multos capillares exserens; folia dense conferta lutescentia, angustiuscula, e basi oblongâ in acumen longum, maxime reflexo-falcatum producta, pallida, margine integerrima erecta, obsolete brevissime binervia, cellulis angustissimis densis pallidis, alaribus in ventrem parvum distinctum congestis, fuscidulis; perich. ext. multo latiora, reflexa, intima in cylindrum angustissimum convoluta, longe vaginantia, apice falcata, inferne elongate densiuscule areolata, theca in ped. longiusculo tenui flexuo rubro suberecta, cylindrica arcuata, tenuis; perist. d. ext. breviusculi angusti lutescentes, intus cristati rugulosi, int. æquilongi perforati albidi rugulosi, ciliis capillaribus singulis longis, læviusculis.” Patria, Nova Seelandia, ad saxa et truncos arborum putridos siccos sylvarum prope portum Kaipara: Coll. No. 711. Van Diemen's Land, ad rupes, Fern-tree Valley, montis Wellington; No. 832.”—Carl Mæller, in “Botanische Zeitung,” 1851, p. 565.

On dead wood, Otira (alt., 1,450ft.), Westland; T. W. N. B.; No. 202 (identified by Dr. K. Mæller). Waimate, South Canterbury; T. W. N. B. Mount Earnslaw and Diamond Lake, Otago; W. Bell. Tasmania; Weymouth; No. 368.

– 285 –

Obs. Hooker (“Handbook N.Z. Flora,” p. 476) considers this to be a form of Hypnum cupressiforme, L.; and this view is supported by Mitten in his “Australian Mosses,” p. 39, where he gives it as a synonym of H. cupressiforme, var. minor, H. f. and W. (“Fl. Tasm.,” ii. p. 212).

Pilotrichella billardieri, Hampe (Neckera).

“Caulis turgidus, elongatus, pendulus, inordinate ramosus, ramis brevibus, usque uncialibus turgidis, obtusiusculis, folia turgide imbricata, ex basi cordata cochleariformia (basi et apice inflexa) integerrima, nervis binis brevioribus distantibus notata, seta brevis, crassa, basi foliis paucis lanceolatis involuta; theca brevis ovata, operculo conico obtuso, peristomii dentibus rubris. Hab. Ad arbores Apollo Bay. Obs. Huc Isothecium flexile, Brid., ii., p. 362, ex Nova Hollandia, La Billardière. Neckeræ miquelianæ, C.M., ex habitu convenit; ab Neckera molle differt; habitu robustiore foliis binervibus et operculo obtuso.”—“Linnæa,” 1859–60, p. 637.

The leaves are often nerveless, as in Pilotrichella molle, and I was unable to detect any nerve in the leaves of the specimen in Herb. Helms., identified by Dr. Müller. The very robust habit, the turgid foliage, and the more obtuse and blunter ramuli form the most distinctive characters. Mitten, in his “Catalogue of Australian Mosses,” p. 34, recognises this as distinct from P. molle.

Hab. Hanging from trees in damp forests. Fisher's Bush, Oxford. Long Creek, Mount Fife, Kaikoura; No. 13b (identified by Dr. Müller). Kelly's Range, Westland. Peel Forest; T. W. N. B. Nelson: Grant. Greymouth, Westland; No. 41; in Herb. Helms.; named by Dr. Müller.

Polytrichum (Pogonatum) australasicum, Hp. and C.M.—Polytrichum tortile, Hooker in Flora N.Z., ii., 96, non Swartz.

P. tortili simillimum. Dioicum, folia e basi sub-vaginante brevi sub-laxe areolata pellucida lanceolata obtusiuscula planiuscula apicem versus spinulosa serrulata, dorso spinulosa, suprema conformia, omnia siccitate intense viridia, nervo lato multo-lamelloso apicem folii fere totum occupante; theca cylindraceo-oblonga subcernua fusca ubique lævis, operculum conico-apiculatum obtusum breve. In Australia Felici sub No. 25, sine loco indicato. A P. tortile, Sib., Fl. Ind. Occid. distinguendum.”—“Linnæa,” 1853, p. 500.

The Australasian plant seems to be quite distinct from Swartz's P. tortile of the West Indies, being distinguished by its more obtuse leaves, its comal leaves being of the same form as the others, and particularly by its smooth cylindric capsule. Mitten, in Musci Austro-Amer., p. 418, describes the

– 286 –

capsule of P. tortile, Sw., as being “shortly oval and plicate.” Hooker, in Flora N.Z., says that Swartz's original specimens in Herb. Hook are too imperfect to render the identification of the New Zealand specimens certain.

Hab. In clay. Teremakau, Westland. Hapuka Bush, Kaikoura; No. 250 (identified by Dr. Müller). Peel Forest; T. W. N. B. Greymouth; Gulliver. Found also in Australia and Tasmania.

Anisothecium, Mitten. (Journ. Lin. Soc., xii., 39, 1869.)

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Mosses resembling Dicranella in habit. Leaves gradually narrowed, or from a sheathing base, abruptly subulate, carinate, with the margin plane or recurved, and nerve narrow and well defined below. Capsule always smooth, pachydermous, curved as in Hypnum, rarely suberect or less oblique, the cells of the exothecium regularly rectangular-quadrate, with non-flexuose walls. Peristome larger, thicker, deep-purple, more papillose (Lindberg). Deriv. ἄνισΌς unequal, Θζ́κζ a capsule.

The absence of inflated cells at the basal angles of the leaf at once separates Anisothecium from Dicranum.

Anisothecium. clathratum, Mitt. (“Handbook of New Zealand Flora,” p. 411—Dicranum.)

Hab. On dripping rocks. Mount Torlesse, No. 242b (identified by Dr. K. Müller). Arthur's Pass. Castle Hill, Canterbury; T. W. N. B. Tarawera, Hawke's Bay; H. Hill. Campbell Island; No. 308; T. Kirk.

Anisothecium jamesoni. (Taylor, in Hook. Lond. Journ., vi., 332—Dicranum.)

“Cæspitosum; caule elongato. Folia laxe inserta, e basi brevi erectiore subquadrata, cellulis elongatis laxiusculis pellucidis, subito in subulam patentem elongatam obscuram contracta, nervo in subula a folii lamina indistincto, integerrima; perichætialia basi latiora, duplo longiora, obovata. Theca in pedunculo rubro elongato, oblonga, inclinata operculo subulato. Angstræmia hookeri, C. Müll., Syn., ii., p. 607. Hab. Andes Quitenses, Jameson; Fuegia, Lechler; Hermit's Island, Hooker. Caulis ½—1 ½ uncialis. Folia fulva. Pedunculus subuncialis.”—Mitten, “Musci Austro-Americani,” p. 39.

This is not Dicranum jamesoni, Hook., Ic. Pl., i., 179, which Mitten refers to Campylopus concolor, Hook. (Dicranum). I received from Mr. Kirk authentic specimens of this moss, which were identified by Mr. Mitten. Whangapehatu; Kirk; No. 299. I have it also from Greymouth, collected by Mr. Gulliver; Wright, No. 804: and from the Bealey River (alt., 2,500ft.); T. W. N. B.

– 287 –

Anisothecium gracillimum, sp. nov. Plate XXXc.

Dioicous, small, simple, densely gregarious. Leaves erect, patent, somewhat secund; stem leaves small, base not vaginant, tapering evenly and gradually to the apex, margins quite entire; perichætial leaves semi-vaginant, from near the base narrowing rapidly into a long subulate apex, which is almost entirely occupied by the nerve. Cells large, long, pellucid. Seta red. Capsule erect, regular, short, turbinate, not strumose. Operculum broadly conical, erect, and longer than the capsule. Male plants shorter. Infl. terminal, an innovation frequently springing from below the bracts.

Hab. On clay, Pine Hill, Dunedin; W. Bell (named by Dr. Karl Müller). On damp earth, Patterson Creek, Mount Torlesse; No. 396; T. W. N. B.

Distinguished by its erect capsule, by its non-vaginant leaves, and by the narrow bases of the perichætial leaves. This species belongs to the group containing Anisothecium schreberi, A. campylophyllum, and A. jamesoni, “an intricate series of forms,” as they are designated in the Flora of New Zealand.

Explanation Of Plates Xxix.-Xxxc.
Plate XXIX.

Campylopus bicolor.

  • Fig. 1. Comal leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 2. Stem leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 3. Base of leaf, X 70.

  • Fig. 4. Cells of leaf, X 270.

Plate. XXX.

Campylops kirkii.

  • Fig. 1. Comal leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 2. Stem leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 3. Base of leaf, X 70.

  • Fig. 4. Cells, X 270.

  • Fig. 5. Perichætial leaf (outer), X 32.

  • Fig. 6. Capsule, X 32.

  • Fig. 7. Operculum, X 32.

Plate XXXa.

Dicnemon obsoletinerve, Hp. and C. M.

  • Fig. 1. Perichætium and fruit, slightly magnified.

  • Fig. 2. Capsule and operculum, X 32.

  • Fig. 3. Leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 4. Apex of leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 5. Base of leaf, X 32.

  • Fig. 6. Cells of leaf, X 270.

  • Fig. 7. Apex of perichætial leaf, X 32.

– 288 –

Plate XXXb.

Macromitrium retusum, H.f. and W.
  • Fig. 1. End of branch, X 32.

  • Fig. 2. Comal leaf, with hair-point uninjured, X 32.

  • Fig. 3. Leaf with hair-point partially broken off, X 70.

  • Fig. 4. Lower leaf, back view, with “retuse” apex, the bristle broken off.

  • Figs. 5, 6, 7. Leaves copied from “Flora of New Zealand,” t. 85, f. 6.

Plate XXXc.

Anisothecium gracillimum, sp. nov.

Plant nat. size.

  • Fig. 1. Leaf, X 70.

  • Fig. 2. Apex of same, X 270.

  • Fig. 3. Cells from middle of leaf, X 270.

  • Fig. 4. Perichætial leaf, X 70.

  • Fig. 5. Capsule and operculum (immature), X 32.

  • Fig. 6. Capsule, ripe, X 32.

  • Fig. 7. Male infloresence, X 32.

Art. XXVIII.—Notes on New Zealand Mosses: Genus Pottia.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 1st November, 1893.]


The species composing this genus may be readily distinguished from those comprised in Gymnostomum, as the former are either annual or biennial plants, and the leaves have large cellular tissue.

The members of this genus appear to have been entirely overlooked by botanists, as witness the Rev. J. Berkeley, who, in his introduction to “Cryptogamic Botany,” actually says, “This genus does not occur in New Zealand.” This may possibly be accounted for by the minuteness of the plants, also by the short time it takes them to arrive at maturity.

They are to be found growing on steep damp clayey banks, where the earth during the hot summer months crumbles away, leaving a fresh surface for the spores of those plants to germinate on during the following winter; as their vigorous growth takes place only on freshly-turned soil, too much organic matter in the soil does not suit them. They speedily become extinct in those habitats; when this takes place a higher class of vegetation follows; they therefore form a section of the pioneers of vegetable life.

Picture icon

Campylopus bicolor, H [ unclear: ] rnschuch.

Picture icon

Campylopus kirkii, Mitten

Picture icon

Dicnemon obsoletinerve

Picture icon

Macromitrium re [ unclear: ] usum H.F. & W.

Picture icon

Anisothecium gracillimim. sp. nov.

– 289 –

The best time for their successful collection is in wet or very damp weather, for on other days their leaves are generally curled up and appear dead, and then it is with great difficulty that they are discovered.

The first record of any species belonging to this genus having been discovered in New Zealand which I have been able to find is that one described by Mr. Charles Knight as Gymnostomum areolatum in vol. vii., Trans. N.Z. Inst. p. 355.

In another paper I have pointed out the anomalous position this particular moss (G. areolatum) holds, and proposed to place it in the genus Pottia, as being more in harmony with its character.

The only other species which is said to belong to the genus Pottia is one described by Mr. T. W. Naylor Beckett in a paper contributed to the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury on the 5th October, 1892, and recorded in vol. xxv., p. 290, of the Trans. N.Z. Inst., and there named by him P. marginata.

This plant has no actual existence, being a combination of a new species previously described by me in a paper read before the Philosophical Institute on the 7th September, 1892, and recorded in vol. xxv. of the Transactions, p. 286, and there named Hennedia microphylla, and a new species of this genus Pottia.

The points of resemblance between these two species are many, both being found in the same situations, growing together in the same patches, having very similar leaves, and bordered margins. Here, however, the resemblance ends; H. microphylla having a simple stem, a mitriform calyptra covering the whole capsule tightly, and narrowed at the base; the Pottia having a cucullate calyptra, and only covering about one-half of the capsule. The cell tissue of the former is at least double the size of the latter. The capsule of the former has a straight, short, stout, conic operculum, while that of the latter has a long oblique one. It is unfortunate that Mr. Beckett has confounded these two species, as it necessitated his formulating a new development theory to explain his description of this moss.

He knew that I had previously described this moss with the mitriform calyptra as H. microphylla, and, as he has attempted to give this moss a new generic and specific name, and has omitted to make any reference to H. microphylla, I am very reluctantly compelled, in order to prevent any confusion, to put this matter straight.

I should like to have called the new species of Pottia, which he has confounded with Hennedia microphylla, Pottia marginata, in Mr. Beckett's honour; but, as under the cir-

– 290 –

cumstances this name would be quite inappropriate, I have named it Pottia grata.

According to my usual practice, my drawings of the mosses described below are to one scale, to facilitate comparison. In this genus it will be found specially valuable on account of their minuteness.

I have drawings of a few more plants which belong to this genus, but as I have mislaid my specimens I think it unwise to publish them until I have been able to compare further.

The following arrangement of the species places them in their nearest relative position to each other:—

Pottia areolata, Knight.
" acaulis, nov. sp.
" alfredii, nov. sp.
" wrightii, nov. sp.
" stevensii, nov. sp.
" serrata, nov. sp.
" longifolia, nov. sp.
" bickertonii, nov. sp.
" macrocarpa, nov. sp.
" douglasii, nov. sp.
" leonardi, nov. sp.
" grata, nov. sp.
" assimilis, nov. sp.
" obliqua, nov. sp.

Pottia acaulis, nov. sp. Plate XXXI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants minute, annual, almost stemless, simple, growing in small patches, gregarious. Leaves few, spreading. Upper stem-leaf 1/32in. long, oblong, rounded at the apex into a short acuminate point, concave. Margins entire. Nerve nearly continuous. Areola large; upper pentangular; lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves 1/32in. long, oblong-obovate or subspathulate, rounded into an acute point. Fruitstalk 3/32in. Capsule small, ovate, symmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum conico-rostrate, slightly oblique, about two-thirds of the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On limestone rocks, at Castle Hill; and on Port Lyttelton Hills, on clayey banks. Collected by R. B.

Pottia alfredii, nov. sp. Plate XXXI.

Plants small, annual, growing in dense patches. Stem about ⅛in. long, unbranched. Leaves densely imbricating, numerous; upper nearly erect, lower spreading, shortly oblong-lanceolate, acute or apiculate, incurved near the apex, concave. Margins entire, recurved to near the apex. Nerve stout, excurrent, or ending at the apex. Upper areola slightly

– 261 –

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

dense, pentagonal; lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial leaves slightly shorter, scarcely recurved on the margin, otherwise similar to the stem ones. Fruitstalk inclined, terminal, 3/32in. long. Capsule ovate. Peristome none. Operculum and calyptra not found.

Hab. On damp banks, Port Lyttelton Hills. Collected by R. B.

Pottia wrightii, nov. sp. Plate XXXI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, annual, growing in small patches, gregarious. Stems simple, about 1/32in. long. Leaves few, erecto-patent, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, slightly incurved at the apex, concave. Margins entire. Nerve disappearing at the apex, Areola, upper pentangular, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves nearly erect, slightly narrower than the upper-stem ones, otherwise similar. Fruitstalk terminal, inclined, about ⅛in. long. Capsule oval, symmetrical, mouth small. Peristome none. Operculum slender, slightly oblique, about half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On damp banks, Lyttelton Hills. Collected by R. B.

Pottia stevensii, nov. sp. Plate XXXI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants minute, annual, growing in small loose gregarious patches. Stem extremely short. Leaves few, erecto-patent, broadly oblong-lanceolate, apiculate, slightly incurved near the apex, concave, margins entire. Nerve excurrent, lower leaves smaller, but otherwise similar to the upper. Areola small, upper pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves smaller, the innermost one smallest, oblong-lanceolate, apiculate. Fruitstalk terminal, inclined, 3/16in. long, slender. Capsule ovate, symmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum oblique, conico-rostrate, two-thirds of the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp ground, in the Public Domain, Christchurch; not common. Collected by R. B.

Pottia serrata, nov. sp. Plate XXXII.

Plants small, growing in loose patches, gregarious. Stem simple or branched. Leaves, upper stem erecto-patent, oblong-lanceolate, acute or apiculate; lower small oblong-lanceolate, acute, slightly incurved near the apex, concave. Margins serrated towards the apex. Nerve excurrent. Areola, upper pentangular, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves, outer oblong-lanceolate, apiculate, serrated near the apex; inner smaller than the outer. Fruitstalk terminal, about ⅛in. long. Capsule ovate, symmetrical.

– 292 –

Peristome none. Operculum oblique, convexo - rostrate. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On damp banks, Port Lyttelton Hills. Collected by R. B.

Pottia longifolia, nov. sp. Plate XXXII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, pale-green, annual, growing in loose patches, gregarious. Stem simple or branched, about 1/32in. long. Leaves few, erecto-patent, upper large, oblong-lanceolate, acute; lower small, oblong-lanceolate, acute, very concave. Margins entire. Nerve ending at the apex. Areola, upper pentangular, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves smaller than the upper - stem ones, oblong-lanceolate, acute, otherwise similar. Fruitstalk terminal, about ⅛in. long, erect. Capsule ovate, symmetrical, mouth small. Peristome none. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On damp clay-banks, at the head of Governor's Bay; July, 1882. Collected by R. B.

Pottia bickertonii, nov. sp. Plate XXXII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, annual, yellowish-green, growing in patches, gregarious. Stem simple, about 1/32in. Leaves few, erecto-patent, lower linear-lanceolate, acute, middle oblong-lanceolate, acute; upper broadly oblong-lanceolate, acute, crisp when dry. Areola, upper pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial shorter than the upper leaves, broadly ovate-lanceolate, acute, semiconvolute. Fruitstalk terminal, inclined, ⅛in. long. Capsule oval, symmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum slender, oblique, convexo-rostrate. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Port Lyttelton hills, on damp banks. Collected by R. B. (Named in honour of Professor Bickerton, of Canterbury College, Christchurch.)

Pottia macrocarpa, nov. sp. Plate XXXIII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants annual, growing in dense patches, gregarious. Stem simple, about ⅛in. long. Leaves numerous, closely imbricating; upper oblong-lanceolate, apiculate, or oblong rounded at the apex, apiculate, concave. Margins entire. Nerve excurrent. Lower stem-leaves smaller, but otherwise similar to upper ones. Areola, upper pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves slightly shorter, otherwise similar to the stem ones. Fruitstalk terminal, nearly erect, 3/32in. long. Capsule large, ovate, subsymmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum stout, conico-rostrate, slightly oblique, nearly half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp clay-banks, Port Lyttelton hills. Collected by R. B.

– 293 –

Pottia douglasii, nov. sp. Plate XXXIV.

Plants dark-green, perennial. Stem short, ⅛in., branched. Branches short, ⅛in. Leaves erecto-patent, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate. Nerve excurrent. Margin minutely toothed near the apex by the excurrent cells. AreolEaE lax, quadrate below, pentangular towards the apex. Perichætial leaves longer, otherwise similar, incurved when dry. Fruitstalk nearly erect, ⅜in. to ½in., red, twisted to the right when dry. Capsule obconic or turbinate, red. Operculum oblique, conicosubulate. Columella adherent to the operculum, and falling away with it. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Hagley Park, on marshy ground, growing along with Physcomitrium pyriforme; in fruit November, 1878; found by myself then, and afterwards by T. G. Wright in the same locality. This habitat has since been destroyed through the place having been drained, and now used as a racing-track. I have not been able to find this moss in any other locality.

A specimen plant was deposited by me in the Museum, 1885.

Pottia leonardi, nov. sp. Plate XXXIII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants very small, annual, pale-green, growing in small loose patches. Stem about 1/32in., simple. Leaves few, closely imbricating, erecto-patent. Upper lanceolate acute, narrowed towards the base, concave. Margin entire. Nerve continuous. Areola, upper pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate, crisp when dry. Perichætial leaves slightly smaller than the stem ones, otherwise similar. Fruitstalk terminal, ⅛in. long, inclined. Capsule ovate, symmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum oblique, conico-rostrate, stout or slender, two-thirds the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp clay-banks, Port Lyttelton hills; August, 1892. Collected by R. B.

Pottia grata, nov. sp. Plate XXXIII.

Plants small, pale-green, annual, growing in patches, gregarious. Stem most minute, simple or branched from near the base. Branch fastigiate. Leaves imbricating, erecto-patent, oblong-lanceolate acute or ovate-lanceolate acute, concave. Margin having a border of quadrate pellucid cells, and serrated near the apex, crisp when dry. Areola, upper small, pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial leaves ovate-lanceolate, acute. Margin bordered with quadrate cells, serrated near apex. Nerve continuous. Fruitstalk terminal, inclined, ⅛in. long. Capsule elliptic. Peristome none. Operculum stout, oblique, conic, about half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate, covering about half the capsule.

– 294 –

Hab. Damp banks, neighbourhood of Christchurch. Collected by R. B.

(Note.—This is the plant which Mr. Beckett has confounded with H. microphylla.)

Pottia assimilis nov. sp. Plate XXXIV.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, annual, dark-green, growing in dense patches. Stem 1/16in. long, branched near the base. Branches fastigiate. Leaves many, densely imbricating, erecto-patent, oblong-lanceolate, acute, crisp when dry; upper broadly oblong-lanceolate, acute, concave. Margin entire. Nerve ceasing at the apex. Areola, upper pentangular, lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial leaves short, otherwise similar to those of the stem. Fruitstalk terminal, 3/32in. long, inclined. Capsule obliquely ovate, unsymmetrical, mouth narrow. Peristome none. Operculum oblique, conico-rostrate, half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On damp banks, Merivale, near Christchurch. Collected by R. B.

Pottia obliqua, nov. sp. Plate XXXIV.

Plants very small, annual, pale-green, growing in loose patches, gregarious. Stem extremely short, simple or branched close to the base. Leaves few, spreading, or erectopatent, incurving near the apex, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, slightly narrowed towards the base, concave. Margins entire, nerved towards the apex, crisp when dry. Areola, upper pentagonal, lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial leaves oblong-lanceolate, acuminate. Fruitstalk terminal, pale, inclined obliquely, ⅛in. long. Capsule ovate, nearly symmetrical. Peristome none. Operculum conico-rostrate, half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. On damp ground, Port Lyttelton Hills. Collected by R. B.

Explanation of Plates XXXI.-XXXIV.
Plate XXXI.

Pottia acaulis.

  • Fig. Pottia alfredii.

  • 1. Upper portion of plant, with capsule and perichætial leaves.

  • 2. Upper stem leaf.

Pottia wrightii.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 5. Stem leaf (middle).

  • 6. Stem leaf (lower).

– 295 –

Pottia stevensii.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaves (upper).

Plate XXXII.

  • Fig. Pottia serrata.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaves (upper).

Pottia longifolia.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Calyptra.

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 4. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 5. Stem leaf (lower).

Pottia bickertonii.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 4. Stem leaf (middle).

  • 5. Stem leaf (lower).


  • Fig. Pottia macrocarpa.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 4. Stem leaf (middle).

  • 5. Stem leaf (lower).

Pottia leonardi.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Calyptra.

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 4. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 5. Stem leaf (upper).

Pottia grata.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Calyptra.

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 4. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 5. Stem leaf (upper).

Plate XXXIV.

  • Fig. Pottia assimilis.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 5. Stem leaves (middle).

– 296 –
  • Fig. Pottia obliqua.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 4. Stem leaves (upper).

Pottia douglasii.

  • 1. Capsule and operculum.

  • 2. Calyptra.

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 4. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 5. Stem leaf (upper).

Art. XXIX.—Musci: Notes on the Genus Gymnostomum, with Descriptions of New Species.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 1st November, 1893.]


The genus Gymnostomum is distinguished from the other allied genera of mosses by its species being perennial, and the cellular tissue of the upper portion of their leaves being small and dense; also in the absence of a peristome. In the genus Pottia, which is closely allied to it, the peristome is also absent, but species of the latter are either annual or biennial, and the cellular tissue is large and more succulent. In all other respects these two genera are similar, having also the same habitats, and being similar in appearance, which will account for Mr. Charles Knight (in his description of certain mosses, published in vol. vii. of the “Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute,” p. 354) placing G. areolatum in the genus Gymnostomum instead of that of Pottia, to which, from its large cell-structure, it probably belongs. These mosses are generally found on damp banks, on the ground, and are in fruit from October till February or March. Species of both genera are often seen growing on the same bank.

Since the publication of the “Handbook of the Flora of New Zealand” I have discovered no record of any new species of the genus Gymnostomum excepting Mr. Knight's descriptions referred to above. It is to be regretted that fuller details of some of these mosses were not given, as it appears from the descriptions that two of them do not belong to this genus, but to other genera. I have therefore not

– 297 –

included them in this paper, but have left them to be placed in their proper position hereafter.

There are but two species described in the Handbook—viz., G. tortile and G. calcareum.

G. tortile is distinguished from all the other New Zealand species yet found by the regular incurving of the margins of its leaves. It is also a native of Britain and other parts of Europe.

G. calcareum I have collected at Castle Hill on the West Coast Road, and also at the Weka Pass. It was found on wet banks, in dense, irregular pulvinate patches, often very large, fruiting sparingly. The plant I have identified as G. calcareum I have drawn on Pl. XXXV.

Mr. Knight describes five species of this genus in the paper before referred to—viz., G. patulum, G. knightii, G. sulcatum, G. areolatum, and G. angustatum. He also describes a variety of G. calcareum which he has named var. intermedia.

G. patulum.—There is a note attached to the description of a moss (Weissia flavipes) in Hooker's Handbook, p. 404, which states that Mr. Wilson, who examined the Auckland form of this moss very carefully, suggested that it was probably a different species from W. flavipes, on account of his finding no trace of a peristome, and proposed to name it Gymnostomum patulum. Mr. Knight does not mention whether it is this particular moss or another species which he has thus named (G. patulum). Knight's plant is described as having the mouth of the capsule closed by a membrane, and having crisp leaves. These two characters would make this plant a most distinct species; but in the figure representing the whole plant the fruitstalk is drawn twice the length of the leaves, while in the description it is described as no longer than the leaves. Also, in the enlarged drawing of a leaf (vol. vii., pl. xxviii., fig. c) it is drawn as if the margins of the leaf had a thickened border, or were either incurved or recurved, which is also not described, leaving it doubtful which is correct.

G. knightii is one of the most distinct species in this genus, and is readily identified. It grows in Hagley Park, in the Domain, and round the neighbourhood of Christchurch.

G. calcareum, var. intermedium.—In the enlarged figure of the leaf of this plant a thickened border is shown, which is not described. This is evidently a mistake, as G. calcareum has not a thickened margin.

G. sulcatum.—This plant occupies a rather anomalous position by being placed in the genus Gymnostomum, as the furrowed capsules of this moss point to the genus Zygodon as being the proper place for it, there being a gymnostomous section in that genus which has also sulcate capsules and

– 298 –

small cellular tissues. I have not seen this plant, but from its description am of the opinion that it belongs to the latter genus. A reference to the figure given also confirms my idea. I do not therefore propose to treat it as a Gymnostomum.

G. areolatum.—This moss is also in much the same position with regard to its genus as G. sulcatum. The large cellular tissue described as belonging to this plant, and the drawing thereof, show that it is a true member of the genus Pottia, which is composed of annual or biennial plants, having large cell-structure. I therefore propose to place this moss in the latter genus.

G. angustatum.—I was under the impression that I had discovered this moss, but on closely examining my specimens I found traces of sixteen teeth, and, although it corresponded in every respect with Mr. Knight's description of G. angustatum, with the exception of these teeth, it therefore could not possibly be the same moss.

The following is the proposed arrangement of the species of this genus as discovered to date:—

  • Gymnostomum calcareum, Nees and Hornsch.

  • " " var. intermedia, Knight.

  • " tortile, Schwægrichen.

  • " patulum, Knight.

  • " knightii, Schimper.

  • " angustatum, Knight.

  • " pygmæum, nov. sp.

  • " ligulatum, nov. sp.

  • " waimakaririense, nov. sp.

  • " magnocarpum, nov. sp.

  • " stevensii, nov. sp.

  • " longirostrum, nov. sp.

  • " wrightii, nov. sp.

  • " " var. A.

Gymnostomum pygmæum, nov. sp. Plate XXXV.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants very small, perennial, growing in dense patches. Stem extremely short, branched. Branches fastigiate, 1/32in. long. Leaves minute, erecto-patent or erect, linear-lanceolate, acuminate. Margins entire. Nerve faint, disappearing below the apex. Lower areola oblong, quadrate; upper small, crisped when dry. Perichætial leaves half as long as the upper-stem leaves, erect, entire, otherwise similar to the stem-leaves. Fruitstalk inclined, 3/16in. high. Capsule ovate, symmetrical. Mouth narrowed. Peristome none. Operculum oblique, conico-rostrate, two-thirds length of capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp limestone rocks, near Castle Hill. Collected March, 1891, by R. B.

– 299 –

Gymnostomum ligulatum, nov. sp. Plate XXXV.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense patches, darkish-green. Stem short, 1/16in., branched. Branches fastigiate, 1/16in. Leaves crowded, spreading, or erecto-patent, ligulate rounded at the apex, apiculate by the excurrent nerve, keeled. Margins entire. Nerve same colour as the leaf, excurrent. Perichætial leaves much smaller than stem ones, otherwise very similar. Fruitstalk slightly longer than the leaves. Capsule large, ovate, subsymmetrical. Operculum oblique, conic, tapering to the point, two-thirds the length of the capsule. Calyptra not found.

Hab. Port Lyttelton Hills, on damp banks, fruiting from November to January. Collected, 1882, by R. B.

This plant differs from G. patulum, Knight, principally in the mouth not being closed by a membrane, and in the perichætial leaves being shorter than the stem ones.

Gymnostomum waimakaririense, nov. sp. Plate XXXVI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense patches. Stem 3/16in., branched. Branches fastigiate, 1/16in. Leaves close-set, erecto-patent. Upper leaves recurving, lanceolate, sharply acuminate, semi-convolute, keeled. Margins entire. Nerve excurrent. Upper areola dense, lower oblong-quadrate. Perichætial leaves one-third longer than stem ones, linear-lanceolate, very acuminate, tapering from a broad base. Nerve excurrent. Fruitstalk ⅛in. long, shorter than the perichætial leaves. Capsule subimmersed, ovate, symmetrical. Operculum conico-rostrate, more than half the length of the capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp ground, among willows, at the River Waima-kariri. Collected, September, 1885, by R. B.

Gymnostomum stevensii, nov. sp. Plate XXXVI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense patches. Stem very short, branched. Branches fastigiate, 1/16in. long. Leaves closely crowded, spreading, or erecto-patent, linear-lanceolate or acuminate, semi-convolute, slightly cucullate, and incurved at the apex, keeled. Margins entire, sometimes slightly incurved. Nerve excurrent, almost apiculate. Upper areola dense, lower oblong-quadrate, crisped when dry. Perichætial leaves very long, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, nerved. Fruitstalk pale, 5/16in. long. Capsule large, oval. Operculum oblique, short, conico-rostrate. Calyptra not found.

Hab. Damp banks, Port Lyttelton Hills. Collected in 1882, by R. B.

This plant is conspicuous, and easily distinguished by its large capsule and long perichætial leaves. I have named

– 300 –

it in compliment to a member of the Institute, Joseph Stevens, Esq., of Christchurch.

Gymnostomum magnocarpum, nov. sp. Plate XXXVI.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense, olive-green patches. Stem 3/16in., branched. Branches fastigiate, ⅛in. Leaves closely imbricating, spreading, or erecto-patent, slightly recurving, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, occasionally rounded to an apiculus, concave. Margins entire, sometimes slightly incurved. Nerve excurrent. Areola, upper dense, lower oblong-quadrate, crisped when dry. Perichætial leaves shorter than the stem ones, narrow, lanceolate from a broader base, acuminate. Nerve excurrent. Fruitstalk 3/16in., pale, inclined. Capsule ovate-symmetrical. Operculum convexo-rostrate, about two-thirds length of capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp banks, Governor's Bay. Collected, August, 1881, by R. B.

Gymnostomum longirostrum, nov. sp. Plate XXXVII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense yellowish-green patches. Stem short, 1/16in., branched. Branches fastigiate. Leaves crowded, erecto-patent, linear-lanceolate, acuminate or apiculate, concave, keeled. Margins entire. Nerve pellucid, continuous or excurrent. Areola, lower half oblong-quadrate, upper dense, crisped when dry. Perichætial about the same length as the upper leaves, nearly erect. Fruitstalk pale, slender, inclined, ¼in. long. Capsule ovate, unsymmetrical, narrowed towards the mouth. Operculum oblique, slender, conico-rostrate, as long as the capsule, sometimes longer. Calyptra long, cucullate.

Hab. Damp banks, on Port Lyttelton Hills, 1873; and in the Valley of the Clinton, 1889; fruiting from December to February. Collected by R. B.

Gymnostomum wrightii, nov. sp. Plate XXXVII.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants small, perennial, growing in dense patches. Stems 1/16in., branched. Branches 1/16in., fastigiate. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, obtuse or acute, apiculate, concave. Margins entire. Nerve excurrent. Areola, upper dense, lower oblong-quadrate, crisped when dry. Perichætial leaves longer than the stem ones, linear-lanceolate, acuminate. Nerve excurrent. Fruitstalk ⅓in. long, no longer than the leaves. Capsule very oblique. Operculum oblique, conico-rostrate, about two-thirds length of capsule. Calyptra cucullate.

Hab. Damp banks, Broken River, West Coast Road, 1891. Var. A.

A variety near the River Heathcote, collected by R. B. in 1882. Has a stouter operculum and the leaves longer.

– 301 –

(All the figures of these mosses, as well as my previous contributions in this direction, are drawn with the assistance of a camera lucida to one scale, for the purpose of greater facility of comparison.)

Explanation of Plates XXXV.-XXXVII.
Plate XXXV.

Gymnostomum calcareum.
  • Fig.

  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaves.

  • 3. Stem leaf (lower).

  • 4. Stem leaf (upper).

Gymnostomum pygmæum.
  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaves.

  • 3. Upper stem leaf.

  • 4. Stem leaves.

Gymnostomum ligulatum.
  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaves.

  • 3. Stem leaves.

Plate XXXVI.

Gymnostomum waimakaririense.
  • Fig.

  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf.

  • 3. Stem leaves.

Gymnostomum stevensii.
  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaves.

  • 3. Stem leaves (upper).

Gymnostomum magnocarpum.
  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaves.


Gymnostomum longirostrum.
  • Fig.

  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Calyptra.

  • 3. Perichætial leaves.

  • 4. Stem leaf (upper).

  • 5. Stem leaf (lower).

Gymnostomum wrightii
  • 1. Capsule.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf (inner).

  • 3. Perichætial leaf (outer).

  • 4. Stem leaves.

– 302 –

Art. XXX.—Notes on some New Species of New Zealand
Musci: Genus Phascum.

[Read before the Philsophical Institute of Canterbury, 2nd August, 1893.]


There do not appear to be very many species of Phascum in New Zealand. During the course of a number of years I have carefully searched for plants belonging to this genus in all the localities I have visited, and have only been rewarded by the discovery of five species. Two of these are described in the Handbook of the Flora of New Zealand, the other three are new species. They are all small, tender, and inconspicuous plants, very liable to be overlooked, or taken for young plants belonging to other genera. The capsules of all these three species are immersed among the leaves, and in dry weather are entirely hid by the leaves incurving over and protecting them from the effects of the weather. This is no doubt an explanation of their non-discovery.

In this extremely interesting genus the capsules are indehiscent, there being neither valves nor operculum by which the spores can be shed; these can only be liberated by the decay of the capsule or its rupture through the spores germinating within.

This genus has been divided by botanists into a number of subgenera, only three of which are represented in New Zealand. They are found growing in patches, on damp clay and sandy banks, during the winter and early spring months, and are in fruit from June until November. After this period they are generally dried up by the hot winds prevailing about that time, and are then very difficult to find.

Phascum (Acaulon) apiculatum, Hooker and Wilson, is very common all over the Port Hills, and on the plains in the neighbourhood of Christchurch.

Phascum (Pleuridium) nervosum, Hooker, is also to be found in the same localities, but is not so common as the previous one.

Phascum (Pleuridium) lanceolatum, nov. sp.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants perennial, small, growing in dense dark-green patches, monœcious. Stem short, 1/16in., branched. Branches fastigiate, ⅛in. Leaves spreading or erecto-patent, oblong, rounded at the apex, apiculate or oblong-lanceolate, acuminate. Nerve excurrent, forming an apiculus. Margins entire,

– 303 –

except at the apex, where they are minutely toothed by the excurrent cells. Leaves, when dry, become convolute and incurved over the capsule. Areolæ near the base oblong-quadrate; upper, round, dense. Perichætial leaves nearly one-half longer, erect, acuminate, otherwise very similar to stem-leaves. Fruitstalk very short, erect. Capsule immersed, subrotund, cuspidate. Calyptra cucullate. Perigonia gemmaceous, at the base of the branches. Antheridia three to four. Paraphyses numerous.

Hab. Damp ground, in plantations near the River Avon; in fruit from June to November.

Phascum (Pleuridium) longifolium, nov. sp.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plants perennial, small, pale-green, growing in small, loose patches. Stem, 3/16in.—¼in., branched. Branches fastigiate, about 1/16in. Leaves long, erecto-patent, linear-lanceolate, acute or apiculate. Margin entire. Nerve continuous, ex-current, forming the point of the leaf. Areolæ, lower long, narrow, quadrate; upper very small and dense; when dry convolute, and incurved over the capsule, completely hiding it. Perichætial leaves longer, nearly erect, linear-lanceolate, acute or apiculate. Nerve continuous. Fruitstalk erect, very short. Capsule immersed, oval, unsymmetrical. Beak oblique, acute. Calyptra cucullate. Monœcious. Perigonia gemmaceous at the base of the branches.

Hab. Steep damp clay-banks, in warm situations, on the Port Hills, fruiting a month later than P. lanceolatum.

In this plant the leaves very much resemble in outline those of P. lanceolatum; they differ in being longer and more numerous, and in the cells at the base of the leaves being also much longer; but the cells at the upper half of this plant are one-half smaller and denser than the corresponding ones of lanceolatum; the fruitstalk of longifolium is much shorter, and the capsule has a different form.

Phascum (Cycnea) arnoldii.

Plants small, growing in a dense tuft, pale-green. Stem very short, branched. Branches fastigiate, about ⅛in. Leaves close-set, upper longest, sheathing near the base, subconvolute, straight or slightly falcate, recurving or incurved, nerved. Perichætial leaves shorter than the upper ones, otherwise very similar. Fruitstalk short, curved. Capsule immersed among the leaves, rotund. Beak short, straight, and narrow. Calyptra small, cucullate.

Hab. Moa Creek (one of the small tributaries of the Wilberforce), growing on rocks together with Andreas and dark-brown Hepaticæ.

Specimen plant deposited in Christchurch Museum.

– 304 –

Explanation of Plate XXXVIII.

Phascum (Pleuridium) lanceolatum.
  • Fig.

  • 1. Stem leaves.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf.

  • 3. Capsule.

Phascum (Pleuridium) longifolium.
  • 1. Stem leaf.

  • 2. Perichætial leaf and capsule.

  • 3. Calyptra.

Phascum (Cycnæa) arnoldii.
  • 1. Lower stem leaves.

  • 2. Middle stem leaves.

  • 3. Upper stem leaf.

  • 4. Perichætial leaf and capsule.

  • 5. Calyptra.

Art. XXXI.—On Lessonia variegata, J. Ag., Mscr.

[Read before the Canterbury Philosophical Institute, 1st November, 1893.]

Plates XXXIX., XL.

In the “Flora Novæ-Zelandiæ,” vol. ii., p. 217, Lessonia fuscescens (Bory, Voy. Coq., p. 75) is put down as indigenous to New Zealand; and on the authority of Lyall its habitat is given as Lyall's Bay, Cook Strait. In the Handbook, vol. ii., p. 656, it is stated also to occur on the east coast—i.e., of the North Island—Colenso being the authority. Unfortunately I have not access to the original description of the plant in the Voyage of the “Coquille,” and no synopsis of the species is given in the “Flora Novæ-Zelandiæ” or in the “Flora Antarctica.” In the latter work, however, it is figured, vol. ii., 167, 168, and 171d; and in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora” there is a short account of the species. It is more fully described in Agardh's “Species Algarum,” vol. i., p. 151.

The specific description in the Handbook, which agrees well with the figures in the “Flora Antarctica,” is as follows:—“L. fuscescens: Gregarious, forming submarine miniature forests, trunks sometimes 10ft. long, cylindric, as thick as the thigh, bearing towards the top short branches with

– 305 –

pendulous foliage. Leaves 2ft. to 3ft. long, 1in. to 2in. broad, linear-lanceolate, toothed, older sinuate.”

Now, the only well-defined habitat given for this plant in New Zealand is Cook Strait; and a search along the northern shores of the Strait, in the neighbourhood of Wellington, reveals a Lessonia certainly, but one quite different in form from this. It has no massive trunk, but in the older plants from twenty to thirty stems about the thickness of a man's thumb spring from the rhizoid, and the fronds when in the water are not pendulous, but approximately vertical. Moreover, it occurs immediately below low-water mark, and not, as described in the “Flora Antarctica,” vol. ii., p. 457, “always far below low-water mark.” The leaves, in general shape and external characters, correspond well with those of the South American forms of L. fuscescens, as described in the “Flora Antarctica” (loc. cit.); but the other characters are certainly sufficient to differentiate it, though in all probability Hooker and Harvey have confused it with L. fuscescens. As our New Zealand form is bulky, it is likely that Harvey did not see a complete specimen, but identified the species from the leaves and a few pieces of the stem alone.

J. G. Agardh, on the other hand, in his list of New Zealand seaweeds (“De Algis Novæ-Zealandiæ Marinis,” p. 6), includes only one species of Lessonia—viz., L. variegata, J. Ag., Mscr.—and gives, on the authority of Berggren, Lyall's Bay and Hokianga as its habitats. He adds, as synonyms, Lessonia nigrescens (partim), Bory, and Lessonia fuscescens, Fl. Nov. Zel., p. 217. To the latter synonym he attaches a (?). Unfortunately, however, he gives no synopsis of his new species, but simply shows that it is to be readily distinguished from others of the genus by the structure of the fronds. He states that he has only seen a few specimens, and it is probably on this account that he refrains from giving a specific description. What he says, however, is sufficient to identify his Lessonia variegata with the plant so common on the Strait in the neighbourhood of Wellington, and to which Hooker erroneously refers as L. fuscescens. Our plant must therefore be regarded as undescribed—at least, as far as New Zealand is concerned. Agardh states (loc. cit.) that it is also found on the Chilian coast, but how far it has been confounded with, or is distinct from, the several species of the genus found there, I must leave for others to decide. As we have already seen, it is not L. fuscescens, and apparently it can only be partially included, if at all, under any of the remaining species. I therefore propose to give a description of it here that will suffice for systematical purposes, and to refer to one or two points in its structure which will show that it is worthy of a further histological examination.

– 306 –

Lessonia variegata, J. Ag., Mscr.

Hab. Plentiful in rock-pools 6ft. to 10ft. or more in depth in the neighbourhood of Wellington (Cook Strait); Hokianga: Berggren. Mr. H. B. Kirk informs me that the plant is also to be seen among the drift-weed on the beaches at Stewart Island.

General Appearance.—A bushy plant, 3ft. to 5ft. high, bearing at the top of its numerous stems a subglobose mass of fronds a foot or two in diameter. It grows below low-water mark, so that the tops of the leaves just reach the surface at low tide. Small specimens may occasionally be obtained which are completely uncovered at ebb.

The Rhizoid.—In the young plant the root consists of a number of short, dichotomous branches, the tips of which are closely appressed to the rock-surface (Pl. XXXIX., fig. 1, a). When the plant is torn off it generally brings with it a more or less complete disc of rock-chips, corallines, and other incrustations attached to the root-tips. In the mature plants, owing to the coalescence of adjacent roots, the expansion of the lower branches, and the growth of numerous adventitious rootlets from the lower ends of the stem, the main rhizoid tends to form a ribbed columnar mass (Pl. XL., fig. 1, a). This forms a favourite resort for numerous epiphytic and parasitic growths of sponges, zoophytes, sertularians, corallines, florideæ, &c.

The Branch System.—Immediately above the root, even in young plants, a number of branches are given off, which are more or less compressed or oval in transverse section, and from 1in. to 1 ½in. in width in the direction of the longer diameter. Each branch divides three or four times dichotom-ously at an acute angle, broadening out a little below each fork, and finally each branchlet terminates in a frond. The pseudo-petioles are twisted several times below each frond, and the twisting is continued for some distance towards the base. The total length of the branching system is from 2ft. to 3ft. New branches are formed thus: A small fissure appears just where the frond joins the top of the stipe. This gradually extends through the lamina until bisection is completed. Occasionally a secondary fission commences before the primary one is completed (Pl. XL., fig. 2).

The Fronds.—These are from 1ft. to 2ft. in length, and 1in. or 2in. in breadth, linear or linear-oblong, sometimes falcate owing to unilateral growth, and with a few teeth scattered along the margin. In the young plant they are generally much longer than in the mature plant, with acuminate apices, as may be seen by a reference to the plates. The probable explanation of this will be given presently. They are olive-

– 307 –

yellow in colour, closely covered with linear markings from ⅛in. to ¼in. in length of a darker colour. Hence the specific name.*

Fructification.—The sori are of the usual type, and of irregular size and shape, generally several inches in length, and situated in varying positions on the fronds, more often, perhaps, immediately above the middle than elsewhere. I have, however, found them within an inch of the base. According to Harvey, in the “Flora Antarctica,” the sori in L. fuscescens are situated beyond the middle of the leaf; and Agardh (“Species, Genera, et Ordines Algarum,” vol. i., p. 150) makes their situation at the middle of the frond a generic character. Harvey also states that the cuticle covers the sori. This is certainly not the case in L. variegata, in which the sori are on the surface of the frond; and, as Agardh points out in the case of the other species, it is probably also a mistake due to the coherence of the parts in dried specimens.

Growth.—In the youngest specimens seen the plant consists of a single stem surmounted by a leaf, and at this stage is scarcely distinguishable from young plants of Macrocystis. In the latter, however, the first fission of the frond is scarcely median, and this character at present serves to distinguish it from Lessonia, in which the division passes through the centre of the lamina, and in which all leaves subsequently formed apparently result schizogenetically from the first leaf, so that if the growth were regular the plant ought to consist of a single stem presenting a perfectly dichotomous symmetry in one plane; but, owing to the twisting of the stem already referred to, the branches are thrown out of the original plane; and, owing to the thickening and coalescence of their lower portions, there appears to be a number of stems in place of one arising from the root. This, at any rate, seems to me the most feasible explanation of the large number of stems apparently growing from the rhizoid in the mature plant. As there is no proliferous growth or adventitious branching, it cannot be accounted for by these means; and the only other possible explanation that occurs to me is that the mature plant represents a cluster of plants growing together. Against this idea is the fact that young plants are not seen growing from the rhizoid, and that all the stems are apparently of similar age. In favour of the explanation first given is the great lateral thickening by secondary growth that is clearly shown at the base of the stems, and the fact that sometimes two masses of central tissue are found in one stem, and this

[Footnote] * If the fronds are steeped in fresh water for an hour or two they blister badly, probably owing to osmosis.

– 308 –

near the base of the plant and not immediately below a fork. (Pl. XXXIX., fig. 2, a.)

The growth in length, as in other Laminarians, takes place at the junction of the stipe and the frond, and consequently, the tip of the frond being once worn off by the action of the waves, or eaten by molluscs, it cannot be replaced, and, as all fronds subsequently formed have no apices, a complete leaf is rarely to be found except in young specimens, in which, as has already been stated, they are much longer than in the mature forms. Harvey (loc. cit.) explains the absence of the tip in L. fuscescens thus: “In the present species the sori are situated beyond the middle of the leaf; they are oblong and nearly as broad as the lamina, of which they carry away the upper part when decaying, causing the apices to be two-horned. In none of the specimens is the point perfect, all the spores we have seen being situated on the sorus, which has itself fallen away from the edge of the frond.” I have not noticed that the sorus in L. variegata falls away in the manner described. It is certainly frequently attacked by a green filamentous alga which grows on its upper surface, on the tops of the paraphyses, and causes decay; but this green alga, though chiefly found forming a velvety nap on the sorus, grows elsewhere on the surface of the frond.

Notes on the Histology.

The Frond.—A transverse section through the frond shows it to consist of an epidermal and several cortical layers gradually merging into a parenchymatous tissue. In the centre is the hyphal layer, in which, however, the hyphæ preserve a general longitudinal direction. Like the stem, it contains “trumpet hyphæ.” Immediately under the epidermis are a number of large lacunæ (Plate XL., fig. 3, a). It is on these that Agardh apparently chiefly relies to distinguish this species from others. Under a Browning's platyscopic lens I have counted as many as twenty-five of these in a transverse section of a single frond. They open into ostioles on the surface. The structure of the frond is the same on both sides. I have not seen any “air-cells,” as figured by Hooker and Harvey in the centre of the frond.—(“Flora Antarctica,” vol. ii., pl. 167c.)

The Stem.—Harvey, in speaking of L. fuscescens, says (“Flora Ant.,” vol. ii., p. 458), “The trunks, which contract to a quarter of their original dimensions when dry, and become deeply furrowed, are perfectly smooth and cartilaginous when fresh. On being cut across, the curious appearance of concentric elliptical rings, in many respects very similar to, though very different from, those of an exogenous trunk, is very evident.” Harvey again refers to this appearance in

– 309 –

speaking of L. nigrescens, in which, no doubt, is partly included L. variegata. However, such a series of rings can only with difficulty be made out in our New Zealand specimens. On a stem of one of these being cut across there is to be seen—(1) The thin brown epidermal and cortical layer; (2) a lighter tissue (almost white in spent specimens), which constitutes the great bulk of the stem; (3) a darker tissue, oval in transverse section, and scarcely to be distinguished by the naked eye from (4), a linear more or less central layer, containing brown colouring-matter. It is in No. 2, particularly in dried specimens, that faint concentric rings are to be seen; but I have not been able by microscopical examination to ascertain that they are rings of growth, as Hooker thought they were, or even to differentiate them at all under the microscope. In a hard-dried specimen they remind one of the appearance of the grain in ivory.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Under the microscope the different tissues present the following characteristics: No. 1 is an epidermal and cortical layer of the usual type; under this is No. 2, consisting on the outside of a meristem divided by periclinal walls. By means of this the stem increases in thickness. Owing to unequi-lateral growth of this layer, tissues (3) and (4) are rarely central. Pitting is common in this part of the stem. The meristem passes into a parenchyma, which constitutes the greater bulk of the stem. Tissue (3) consists of cells which are oblong in transverse section, but in longitudinal section are seen to be many times longer than broad. They anastomose occasionally. This tissue is penetrated by a number of ducts—(?) mucilage-canals—about 1/100in. in diameter, and perhaps similar to those found in Macrocystis. The innermost tissue is hyphal in character, and, like the hyphæ of fungi, it does not stain with iodine and sulphuric acid. (I am not aware if this is a common characteristic amongst seaweeds). It contains “trumpet-hyphæ,” which give the usual reactions for callus with chlor-zinc-iodine, Russow's callus reagent, and corallin-soda. The last-mentioned stain, though very distinctive, is, however, transient. With eosin the callus stains rather more deeply than the rest of the tissue, but the result is not very satisfactory. As will be seen, this is only the fourth seaweed in which callus has been found. Oliver says* that “in the Nereocystis, as in Macrocystis, callus is formed in the true sieve-tubes, as well as in the ‘trumpet-hyphæ.’ In the ‘trumpet-hyphæ’ of other Laminariæ I have so far (with one exception) been unable to discover any callus.” The explanation of the figures illustrating Oliver's

[Footnote] * “On the Obliteration of Sieve-tubes in Laminariæ.”—“Annals of Botany,” vol., i., p. 95.

– 310 –

paper shows that the exception referred to is an unnamed species of Laminaria from Vancouver Island. As Oliver mentions that he has found “trumpet-hyphæ” in Lessonia (loc. cit.), but does not state in what species, it seems probable that in the species he examined callus is wanting, as he is not likely to have overlooked it. He also refers to Grabendörfer as having figured “trumpet-hyphæ” for L. ovata in a paper in the Bot. Ztg., 1885, entitled “Beitrage zur Kentniss d. Tange.” I regret that I have not access to this magazine, as it would have been interesting to compare the structure of the stem in the two species ovata and variegata; and Grabendörfer's paper, no doubt, would have assisted me much in the preparation of this.

Explanation of Plates XXXIX., XL.
Plate XXXIX.

Fig. 1. Young specimen of Lessonia variegata, showing the immature forms of the rhizoid and fronds. (About one-sixth natural size.)

Fig. 2. Group of stems, showing transverse sections. In two of them the central tissue is divided, probably showing coalescence of two separate stems.

Plate XL.

Fig. 1. Fragment of mature specimen of Lessonia variegata. (About one-seventh natural size.)

Fig. 2. A perfect frond, showing acuminate apex, and the method of branch-formation by fission. A secondary fission is commencing before the first one is completed. (About one-quarter natural size.)

Fig. 3. Transverse section from the epidermis to the centre of a frond, showing intercellular spaces. (x 200 diam.)

Art. XXXII.—On the Occurrence of Xanthium strumarium,
Linn., in New Zealand.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 26th July, 1893.]

I have on previous occasions drawn the attention of members of this Society, and also of the Field Naturalists' Club, to some very undesirable importations—notably, centipedes and millipedes arriving in bananas, the English mole-cricket, and others.

The most recent of these arrivals is a plant which, if acclimatised, will probably prove harmful to both the cattle- and sheep-farmer.

Picture icon

Lessonia rariegata

Picture icon

Lessonia rariegata

– 311 –

Some time ago the “Silverstream,” from Buenos Ayres, discharged a quantity of earth-ballast, which was placed inside the railway-fence on the Bunny Street frontage. A few months later this heap was observed to be covered with a luxuriant growth of weeds, and from it I collected no less than seventeen species—many of them, unfortunately, already too well known in the colony; but two or three have, apparently, not been previously recorded here. Amongst these last was the subject of the present note—viz., Xanthium strumarium, known in England as the small burdock, or burr-weed; in America as the clot, or cockle burr; and in Australia as the Noogoora burr, from the locality where it was first observed to be injurious.

The plant belongs to the order Compositæ, but the young botanical student would probably at first, on account of the separation of the male and female flowers, have some difficulty in understanding why it should be so classed; a further and careful examination will, however, convince him of its true relationship.

Xanthium, Linn. (From [ unclear: ] αv [ unclear: ] ó [ unclear: ] , yellow; the plants being formerly used by the Greeks to dye their hair.)

Capitula unisexual, monœcious; staminate globose, in terminal clusters; pistillate 2-flowered, chiefly axillary. Male capitula with few narrow involucral bracts; florets numerous, sheathed by folded hyaline paleæ; corolla 5-toothed; anthers free or nearly so, base obtuse. Female capitula with an ellipsoidal or ovoid closed gamophyllous aculeate involucre, 2-lobel-late and 2-rostrate; corolla none; achenes solitary in each cell of the indurated prickly enclosing involucre. Coarse, scabrid, hoary, or glabrate annuals, with alternate petiolate palmately-lobed leaves.

X. strumarium, Linn.—Stem, branches, and leaves puberu-lous without spines, mottled, spreading, attaining a height of 6ft. or 8ft. Leaves deltoid, 3- to 5-lobed, unequally, often coarsely dentate, often over 6in. broad; base 3-nerved, cordate, sinus wide, cuneate into the petiole of 1in. to 6in. Capitula nearly sessile, clustered; fruit ellipsoidal, about ¾in. long, terminating in an erect or somewhat curved beak. (Bailey.)

The female flower-heads are in small axillary clusters of two or three, the male flower-heads being placed above them, at the top of the branchlets. After the pollen has been dispersed, the male flowers soon drop off, and the female flower-heads rapidly develope into oblong burrs, very hard, and thickly studded with hooked spines. On the top of the burr are to be seen two very stout beaks, and within will be found two cells, each with a single seed.

This plant is a rank annual weed, and in Australia grows to a height of 6ft., 8ft., or in some cases 10ft., with wide-

– 312 –

spreading branches. The stems of young plants are mottled with purple.

In the earlier stages of development it is readily eaten by cattle. Mr. Gordon, the Chief Inspector of Stock for Queensland, states that its action is to induce paralysis of the heart, causing death without struggle, and apparently without pain. At Mr. Gordon's suggestion, Dr. Bancroft, of Brisbane, undertook experiments which conclusively proved the poisonous nature of the weed. It was introduced into Queensland with cotton from the Southern States of America.

Each plant produces numerous burrs, which, in sheep country, would, from their nature, cause enormous loss to the wool-grower, by injuring the fibre of his chief product.

The fact of so many injurious plants being found in the ballast of a single ship naturally raises the question, What is the best means of dealing with such rubbish?

I am informed that one Harbour Board has decided all ballast except rock shall be taken out to sea by lighters and thrown overboard.

It has been urged in support of this plan that the salt water will rob the seeds of their vitality; but we know that many seeds, especially those with hard covering, retain their vitality after having been carried enormous distances by ocean-currents, so that throwing ballast into the sea, a few miles at most from land, is only providing for the wholesale distribution of noxious weeds all along the coast.

Failing means of calcining, or chemically treating all ballast so as to destroy the plant life therein contained, I would suggest that each Harbour Board set aside a section of ground, securely fenced, that all ballast be deposited there, and its removal from the dépôt allowed only for ballasting vessels, or for reclamation behind well-built retaining-walls, the reason for this last being that, if used for reclamation under any other conditions, the tide would distribute seeds and other light substances far and wide.

With regard to the ballast dépôt, it will be evident that a very small amount of attention would prevent the weeds growing in such an enclosure from bearing seed, and thus a very considerable source of danger be removed.

It may perhaps be some consolation to state that I find our New Zealand slugs are extremely fond of X. strumarium; so much so, in fact, that, though I carefully transplanted at different times no less than nine plants from the ballast-heap to my garden, made a special enclosure, and took every care to protect the young plants and to guard against the spread of the burrs when they should be formed, I was yet unable to rear a single specimen; the slugs had evidently no sympathy with scientific experiments, or with my desire to grow plants

– 313 –

in order to show settlers what they had to guard against; every plant was ruthlessly eaten off level with the ground. Possibly the slug will yet be proved to be the natural enemy of the Noogoora burr.

Art. XXXIII.—Phænogams: A Description of a few Newly-discovered Indigenous Plants; being a Further Contribution towards the making known the Botany of New Zealand.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 9th October, 1893.]

Class I. Dicotyledons.

Order I. Ranunoulaceæ.
Genus 3.* Ranunculus, Linn.

1. R. sychnopetala, mihi.

Having this year received perfect specimens of the flowers of this fine plant, I can now supply what was wanting in the former description of it. Achenes numerous, roughish, sub 50, styles much produced 1 line long erect and slightly recurved, greenish-yellow; tips minutely penicillate; receptacle elongated, ovoid. The anthers are also placed in 4 rows, the outer 2 rows patent, the inner 2 rows shorter, erect. While, however, the flowers were perfect, and in good condition for examination, they were not advanced enough to enable me to say much of their achenes, the same being unripe.

Hab. (with former-described). Norsewood; Mr. A. Olsen: 1893.

Order XXII. Leguminosæ.
Genus 1. Carmichælia, Br.

1. C. micrantha, sp. nov.

“A much-branched erect shrub, about 8ft.-9ft. high”; branches terete, tawny-yellow-green, glabrous; my specimen, the top of a large branch about 1ft. long, 2 ½ lines diameter at base where cut off, the bark curiously (almost symmetrically) closely split-fissured longitudinally; fissures lanceolate sub 1 line long ultimately coalescing, with purple-coloured edges,

[Footnote] * The numbers of the orders and genera given here are those of them in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.”

[Footnote] † Vide Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv., p. 324.

– 314 –

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

minutely transversely and regularly nicked; branchlets numerous alternate dichotomous, straight, striate, 8in.-9in. long, slender, terete, the larger ones about 1 line diameter, the youngest wiry, filiform, and pubescent; hairs scattered, weak, white, with many stem-clasping broad obtuse bracts near each other at their tips. Leaves O. Flowers very numerous, usually in small depressed corymbs of 5, sometimes 2, and sometimes only 1 flower, on the smaller branchlets. Peduncle and pedicels nearly equal in length, short sub 1 line long, pilose, with many fawn-coloured scarious bracteoles, their edges jagged. Calyx dry, semi-scarious, loose, large for flower, half as long as corolla, slightly pilose; margins sinuate and minutely-toothed, finely ciliolate. Corolla less than 1/10in. long, standard purple with dark veins. Pod (immature) glabrous, small, about 1 line long, narrow-linear-ovoid, acuminate; beak much longer than pod, curved; stigma capitate, roughly penicillate.

Hab. Edges of forest, head of Rangitikei River, County of East Taupo; Mr. Patrick Stirling McLean: 1893.

Obs. After close examination I have decided to bring this plant forward as a species nova of this curious genus; at the same time I am not wholly satisfied concerning it, through not having seen its ripe fruit. Its whole aspect, however, is peculiar, and apparently differing from its congeners,—in its numerous terete long and filiform yellow-green branchlets with their curiously-fissured bark, and the different disposition of its flowers, with their numerous-coloured bracteoles; unfortunately, its fruit was immature. The one large specimen I received is evidently the upper portion of a large branch, and is about 12in. long.

Order XXVI. Droseraceæ.
Genus 1. Drosera, Linn.

1. D. circinervia, sp. nov.

Root simple, slender, straight, 1 ½in. long, broken(?). Leafy stem slender, erect, simple, 8in. high, glabrous. Leaves largely glandular-hairy on upper surface and at margins, their glandular apices small, elliptic, red. Lower leaves at summit of the stock 8, subrosulate spreading, suborbicular not peltate, 1 ½ lines diameter, decurrent; petioles 6–7 lines long, stoutish; stem-leaves 11, peltate, nearly equidistant throughout stem sub ¾in. apart, lunate, truncate on the straight side, and there 3 lines broad, the 2 angles largely produced and bearing at their tips 4–5 very long flexuous cilia: the curvilinear margin much narrowly laciniate-fringed; the two principal nerves biorbicular from the insertion of the petiole; petioles filiform sub 1in. long. Flowers (immature) small(?) at top of stem, in

– 315 –

a small branched sub-corymb; pedicels about 1 line long. Sepals glabrous, smooth, black.

Hab. Open lands; Taupo: 1885.

Obs. I. This plant is nearly allied to D. auriculata, Backh. and also to D. peltata, Sm., differing, however, from the former in its lower leaves being not peltate with long petioles, and from the latter in its lower leaves being decurrent on longer and narrower petioles, and from both in the largely laciniate margins of its leaves, their greatly extended angles, and their peculiar orbicular venation. Its flowers are also differently disposed, not being racemose and with smooth sepals.

II. I received this plant several years ago, with others, from Taupo; and from its being immature I refrained from describing it, as I had been led to expect more complete specimens. It stains the drying-papers red, like others of its genus; and I believe, from its long slender simple and broken tap-root, that, like some of them, it also arises from a bulb. Having but a single specimen, which, though not fully developed, is entire, allowance must be made for not giving any description of its floral parts.

Order XXIX. Onagrarieæ.
Genus 2. Epilobium, Linn.

1. E. nanum, sp. nov.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plant very small, glabrous, erect, 2 ½in. high; stem simple red slender, minutely bifariously puberulent on the basal portion; leaves few, opposite, distant 2 ½ lines apart on stem, linear-lanceolate, sub 2 lines long, subacute, with 1 (rarely 2) very small blunt teeth at lateral margins, thickish, green, subpruinose, tapering, the basal half of midrib below red prominent; petiole very short, stout. Flower solitary, axillary near top less than 1 line long; corolla perfect but unexpanded, white; calyx shorter than corolla, grey, lobes sub-acute with red margins, and a red central line; capsule 2/10in. long, slender, glabrous, green, scarcely tetragonal; peduncle 6/10in. long, thickly puberulent with short white curved hairs.

Hab. Among other low herbage (as Nertera, Utricularia, Hydrocotyle, &c.); marshy spots, high land base of Mount Tongariro, Taupo district; January, 1893: Mr. H. Hill. (Received in living tufts, as dug up.)

Obs. Of this little plant I have only obtained two specimens, both alike in size, &c., but one only bearing a flower. The regular shape of their small narrow leaves, and their strictly-erect growth, the simple stem without any basal branches, or root-stock buds, serve to mark it as being distinct from the other small indigenous species of this genus, which

– 316 –

are creeping plants with round leaves. The puberulous lines on their lower stems are excessively minute, and can only be detected with a strong lens. The curved close hairs on the peduncle are a curious and pleasing object. More specimens are a desideratum.

Order XXXIX. Compositæ.
Genus 17. Senecio, Linn.

1.S. dimorphocarpos, sp. nov.

Plant perennial, herbaceous, glabrous (primâ facie), but with a few slightly-scattered weak woolly hairs. Main stems stout, erect, 2ft.-3ft. high, 3–4 lines diameter, striate, purple. Leaves basal (root-stock), subrosulate, spreading, obovate-spathulate, 5 ½in. long (including petiole), 1 ¼in. broad, deeply pinnatifid, lobes cut bluntly laciniate and crisped adnate (sursum currens), the lowermost very small, almost pinnate; petiole 1 ½in.-2in. long, narrowed, deeply sulcate, succulent; cauline, on main stems, numerous, alternate 6–12 lines distant, thin, obovate, much tapering, tip broad, 12in. long, 3in.-4in. wide near top, sub-lyrate-pinnate; segments large and close above on rhachis, small and very distant below, irregularly and deeply laciniate-lobed (subpinnatifid), lobes distantly and bluntly toothed, decreasing rapidly in size downwards and very small near base, dark-green above paler beneath, slightly hairy; hairs short, weak, and scattered, woolly on veins; veins few filiform and prominent; the young immature leaves densely woolly; scurfy on undersurface; midrib (or rhachis) narrow; petiole (or lowest rhachis) 1in.-2in. long, slender, slightly expanding and subamplexicaul at base; leaves on branches, distant, oblong, elliptic, much more narrowly cut, laciniate, flaccid, spreading, 3in.-5in. long, 2in.-2 ½in. broad, decreasing in size upwards and extending to bases of panicle branches. Flower-heads rather large, 10–11 lines diameter, numerous in a loose terminal irregular many-branched subcorymbose panicle 4in. wide; branchlets long, dichotomous, and very slender; peduncles about 1in. long, slender, striate, single and two together, finely and slightly downy, each having 4–6 scattered long linear bracteoles. Involucre cup-shaped or suburceolate, glossy within, the bracts 13 cut to base, 1 ½ lines long and ½ line wide, imbricate, suboblong-ovate, acuminate, green with wide membranous white margins, prominently 2-nerved; nerves dark-green; tips acute, dark-brown-purple, very hairy and ciliolate with a few (5–8) scattered linear (almost filiform) bracteoles at base, their tips very acute and coloured like those of involucre. Ray-florets generally 13, ligula (without the tube) 3 ½ lines long, linear-lanceolate obtuse with a single notch at tip,

– 317 –

bright-yellow, spreading (but revolute in age), 4-veined; the tube exceedingly slender, roughish subscaberulous. Disk florets numerous, darker yellow, scarcely exceeding the involucre, the tube infundibuliform subangular, 5-nerved; nerves dark-coloured; style long, hairy, lobes large, stout, much arched, tips truncate and finely penicillate; anthers tailed, obtuse, slightly and sparingly roughish subtuberculate, enlarged (tumid) at base. Achenes pale linear subterete—of ray glabrous, truncate at both ends, slightly curved and more cylindrical than those of disk; of disk, hairy, striate, slightly tapering, thickest at top. Pappus white—of disk numerous, straight, barbed, acute, shorter than floret; of ray few (4–6) smaller flexuous and weaker. Receptacle subhemispherical, alveolate, the ridges minutely toothed.

Hab. In gullies, Kaweka Mountain - range, County of Hawke's Bay; 1892: Mr. F. W. C. Sturm.

Obs. I. A fine-looking plant, having affinity with S. latifolius, Hook. fil., though differing in several important characters; and in its two forms of achenes, &c., with S. jacobæa, Linn., a British and European species, which evidently belongs to the same natural section.

II. I have received some large and good specimens of this plant from its kind discoverer, but not a complete plant, so I do not know its root-stock, neither if it is much branched at the root; I have, however, a fine young plant in my garden.

2. S. areolatus, sp. nov.

Plant herbaceous, erect 15in-18in. high(?), glandular, hairy, with more or less of white scurf. Main stems 12in.-14in. long, slender, striate, having 4–5 distant branches at top, each with a long leaf at base. Leaves (cauline) few, distant about 2in. apart on main stems, membranous, dark-green, 2in-3in. long, subobovate in outline, irregularly and deeply pinnatifid, narrowed into a petiole, sessile and stem-clasping, base much dilated and lobed, auricles toothed, lobes few long narrow acuminate, margins thickened and distantly toothed; teeth indurated, black; veinlets numerous, closely and compoundly anastomosing. Flower-heads rather small, in a loose, spreading, subcorymbose panicle; subpanicles 3in.-4in. long, very slender, dichotomous, with a single long leaf at bases; peduncles about 2in. long, filiform, each bearing 6–10 heads on capillary pedicels 3–4 lines long. Involucre cylindrical 4-lines long, a little shorter than florets and pappus, green, scabrid, about 15 linear acuminate bracts, tips acute, irregular in width, with white membranous margins, 1–2 nerved; nerves pale, prominent, with a few long, narrow, scattered bracteoles below. Florets very slender, tubes capillary—of ray, few, sub 12, ligula yellow, very small, much

– 318 –

revolute, 4-nerved; of disk, numerous, about 60, bell-mouthed, 5-cleft, segments erect, subacute. Receptacle pitted, alveolar ridges somewhat regularly and acutely toothed. Pappus numerous, white, soft, slightly scabrid. Achene narrowly oblong, striate, contracted under pappus, edges strigillose-pubescent; tip obtuse, with a central capillary point. Arms of style long and much arched, tips terete, thickened.

Hab. High hills, eastern slopes of Ruahine Mountain-range, west of Woodville, County of Waipawa; 1893: Mr. H. Hill.

Obs. I have received only flowering-stems (three) of this plant, roughly and hastily gathered; their cauline leaves, being tender, bruised and much broken, so that allowance must be made for their description: their thickly anastomosing veins, together with the peculiar strigillose pubescence of the achenia and the general glandular pubescence of the plant, afford good characters. It has much the appearance of an Erechtites, and at first sight I had supposed it to belong to that small genus.

Order XL. Stylidieæ.
Genus 2. Helophyllum, Hook. f.

1. H. muscoides, sp. nov.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plant low cæspitose compact, spreading, forming pretty large mat-like patches. Branches 1 ½in. long, each bearing 2-3-4 small branchlets about ½in. long at top, their tops being nearly equal. Leaves closely imbricated all round stems, glabrous, linear, semi-terete, thick, 1 ½ lines long, 1/25in. broad, wider and flatter at base, which is also white and glossy; apex obtuse, slightly spathulate and knobbed, brownish-yellow and orange, the young leaves bright-green. Flower solitary on tip of branchlet, white, star-like; calyx 6 linear lobes, obtuse, length of tube, glabrous; corolla 6-parted, segments oblong, obtuse, distant, each 1 line long, equal, spreading flat on leaves; style erect, much exserted, white; stigma penicillate, with 2 small pale-coloured anthers underneath, adpressed.

Hab. Tongariro Mountain, Taupo; 1893: Mr. H. Hill.

Obs. A species near to H. colensoi, Hook. f., but with very much smaller and differently-shaped leaves. All the flowers I have seen (nearly a dozen) were 6-lobed and regular.

Order LV. Lentibularieæ.
Genus 1. Utricularia, Linn.

1. U. vulcanica, sp. nov.

Scape simple, erect, filiform, 1 ½in.-2in. high; 1-flowered (one specimen 2-flowered), purplish-brown, glabrous, 4 simple bracteoles sublinear obtuse, narrowest at tips adpressed in a

– 319 –

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

semi-whorl 1 line below flower; capillary rootlets very fine. Leaves 2 (or 3) at base, narrow linear-spathulate, obtuse, ½in.-1in. long, 1/25in. (or less) wide, 1-nerved, weak, spreading; petiole long and very narrow. Calyx sepals unequal, cut to base, suborbicular concave, purplish-green, shining, veined; veins simple; margins undulate, whitish; the tip of the smaller segment emarginate. Corolla yellowish(?) with purple veins 3 lines diameter, upper lip subovate obtuse; the lower lip sub-3-lobed spreading; spur ascending transversely obtuse; anthers large, suborbicular, purple; style short, stout; stigma linear, brown. Capsule globose, 1/10in. diameter, very membranous, shining. Seed small, pale, oblong, shining, tips rounded, base narrower truncate, sides straight.

Obs. This little plant is allied to U. subsimilis, mihi* (also detected in similar situations in the interior Taupo country at a lower altitude), but differing in size, in form and colour of corolla, &c.; better specimens are, however, much wanted. I received from Mr. Hill a large number of specimens, but they were all more or less damaged through having been closely packed, as they were collected in little wet turfy tufts with other small plants. One character, however, was common to them all—that of size and height.

Class II. Monocotyledons.

Order I. Orchideæ.
Genus 3. Bolbophyllum, Thouars.

1. B. ichthyostomum, sp. nov.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Plant small, epiphytal, prostrate, creeping, densely matted. Stems slender, 3in.-5in. long, tortuous, dry, whitish, longitudinally striate, emitting many thickish terete succulent white rootlets, their tips obtuse. Pseudo-bulbs on upper side of stems ⅓in.-½in. apart, sessile, ovoid, 1/6in. long and sub-globular, 1/10in. diameter, wrinkled, glabrous, shining, pale-green. Leaves, 1 to each bulb at top, with a narrow circular sheath at base, oblong and oblong-ovate (sometimes oblong-lanceolate), tip obtuse, sometimes slightly retuse, 1 ½-2 lines long, deeply sulcate, thickish, slightly recurved, minutely and regularly rough-dotted-hairy above, and with minute micro-scopical circular dots below, obsoletely parallel-nerved, 3 nerves on each side of midrib visible between the eye and light; margins closely ciliolate with coarse, stiff, patent, obtuse hairs, petiolate; petioles short, 1/20in. long, stout, glabrous. Flowers very small, few, solitary, scattered, white; peduncle arising from under bulb, stout, erect, 2 lines long, with a simple sheathing scarious bract near the top; perianth (post

[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvi., p. 334.

– 320 –

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

anthesin) adhering to tip of upper valve of ovary (marces-cent), expanded about 1 line diameter; sepals and petals ovate-deltoid obtuse, silvery-shining, very membranous; ovary large, subobovoid, gibbous, 2 lines long, yellow, thickly glandular-echinate (as, also, top of peduncle above bract), bivalved; valves gaping, but not to base largely concave, dis similar, broad, 1/10in. diameter, obtuse; margins undulate uneven, thickened; the upper and larger valve with 2 lateral nerves; the lower 1 central one. Seeds very minute, sub-fusiform, thin, white, scarious.

Hab. On trunks of trees, forest near Kumeroa, River Manawatu, County of Waipawa; May, 1893: Mr. H. Hill.

Obs. I. This interesting little plant is allied to B. pygmæum, Lind., which prima facie it closely resembles, differing largely, however, on close examination, particularly in its glandular-echinate ovary and leaf. It is also a still smaller species. The ripe capsule gaping so curiously at its sutures, somewhat resembling the open mouth of a fish, is the cause of its specific name.

II. Although I received a large patch, or mat, of the plant (about 4in.-5in. each way), I only detected 6–7 pale-yellow capsules, all alike in size and form, and broadly gaping, and each bearing its minute withered flower, the plant being long past flowering, so that all allowance must be made for the imperfect description of the perianth. The microscopic seeds were also plentifully shed, scattered like dust over the neighbouring plants. Perfect flowers are much desired.

Art. XXXIV.—A List of Fungi recently collected in the Bush District, County of Waipawa; being a Further Contribution to the Indigenous Flora of New Zealand.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 9th October, 1893.]

Again, in January last, I despatched to the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, another lot of Fungi that I had gathered at various times during the preceding winter and spring in the forest country near to Dannevirke. This parcel contained 175 separate packets. I have lately received from Kew the list of the same examined and named, from which it appears that several of them were fresh duplicates of specimens formerly sent; others were in triplicate (some of them being perennial, and, being also in different stages of growth, presented various forms and appearances);

– 321 –

while not a few, obtained in winter, were merely in a state of mycelium, and others imperfect or sterile, of which better specimens are wanted. Those that have been determined and are new to our New Zealand flora are here given (some of them I know belong to the Australian and Tasmanian floras), and only one specimen out of the whole lot is a true species nova.

§ I. Foreign Fungi Already Described, But Not Before Found in New Zealand.

Of Genera known to inhabit New Zealand.
Genus 1.* Agaricus, Linn.

  • 1. A. (Clitocybe) velutipes, Fr.

  • 2. A. (Mycena) filipes, Fr.

  • 3. A. (Pleurotus) mitis, Fr.

  • 4. A. (Pleurotus) porrigens, Fr.

  • 5. A. (Pleurotus) depluens, Fr.

  • 6. A. (Pholiota) squarrosus, Müll.

  • 7. A. (Flammula) inopus, Fr.

  • 8. A. (Flammula) marginatus, Fr.

  • 9. A. (Naucoria) sideroides, Fr.

  • 10. A. (Tubaria) furfuraceus, Fr.

Genus 4. Marasmius, Fries.

  • 1. M. insititius, Fr.

  • Genus 10. Polyporus, Fries.

  • Fomes, Fries.

  • 1. F. microporus, Fr.

  • Polystictus, Fries.

  • 1. P. vulgaris, Fr.

Genus 12. Favolus, Fries.

  • 1. F. squamiger, B.

Genus 13. Hydnum, Linn.

  • 1. H. molluscum, Fr.

Genus 16. Stereum, Fries.

  • 1. S. spadiceum, Fr.

Genus 17. Corticium, Fries.

  • 1. C. sebaceum, Fr.

  • 2. C. violaceo-lividum, Fr.

  • 3. C. molle, Fr.

  • 4. C. ceraceum, Fr.

[Footnote] * The numbers attached to the genera are those of the same in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.”

[Footnote] † This genus is now separated into four genera—Polyporus, Fomes, Polystictus, and Poria—but in Hooker's work all are included under Polyporus.

– 322 –

Genus 19. Guepinia, Fries.

  • 1. G. flabellata, Fr.

  • Genus 30. Lycoperdon, Tournefort.

  • 1. L. colensoi, C. and M.

Genus 68. Hypocrea, Fries.

  • 1. H. carnea, B. and C.

  • 2. H. sulphurella, K. andC.

  • * Dacryomyces, Nees.

  • 1. D. stillatus, Fr.

  • Lachnea, Fries.

  • 1. L. scutellata, Fr.

  • 2. L. erinacea, Sw.

  • Lamproderma, B.

  • 1. L. echinulata, Rost.

  • Trichia, Hall.

  • 1. T. chrysosperma, Rost.

  • Of Genera new to New Zealand.

  • Badhamia, Berk.

  • 1. B. hyalina, Fr.

  • Auricularia, Bull.

  • 1. A. lobata, Fr.

  • Torula, Pers.

  • 1. T. velutina, Preuss.

§ II. Species Wholly New to Science.
1. H. atro-fuscus, Masse, n. sp.

And here I think I may again remark on the two striking facts further indicated by this list:—

1. The large number of Fungi here in New Zealand that are identical as to both genera and species with those of European and other countries; as shown also by the list originally published by Sir J. D. Hooker in his “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” as well as in my former lists of species novæ, and of known species since detected in New Zealand, given in several of the later volumes of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute.”

2. The small number of truly indigenous (endemic) species novæ.

[Footnote] * This genus, with the three following ones, are not in Hooker's “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” but are in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vols. xix., xxii., and xxiii.

[Footnote] † Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvii., p. 266; and also vol. xix., p. 311.

– 323 –

At the same time I should state that nearly all that I have been able to collect during several years were obtained from almost the same localities repeatedly gleaned, comprised within a wooded area of, say, twenty miles, between Norsewood and Tahoraiti. My own belief, founded on practical experi-ence, is that the number of Fungi will be yet greatly increased in years to come, while at the same time, I fear, many species (besides numerous others, species novæ, of the more graceful and symmetrical cryptogamic orders—Musci, Hepaticæ, and Lichenes) will become irrecoverably lost to science through the persistent clearing and destroying of the virgin forests, their peculiar habitats.

Art. XXXV.—Notes, Remarks, and Reminiscences of Two Peculiar Introduced and Naturalised South American Plants.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 10th July, 1893.]

Extremes in Nature equal good produce;

Extremes in man concur to general use.

Pope: Moral Essays.

-find A tale in everything.

Wordsworth: Simon Lee.

1. The American Aloe = Agave americana, Linn.

In passing lately through the Town of Waipawa, my attention was drawn towards an American aloe that had flowered during the past summer in a garden there; the tall withered flowering-stem was still standing erect, and the parent plant had its usual large number of young ones (suckers, offshoots) nestling around it; but these, amounting to nearly twenty, presented the uncommon and peculiar appearance of all bearing flower- ing-stems about 3ft. high, each having many flowers (several dozen) similar in size, colour, disposition, and show to those of the parent plant. As I had never before noticed this phenomenon, and had frequently seen and closely watched several specimens of these plants in flower, in my own gardens and in those of others, both at the warmer climate of the north (Bay of Islands) and here in Napier, I have deemed this event worthy of recording. And as the real value of this huge and striking plant is, very likely, but little known—especially to our rising generation—perhaps, also, to some of my audience, who may have seen it after flowering, here in Napier, chopped up and cast out and carted away, a few words concerning its uses may not be out of place.

– 324 –

Its native home (as its specific name imports) is America; there in equinoctial America the plant is very common, from the plains even to 9,000ft. altitude, where it is useful as im-penetrable hedges with its hard, big, and spiny leaves. In Mexico it has also been cultivated from time immemorial, under the names of Maguey or Metl, in order to obtain a kind of wine, called pulque by the Spaniards, made from the inner leaves just before its flowering-stem is developed. Humboldt has given a full account of its culture. The juice is said to be of a very agreeable sour taste; it easily ferments, on account of the mucilage and sugar it contains. This beverage, which somewhat resembles cider, has, however, an odour of putrid meat, extremely disagreeable. But the Europeans who have been able to get over the aversion which the fetid odour inspires prefer the pulque to every other liquor. A very intoxicating brandy is formed from the pulque, which is called mexical, or aguardiente de maguey. The Government drew from the Agave juice a nett revenue of £166,497 in three cities (Royle).*

Its fibre, and that of some allied species, especially the Pita (thread) plant, is extremely tough, and forms excellent cordage; this is separated by bruising and steeping in water and afterwards beating, and is obtained from the roots as well as the leaves. The ancient Mexicans also made their paper of Agave leaves laid in layers. Its root is diuretic and anti-

[Footnote] * “Before the Revolution, the duties on the pulque formed so important a branch of revenue that the cities of Mexico, Puebla, and Toluca alone paid $817,739 to Government.”—(Humboldt: “Essai Politique,” tom. ii., p. 47).

[Footnote] † “Their manuscripts were made of different materials—of cotton-cloth, or of skins nicely prepared; of a composition of silk and gum; but for the most part of a fine fabric from the leaves of the aloe (Agave ameri-cana), which grows luxuriantly over the tablelands of Mexico. A sort of paper was made from it resembling somewhat the Egyptian papyrus, which, when properly dressed and polished, is said to have been more soft and beautiful than parchment. Some of the specimens still existing exhibit their original freshness, and the paintings on them retain their brilliancy of colours.”—(Prescott, Hist. Conquest of Mexico, b. i., ch. 4.)

[Footnote] Again, he says: “The miracle of nature was the great Mexican aloe, or maguey. As already noticed, its bruised leaves afforded a paste from which paper was manufactured; its juice was fermented into an intoxicating beverage (pulque), of which the natives to this day are excessively fond. Its leaves further supplied an impenetrable thatch for the more humble dwellings. Thread, of which coarse stuffs were made, and strong cords, were drawn from its tough and twisted fibres. Pins and needles were made of the thorns at the extremity of its leaves; and the root, when properly cooked, was converted into a palatable and nutritious food. The Agave, in short, was meat, drink, clothing, and writing materials for the Aztec. Surely never did nature enclose in so compact a form so many of the elements of human comfort and civilisation.”—(Loc. cit., ch. 5.)

– 325 –

syphilitic, and is even brought to Europe mixed with sarsa-parilla. It is also stated by Long, in his “History of Jamaica,” that the expressed juice of the leaves evaporated is useful as a substitute for soap; and Lindley says, “Agave saponaria is powerful detergent: its roots are employed in Mexico as a substitute for soap.” It was early introduced into Jamaica, Antigua, Dominica, and Cuba, and also into the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, where it is become very common.

I have known its thick fleshy juicy leaves to be successfully used for rheumatism, particularly lumbago: their rind taken off, and the large fresh wet slab rubbed on the parts affected. It seemed to possess a similar power on the skin to that of hartshorn or turpentine liniments. In one instance the fresh leaf was used (as above) with beneficial effects in lumbago here in my own house, by my manservant.

I remember, several years ago, the flowering of a plant in the Botanic Gardens at Kew caused some excitement, from the gardeners' fable respecting it—that “it flowered only once in a hundred years;” and from it being the first that had flowered in England; and, as it was under glass, a proportionately high turret had to be built up for its tall flowering-stem, which grew rapidly, and caused the turret to be several times enlarged to keep pace with it.

The plant, however, flourished well in the open air in the West of England, where I have seen several. I remember two old and very large plants in my maternal grandfather's gardens in Penzance (A.D. 1814–1819), but they had not flowered when I last saw them, and were shortly after dug up and destroyed, the ground being required for other purposes.

It was an interesting and unique sight to observe on a calm summer's evening, in my garden in the Bay of Islands, the large moths (Protoparce distans) in great numbers flying around the flowers of the Agave americana, extracting their honey with their long probosces, as, the flowers being situated high up on their tall pole-like flowering-stem, the operations of the moths were seen to advantage against the clear sky; the plant itself also being an exotic, and its large flowers never before known to them, made it the more interesting. Moreover, what further served to increase the pleasure of observing this winged army of big moths diligently at work was their peculiar manner of carrying it on, never, like bees, and other smaller Lepidoptera, lighting on a flower, but while on the wing rapidly uncoiling their slender probosces, and thrusting them deep into the Agave flowers, their wings at the same time quickly vibrating and causing a low humming

– 326 –

noise that was not unpleasant. * I have watched them steadily for half an hour, and longer, and have never found one of them to light on the flower, or the plant itself, to rest.

2. The Prickly Pear = Opuntia ficus-indica, or Indian Fig.

This fleshy plant of the Cactus family, which produces the fruit known in the south of Europe as the Indian fig, has no connections with the fig-tree, nor has the fruit with the fig. Its origin is not Indian, but American; everything is erroneous and absurd in this common name. (Just as in the case with the former plant, Agave, which is no true aloe, neither does it belong to the same order with the aloes.) However, since Linneus took his botanical name from it = Cactus ficus-indica, afterwards connected with the genus Opuntia, it was necessary to retain the specific name to avoid changes which are a source of confusion, and to recall the popular denomination.

This plant is well known in Napier, as well as in other places in New Zealand, it having been early introduced (long before this country became a British colony). It does not, however, perfect its fruit here with us, although it does plentifully at the north (Bay of Islands, &c.), the climate there being warmer, and more suited to it. My chief reason, however, for bringing it forward in this paper is to show the extraordinary uses made of it, and of other closely-allied species in their native homes in South America; and that

[Footnote] * I had also often observed them dexterously performing the same kind of feat with the flowers of the common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum, L.), only in this latter case the tube of the honeysuckle is much more slender. At such times, too, I should be quietly seated on a low chair, with the woodbine spreading thickly around me, while of my presence the moths seemed to take no notice, in their eagerness to collect their food.

[Footnote] † I may here give a little anecdote concerning the edible use of its fruit here in New Zealand. It was in the winter season of 1842 when the Antarctic Expedition (“Erebus” and “Terror”), under Sir James Ross, was at anchor (wintering) in the Bay of Islands. One fine day Dr. (now Sir J. D.) Hooker was on shore at Paihia, the Church Mission station, where Dr. Andrew Sinclair, R.N. (afterwards Colonial Secretary), was then residing, and I joined them. We soon concluded to go across to Waitangi (where the treaty had been signed), about a mile and a half distant, in my boat. On arriving there we strolled into the garden of the owner and late occupier (Mr. Busby), and there on its raised boundary were several large plants of the prickly pear, growing profusely and bearing much ripe fruit. Dr. Sinclair, who had been in South America, was delighted at the sight (fruit being scarce at that season in the Bay), and soon commenced gathering and eating the “figs,” to our (or, at least, to my) great astonishment, as I had never seen them eaten before. I scarcely need add that we two speedily joined him.

[Footnote] ‡ Upwards of forty species have been described, though with some botanists several of them are deemed to be merely varieties.

– 327 –

too as valuable forage-plants for both sheep and large cattle. And this use (as I take it) will be the more interesting to our sheep-and cattle-breeders here in Hawke's Bay and elsewhere when it is remembered by them what a prodigious outcry was raised some twenty-five years ago when the large and common thistle (Cnicus sp.); then lately introduced, was becoming exceedingly plentiful, causing some of our early settlers to view its rapidly overrunning the country with dismay, fearing the certain starvation of their flocks and herds. Our Provincial Council (of which I was a member) was literally besieged with urgent applications to pass immediate stringent laws for the suppression of “vicious thistles”; but, fortunately for Hawke's Bay, the majority in the said Provincial Council, after much debating, determined not to do so. And afterwards, in not a few instances, in times of drought, those very doomed and maligned thistles saved their flocks. All Provincial Councils in the colony, however, did not act so prudently, and therefore much of bitterness and grief and lawsuits, and consequent “costs,” followed. In many places where the thistles once completely covered the ground there is not one now to be seen.

This plant (the Opuntia) existed both wild and cultivated in Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards (A.D. 1518). Fernandez described nine varieties of it, which shows the antiquity of its cultivation. The famous cochineal insect feeds on one of them especially, and it has been transported with the plant to the Canary Islands and elsewhere. It was one of the first plants which the Spaniards introduced to the Old World, both in Europe and Asia; and the plant soon became naturalised in the South of Europe and in Africa. In Spain it bore its American name of tuna; while the Moors, who took it into Barbary when they were expelled from the peninsula, called it “fig of the Christians.” The custom of using the plant for living fences,* and the nourishing property of the fruits, which contain a large proportion of sugar, have determined its extension round the Mediterannean. The fruit is very similar in its properties to that of currants, in some being refreshing and agreeable to the taste, in others mucilaginous and insipid. Many are valued as palliatives of intermittent and bilious fevers, in consequence of their refreshing sub-acid juice. The fruit of O. tuna is of the richest carmine, and forms a valuable pigment, employed at Naples as a water-colour.

[Footnote] * Of Opuntia tuna it is recorded: “This kind of Indian fig makes strong living fences. When the Island of St. Christopher (West Indies) was to be divided between the English and the French three rows of the tuna were planted by common consent between the boundaries.”—(Sloane.)

– 328 –

In this country, as in England, we scarcely know the Indian fig except as succulent ugly sprawling shrubs without leaves; but some species have leaves of an ordinary description, and when old the columnar species form wood of considerable strength. Humboldt speaks of a forest of such plants, not mere herbaceous species, but tall trees, with stems yielding wood suitable for domestic purposes. And Darwin states that in Central Chili “the cactuses, or, rather, Opuntias, were very numerous. I measured one,” he says, “of a spherical figure, which, including the spines, was 6ft. 4in. in circumference. The height of the common branching kind is from 12ft. to 15ft., and the girth with spines of the branches between 3ft. and 4ft.” (“Naturalist's Voyage”). Further on in his admirable book he says, “A species of large tree Cactus was one of the principal kinds of food of the great land-tortoise in the Gallapagos.” His account of both—the huge reptile, and the plant, its food—is exceedingly interesting.

There is no reason for supposing that the modern Opuntia is described by Theophrastus, as the German botanist Sprengel asserted. The account given by the former writer, as far as we know, rather suits some tree like Ficus religiosa. Hot dry exposed places are the favourite homes of the Indian figs, for which they are naturally adapted in consequence of the imperfect evaporating pores of their skin, a circumstance which, as De Candolle has shown, accounts for the excessively succulent state of their tissue.

In some recent valuable publications by the Department of Agriculture of the United States Government, “On the Grasses and the Forage-plants for Cultivation in the South,” I find several practical statements both important and curious respecting this plant and its allied species and their uses for forage, in letters and communications from extensive and practical cattle-breeders in several of the Southern States—viz., Texas, Mobile, New Mexico, and California—and, as they are also very extraordinary, I shall quote a few of them verbatim. These, however, are prefaced by some humane and able remarks from the Department of Agriculture, U.S., which I also extract:—

“A number of species of Cactus, mainly of the genus Opuntia, and commonly called nopal, or prickly pear, are used as food for cattle and sheep in the dry regions of Texas, and westward, where the ordinary forage-plants fail. In the natural state cattle do not often touch it, unless driven by hunger, except while the new growth is young and tender. Sheep eat it without preparation more readily than cattle, and for them the plants are sometimes merely cut down so as to be within reach. More often the herder passes along and clips off a portion of each flat joint, so that the sheep can

– 329 –

enter, their noses without coming in contact with the spines. For cattle it is customary to singe off the spines over a brisk blaze.

“Considering the extent to which these plants are eaten by stock, even in their natural state, it is remarkable that so few evil effects have been observed. A large majority of those who have mentioned their use state that no injurious results have come to their notice.

“A sufficient number of instances of injury are reported, however, to show that compelling stock to eat them unprepared is cruel, if not unprofitable, and to render it probable that the suffering and loss on this account have not been full observed. A number of instances are reported of cattle having died from the accumulation of the spines in the mouth and stomach. The jaws and neck sometimes become swollen and inflamed from the presence of the spines. The tongue has been known to become so filled with them as to be rendered unfit for food. How this amount of injury can occur and not affect the growth of the animal it is difficult to see. The injury to sheep is mostly confined to the nose and lips, and is not considered very serious, ‘as the needles soon fester and come out.’

“The succulent nature of the plant in the growing-season sometimes has too great a laxative effect, but if other fodder is fed with it this tendency is rather beneficial than otherwise. Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, the Cactus, when properly prepared, is a valuable fodder-plant, and is destined to come into more general use in the warm, arid parts of the country.”—(Bulletin, No. 3, p. 50.)

J. A. Avent, Bexar County, Southern Texas:—

“I have been feeding prickly pear for thirty years. It is an excellent food for cattle if fed with fodder or hay of any kind. When not too full of sap it may be fed alone. There is nothing that cattle like better than prickly pear when accustomed to it. The old stumps, with a little corn, will fatten cattle very fast. We burn off the thorns in feeding it, but most stock-raisers do not. The apples ripen about the 1st July, and are eaten by almost everything. Hogs get fat enough upon them to render into lard when the crop is good, and it seldom fails.”

A. J. Spencer, Uvalde, Texas:—

“It is eaten by cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs. They eat it mainly as found in the range, though sometimes the thorns are scorched off. It is considered one of the best native forage-plants. It is a partial substitute for water for all stock that eat it. The only injury I have known to result from eating it has been to sheep, and then only when eaten while frozen.”

– 330 –

Professor George W. Curtis, College Station, Texas:—

“It is used quite extensively for cattle and sheep. The prickles are singed off, or the whole plant is boiled and fed mixed with bran.

“Has your attention been called to the use of the prickly pear as a lubricant?—Certain of the western railroads have used it with excellent results. It is gathered in Texas, shipped to Saint Louis, ground up coarsely, and pine tar added to keep the albuminoids from decomposition (I do not know whether anything else is added or not), after which it is barrelled and returned. The total cost is 2 ½ cents per pound, and it is said to do the work of 5 or 6 cents worth of grease and rags formerly used. It is especially useful in preventing and cooling hot boxes. If this comes into general use it will open a new field of production.”

Dr. A. E. Carothers, Cotulla, La Salle:—

“I have fed 400 beeves, and am now feeding 800 more on this food. From the analysis furnished by Mr. Richardson, of your [Government] department, I found that the Cactus was deficient in albuminoids, and, from the well-known richness of the cotton-seed oil-cakes in those elements, I selected it to supply the deficiency, which it did very well.… I feed per head about 601b. of the Cactus and an average of about 61b. of the meal per day for ninety days. A train-load of 330 head of these cattle sold last week in Chicago at 4 ½ cents. The meat is singularly juicy and tender, the fat well distributed among the muscles. I have sold it at 1 cent per pound gross over grass-cattle in San Antonio.”

Edward Beaumont, Jemes, New Mexico:—

“The Cactus is not used here to any great extent, but it makes good food for horned cattle, especially cows. The thorns are scorched off over a blaze of brush or straw. When cattle get used to eating it they come running as soon as they see a smoke.”

O. F. Wright, Temescal, San Bernadine County, California:—

“Many kinds of Cactus grow here. The flat kind, or prickly pear, is abundant in places. Cattle, goats, and sheep eat it sometimes without any preparation when very hungry; but it looks as though needles and pins would be a pleasanter and safer diet. I have never known, however, any bad results to come from eating it. After boiling to soften the thorns it makes good food for milch cows, and is much relished. The trouble of boiling prevents its extensive use.”

I may also mention another introduced plant (a common British weed here in Napier) as being extensively used and

– 331 –

valued as a forage-plant in some of those Southern States, and this relation will also, I think, surprise many of our settlers.

3. Erodium cicutarium = Alfilaria (in America), Hemlock-leaved Heron's-bill (commonly called a Geranium).

This plant is one of the commonest of our British introduced weeds, being found everywhere, even in the streets and roads of Napier, and, being perennial and a quick grower, lining the kerbs and the bases of houses. No doubt it is well known.

It shows itself of very different sizes. Sometimes its leaves are only 2in. or so long, and sometimes 8in.-9in., but all alike; at first radiate and symmetrical from its root-stock, flat on the ground, it often presents a very neat and striking appearance.

In my own grass-paddocks and pathways it has long been very common; and at first, while I could not but admire its graceful form, I feared it would prove to be another unwelcome imported weed; but I have found horses to feed well on it, intermixed with grasses and clovers. So that from observation I have concluded that not only this but other foreign plants (commonly called “weeds” by us) are really of more service to stock generally than we are aware of, when growing together with grasses and clovers; and, indeed, are naturally better adapted to keep them in health than when fed on rye-grass and clovers alone. Notwithstanding, I was surprised to find this plant (Erodium cicutarium) so highly valued as a forage-plant in the Southern States of America. As before, I give a few quotations respecting it:—

“It occurs abundantly, and is of much value for pasture, over a large extent of territory in Northern California and adjoining regions. A few have begun its artificial propagation, and it is undoubtedly worthy of introduction into other regions in the south and west having prolonged droughts.—(Loc. cit., p. 34.)

Professor E. W. Hilgard, in the report of the Department of Agriculture of California, says,—

“Two species of crane's-bill (Erodium cicutarium and mos-chatum) are even more common here than in Southern Europe, and the first-named is esteemed as one of the most important natural pasture-plants, being about the only green thing available to stock throughout the dry season, and eagerly cropped by them at all times. Its Spanish name of Alfilerilla (signifying a pin, and now frequently translated into ‘pin-weed’) shows that it is an old citizen, even if possibly a naturalised one.”

– 332 –

O. F. Thornton, Phœnix, Maricopa County, Arizona:—

“It is not cultivated, but is rapidly spreading on the dry ranges—i.e., valleys and mountain-sides—and is one of the very best wild grasses, either green or dry.”

J. C. Tiffany, San Marcial, Socorro County, New Mexico:—

“There is very little in this county; what there is has been brought in the wool of sheep from California. It grows well in uplands or low, and is spreading rapidly. It is excellent feed—one of the very best. I am trying to get a large quantity of the seed to sow on my ranges. Can you inform me how it may be obtained? I would scatter it in localities over 20,000 acres if I could get the seed at a reasonable cost.”

And now let us hear a few words from the opposite side—again exemplifying the wide difference between practical knowledge and theoretical fireside speculation:—

Dr. A. Gattinger, Nashville, Tenn.:—

“It is not known here, but I have seen it in Germany. It is a vile weed, and ought not to be introduced into cultivation. I cannot understand how such a thing can be seriously spoken of when so many really good native plants are totally ignored.”—(Loc. cit., p. 36.)

In conclusion, I would observe that I had several objects in view in writing this paper; particularly,—

1. To bring to notice the remarkable abnormal early flowering of the young offshoots of Agave.

2. To show the many great and beneficial uses made of that plant, and of another equally strange-looking one, by ancient as well as by modern races of men.

3. To call particular attention to the interesting and well-established fact of the ancient Mexicans having long cultivated several varieties of those two wild endemic plants (Agave and Opuntia), together with others, as banana and vanilla, as an additional reason for believing in the great antiquity of that nation; and so, pari passu, for reasonably concluding the same of the Maori people, from their having cultivated for ages many varieties of their flax (Phormium) and “sweet potatoes”—kumara (Ipomæa chrysorhiza).

4. To acquaint our sheep- and cattle-breeders (several being members of our society) how badly off for grass those of their calling are in those Southern States of America, and what very strange plants are consequently largely and successfully used by them for forage.

5. To place on record my (old) belief that not a few of those plants which we have long considered as mere weeds, and worthless, may yet become of great value for beneficial uses.

– 333 –

Art. XXXVI.—On Four Notable Foreign Plants.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 9th October, 1893.]

At our July meeting I had the honour of reading to you my paper on two peculiar yet useful foreign plants that are acclimatised with us here in New Zealand—viz., Agave americana and Opuntia ficus-indica. A chief reason for my bringing them to your notice (as I mentioned at the time) was their having been well known to and cultivated by the Aztecs, or ancient Mexican nation, long before their ruthless invasion by the Spaniards in 1519; and, in continuing my researches in that same direction, I found other noted plants that were also assiduously cultivated by that ill-used race, which have since become of the highest esteem among ourselves, and are commonly used by us and by nearly all civilised peoples.

And here I may (in limine) call your attention to two matters respecting those useful plants that have been so very long in cultivation, or rather, perhaps, I should say, to the ancient races by whom they were cultivated.

1. That such kind or class of labour—that of the husbandman—is always a sure proof of the antiquity of the civilisation of the people successfully practising it; for, leaving out the so-called barbaric or Stone Age of man, nothing can be more certain than this: that the proper cultivation of food-crops, wherever found, with all their attendant and necessary labour, must have been handed down from olden times; pari passu, I may truly say, with that of building good houses, and vessels for navigation, and all the many useful arts, &c., of life. For such works are not attended to by savage peoples, who live on the wild uncultivated vegetables and fruits of the earth, the spontaneous production of nature, equally with the flesh of the wild animals common to their countries. Indeed, here in New Zealand we have notable instances of this in two races that lived near us—the Tasmanians and the Australians. (I am, I regret to say, obliged to speak of one of these distinct peoples, the Tasmanians, in the past tense, as not one of them now lives, though once numerous; and all destroyed by civilised “Christian” man! and that, too, during my own time.) Especially when we also consider with them the very superior position of the Maoris of this country, whose extensiveroot-

– 334 –

crops rootcrops* were only annually raised and preserved through an immense amount of close attention and labour, and all done without the use of iron or any other metal. It is only when man has outgrown, or abandoned, the roaming, ever-changing life of a hunter, and has defined and settled his habitation, that he can become a real and loving cultivator of the soil.

2. That the beginnings of all such cultivation of food-crops, especially when the plants themselves are not indigenous to the countries in which they were anciently cultivated, is lost, far back in the night of history; hence, too, all particular mention of their introduction is always surrounded by marvellous legendary and mythical lore—a further proof, I may, I think, rightly consider of their high antiquity. And this is eminently seen in the ancient traditions among the Aztecs and other original American races, of how they first received some of their prized cultivated plants; in those also of the ancient Greeks respecting their first receiving wheat from Ceres, Isis, and Triptolemus; and those still more romantically mythical ones of the Maoris concerning their prized kumara; while those of the origins of their taro and hue and aute plants are utterly unknown.

As on the former occasion (above mentioned by me), so now, two of the plants I purpose bringing before you this evening were cultivated by those ancient Mexicans; these are the banana, so well known here among us as an esteemed and wholesome article of food, and the vanilla, almost equally well known for its sweet scent and flavouring uses, though neither of them are grown in this colony. And I think I shall be able to give you some very interesting, if not astonishing, particulars respecting both plants.

1. Of the Banana, or Plantain (Musa sapientium et M. para-disiaca, Linn.; Musa sapientium, Br.).

This plant is peculiar in many respects:—

1. From having been found in both the Old and New World.

2. From its antiquity, being mentioned in our oldest books; as by Pliny, who relates it having been found by Alexander in his Indian expedition in the greatest abundance in the country of the Sydraci, and that it was remarkable for the size and sweetness of its fruit, upon which the sages of India live.

[Footnote] * Cook says, “These plantations were of different extent, from 1 or 2 acres to 10; taken together, from 150 to 200 acres in cultivation in the whole bay”—Tolaga Bay—“though we never saw there an hundred people. Each lot was fenced in—so closely done that there was scarcely room for a mouse to creep between.”—“Voyages,” vol. ii., p. 313.

[Footnote] † Kumara = Ipomæa chrysorhiza, Forst.; taro = Colocasia antiquorum, Schott.; hue = Cucurbita sp.; aute = Broussonetia papyrifera, Vent.

[Footnote] ‡ Gymnosophists or Brahmins.—Hist., lib. xii., cap. 12 (6).

– 335 –

Hence the botanical name of Musa sapientium. Musa (generic) is from the Arabic mouz or mauwz, which we find was given to it as early as the thirteenth century; the second specific name of paradisiaca comes from the ridiculous hypothesis which made the banana figure in the story of Adam and Eve. It is, however, a curious fact that the Hebrews and the ancient Egyptians did not know this Indian plant.

3. From its many varieties or sorts—upwards of sixty—all forming but a single species. The celebrated botanist De Candolle says: “There is an immense number of varieties of the banana in the south of Asia, both on the islands and on the continent. The cultivation of these varieties dates in India, in China, and in the Archipelago from an epoch impossible to realise. It even spread formerly into the islands of the Pacific, and to the west coast of Africa. Lastly, the varieties bore distinct names in the most separate Asiatic languages, such as Chinese, Sanskrit, and Malay. All this indicates great antiquity of culture, consequently a primitive existence in Asia, and a diffusion contemporary with, or even anterior to, that of the human races.” Cook found it largely cultivated at Tahiti. The accurate and observing Parkinson (Sir Joseph Banks's botanical draughtsman), who was with Cook on his first voyage, says of it: “The well-known tropical fruit called plantains and bananas, of which there is a great variety in these islands; they reckon more than twenty sorts, which differ in shape and taste. Some of these are for eating raw, and others best boiled, and will serve instead of bread. They plant them in a rich soil, and take great pains in their cultivation. They call them meiya” (now meia). The celebrated Peruvian author Garcilasso de la Vega* says distinctly, “At the time of the Incas, maize, quinoa, the potato, and bananas formed the staple food of the natives.” He describes the Musa of the valleys in the Andes, distinguishing the rarer species with a small fruit and a sweet aromatic flavour (the dominico) from the common banana, or arton. The botanist Desvaux, in a remarkable work published in 1814, studied the specific question. He gives it as his opinion that all the bananas cultivated for their fruit are of the same species. In this species he distinguishes forty-four varieties, which he arranges in two groups—the large-fruited bananas (7in. to 15in. long) and the small-fruited bananas (1in. to 6in.), commonly called fig-bananas. R.

[Footnote] * Descendant of the Incas, who lived from 1530 to 1568. A copy of his scarce work is in our Institute library.

[Footnote] † Quinoa, a small, insignificant plant, a species of Chenopodium (C. quinoa, Willd.). The leaves are dressed as spinach, and the small seeds are still esteemed at Lima.

[Footnote] ‡ To a wild fertiie species found in Asia, Desvaux gave the name of paradisiaca.

– 336 –

Brown, in 1818, maintains the same as all belonging to one species, and so brought back Desvaux's second species (M. paradisiaca) to the one earlier-named one (M. sapientium).

We, however, here in New Zealand only know the banana, as an imported dessert fruit, and, as such, scarcely ever in perfection as fully ripe, seeing what we receive from the tropical isles of the Pacific are always obliged to be sent to us in a green or unripe state; and, then, of its many varieties we obtain (I believe) but one. It is far more extensively used as a vegetable (as well as a fruit) in the countries where it is grown as an introduced plant, particularly in the West Indies, for in-stance, where, while unripe, it is said to be excellent boiled as a vegetable, or sliced and fried as fritters for breakfast. Roasted and flavoured with the juice of oranges, or lemons and sugar, and made into a kind of compôte, it is very choice; in some countries the fruit is dried, in which state it can be preserved for months, or, if spices and sugar are added, it is formed into a paste quite capable of keeping good for years. The mealier ones, by being oven- or sun-dried, and then pounded, can be readily converted into a nutritious flour, which contains not only starch, but protein, or flesh-forming material. Finally, the “merissa” beer, which is drunk in prodigious quantities all over the Upper Nile and Lake Country in Africa, is the fermented juice of the banana. Even the Mahdi has had to wink at its consumption; while a recent traveller doubts whether he ever saw so many tipsy people as in a certain district of Africa. The banana will even yield medicine, for the juice of the stem—the spongy pith of which is also highly nutritious—is a useful astringent and diaphoretic. Taken internally, the leaves are said to be valuable against dropsy, and are often used externally in scalds and ulcers. The stems are in Tonquin burned, and the ashes employed for purifying sugar; while all parts of the plant abound in a fibre which has never been systematically used except in small quantities. In Dacca the country people make from it the string of the bow with which they tease cotton; and in some of the Indian islands a cloth is woven from the banana-thread which is not much inferior to that made from the abaca, a kind of banana that yields the well-known Manila hemp; and the large fronds are employed not only for packing, and as plates for holding food, but in roofing native huts.

The banana, we learn from a United States official report, is so popular a fruit in that country that during August and September 78,000 tons were imported, while, on the other hand, its culture is extending with such rapidity that before long the entire home demand will be met by Florida, Mississippi, and other suitable areas of the Republic. It is, how-ever, doubtful whether the warmest portions of the United

– 337 –

States will ever be able to compete with the West Indies in rearing a fruit which flourishes in such perfection all over Jamaica and the Antilles generally. Central Africa, too, is becoming one vast banana plantation. For miles and miles nothing else is seen; even the Indians of Central and South America have not taken more kindly to it. Captain Lugard describes the fruit as the national meat and drink.

In all these lands the plants grow with great ease, in spite of the fact that in many of them they receive the least amount of care. To set out a new plantation is the simplest of operations. The stems, formed by the base of the leaves, are annual, and usually die down after the exhaustive process of fruiting has been completed, new ones being produced from buds or suckers in the root-stock, which is perennial. It is by planting these buds that the banana is propagated, and fresh plantations made; and so exceedingly simple is this form of agriculture that the plant generally bears ripe fruit within ten months of the offsets being put into the ground. Emin Pasha tells us that, though the plantations in Africa are well kept, the only manure they receive is bunches of grass allowed to rot around the base of each plant.

In conclusion, I may briefly observe that I have often been struck with admiration when considering the banana-plant, and noticing (here in New Zealand) the great size and heavy weight of its bunch of fruit, not unfrequently from 401b. to 501b. (while in the West Indies such attains to even 701b., and I have been credibly informed that in South America some sorts bear a bunch of fruit weighing over 1001b.)—this, too, growing high up on the single columnar reed-like stem of the plant, and projecting far from it in a drooping form when the fruit is formed. There is such a wonderful provision of nature to sustain such a heavy mass when extended hanging by its simple annual stem, coupled with the bounteous gift of such a wholesome, ever-plentiful, and easily-grown fruit to the natives of the tropics. I have sometimes compared (mentally) the banana, as to its fruit being that of an annual plant, and produced in large quantities, with that of the pumpkin, another annual, whose fruits are often of a large size and weight; but the fruits of the weak pumpkin-vines are supported on the ground, and the plant itself is only raised with much care and attention from seed annually sown.

While staying a few days last month in the bush (at Dannevirke), I saw an express-waggon bringing away from the railway-station a compact load of green bananas in large bunches, each bunch set upon its end in the conveyance, filling it, and coming along slowly. On inquiry, I found there were twenty bunches of bananas. It was a remarkable sight, there in that place so far inland.

– 338 –

Addendum.—In order to make my memoir the more complete I have endeavoured to get, from official sources, the amount in weight of bananas imported annually into this colony, but have failed, owing to no distinction having been made in the sorts of fruits imported, all being classed together, but only in the countries producing them. I may, however, give the following official amounts of fruits imported from two principal places within the tropics in the South Sea, which includes (at least) four kinds of fruits commonly used—viz., bananas, pine-apples, cocoanuts, and oranges—omitting the Australian Colonies:—

Lb. £
1891 From Fiji 3,901,264 15,584
From South Sea Islands 4,554,629 17,136
1892 From Fiji 4,797,936 17,336
From South Sea Islands 2,688,831 9,434

2. Of Vanilla Planifolia, Andrews.

This plant—a species of orchid, anciently cultivated by the Aztecs (and, curiously enough, for one of the very same purposes for which it is now so extensively used all over the world—viz., to flavour their drinks, one of which was cocoa), is also an indigenous plant of Mexico, and is still cultivated by them. Vanilla was formerly confined to a very limited area, and being an orchid, and a dainty tropical product, was scarce, and long considered difficult of cultivation, but of late years, and through the practical application of scientific knowledge, its production has wonderfully increased, so that it has become a large and pretty general article of commerce.

Few, perhaps, of my audience this evening know much respecting this plant save in connection with ice-creams and superior chocolate. The scented vanilla of commerce is merely the seed-pod of the plant, and, seeing it is now so well known by name, and so commonly used, a few interesting items respecting it and its early history and introduction into Europe, and the triumph of science combined with skilled persevering labour in bringing it on to a proper consummation, may not be considered out of place.

There is an excellent paper on the early history of vanilla in Europe by Professor Morren, of the University of Liége, from which I take several quotations. Professor Morren was one of the first (if not the very first) who succeeded in obtaining ripe fruits from the vanilla in Europe. He says,—

“Having been fortunate enough to obtain two years since, and at two different times, an abundant crop of this interesting fruit, I believe I may assert that henceforth we may produce in Europe vanilla of as good a quality, if not better, as that which is exported from Mexico…. My experi-

– 339 –

ments may afford the most convincing proof that in our own climate, but in our hothouses, the same circumstances of atmosphere as those which exist under a Mexican sky produce in the vanilla plant all the phenomena of a good and perfect maturation of the fruit…. The Vanilla aromatica of Swartz, introduced into Europe in 1739 by Miller, is not to be found at the present time in England. This species was long believed to be the true vanilla of commerce. But the Vanilla planifolia of Andrews* is the same plant which is generally cultivated on the Continent, and has produced at Liége an abundant crop of odorous and delicious fruit. This interesting species was at first cultivated in the Hon. Charles Greville's choice collection of plants at Paddington, near London, where it flowered for the first time; but then, no artificial fecundation having been performed, no fruit was produced. In 1812 this plant was carried from the gardens of Mr. Greville into those of Belgium, whence it was introduced at Antwerp. The plant grew rapidly there in the Botanic Garden, and slips were sent to all the towns in Belgium and France, but they very rarely flowered, and fruit was never obtained, so that this culture was despaired of. Nevertheless, in 1819 Dr. Sommé (the director of the Botanic Garden at Antwerp) sent two plants of vanilla to the curator at Brussels that he might send them to the Dutch colonies of Java, where it was said the plant might become valuable by its produce. The history of this migration of the vanilla-plant from America to the East Indies is too interesting not to be made known. Only one of the two roots stood the long passage from Belgium to the East Indies. There at Java, in the Botanic Garden, it prospered well, and flowered, but its flowers bore no fruit. The observations on the necessity of an artificial fecundation in the greater part of the orchideous plants were not known at that time; and I attribute the flowers of the vanilla not bearing fruit in the East Indies to the absence of the species of insect which nature has doubt-less given to the climate of Mexico to effect there a fecundation which man alone, by a study of the organs, is able to perfect in other countries. It was long after—in 1836—that, by a peculiar horticultural treatment, we had at Liége, upon one vanilla plant, fifty-four flowers, which, having been fecundated by me, produced the same number of pods; and in 1837 a fresh crop of about a hundred pods was obtained upon another plant by the same methods; so that now there is not the least doubt of the complete success of this new cultivation.

“From the works of the illustrious Alexander von Humboldt we learn that the Mexicans were already in the habit of

[Footnote] * Repository, vol. viii., pl. 538.

– 340 –

perfuming their chocolate when the Spaniards discovered this part of America. Chocolate was brought from Mexico into Europe in 1520, but it appears that vanilla was brought to the Continent as a perfume about the year 1510, at the same time as indigo, cochineal, and cacao itself—that is to say, ten years before the arrival of tobacco…. I find that the Vanilla planifolia is as common in the gardens of the British Islands as in those of the Continent; but the complaint there generally is that it very rarely flowers…. The vanilla-plant in order to flower should be at least five or six years old. The older and larger it is, and the more branches it has, the better and more abundantly it will flower…. The culture consists in twining the long branches, cutting, and burning them at their extremity with a hot iron; everything that contributes to stop the sap serves to bring it into a flowering state…. The flower of vanilla has this peculiarity: that the retinaculum is highly developed, so that this organ forms a curtain suspended before and above the stigmatic surface, thus separating it completely from the anther, which in its turn incloses in two cavities, naturally shut, the pulverulent masses of pollen. From this structure it results that all approximation of the sexes in this orchideous plant is naturally impossible. It is thus necessary either to raise the velamen or to cut it when the plant is to be fecundated, and to place in direct contact the pollen and the stigmatic surface…. The direct results of this memoir, therefore, go to prove that in all the intertropical colonies vanilla might be cultivated, and a great abundance of fruit obtained, by the process of artificial fecundation…. It is a subject which well deserves attention in a commercial point of view, and is, moreover, a proof of the importance of science in improving every branch of industry.”

I have gone to some length in these extracts, because (as I shall be able to show you) much of what Professor Morren has so clearly stated, and almost foretold, has already come to pass.

Not very long ago some 5cwt. or 6cwt. was the total of vanilla imported into England from Mexico. At present the United States alone take about 136,000lb. from Mexico, and a proportionate amount from other sources. The Mexican form, we are told, still holds its own in the market, but several other varieties are now cultivated. Numerous other regions have of late years competed with Mexico for the custom of the vanilla buyer. The latest of these is our colony of Fiji, from which some choice samples have been sent to England. Java now harvests enough for the Dutch consumption, none of it being offered to the outside world; and Bourbon, from which in 1849 only 71b. or 81b. were exported, has now 3,000 acres

– 341 –

under cultivation, and a crop which seldom falls below 200,000lb., while the quality has been so greatly improved by careful cultivation and preparation that Mexico is beginning to feel uneasy. What is known in commerce as “inferior Bourbon” is actually the product of our colonies of Mauritius and the Seychelles. Brazil, Peru, and other parts of South America are also in the market with their vanillas, while the Pacific coast is well supplied from Tahiti and the Sandwich Islands; and, as the market does not appear to be glutted—the perfumer and the confectioner finding a use for all that is raised—it is likely that West Africa and all the West Indies will before long enter the field; for, notwithstanding that the planifolia of Mexico is still the best of the vanilla species, it is quite capable of being transplanted, and it is notorious that several of the other varieties are wonderfully improved by being grown a little less at haphazard than in their native woods. But every sky will not suit the vanilla orchid. The soil is of slight moment, since the plant, clinging for support to trees or to trellis-work, derives a large portion of its nourishment from aërial roots, as is the case with some of our indigenous epiphytal orchids, only these do not arise from the ground. The climate seems to be all-important, for the plant requires a mean temperature of between 75° and 80°, and a damp, steaming atmosphere. Its long, fleshy pods take some six months, or more, to arrive at perfection, and constitute the portion of the plant in which lie its peculiar virtues. A clearing is made in some damp part of the forest, a few trees being left to serve as supports for the vanilla-plants, which are then planted out in the shape of cuttings, and left to the kindly action of the equatorial sun. In three years they are ready for harvesting, and for thirty more will yield pods enough to pay for the gathering. Nor is much care required, except to aid the fertilisation of the flowers by artificial means. But in Mexico this is not needed, and the process of fertilisation (which in no orchid, as Darwin has taught us, can be effected by itself) is accomplished by means of native insects. Yet it is known from experience that even artificial fertilisation has to be performed with judicious care; for, were all the flowers to be fertilised, the result would be an overflowing crop one season, but almost certain death to the plants through exhaustion before another season arrived. Then comes the plucking, each pod being detached as it ripens, a crackling sound as it is passed between the fingers being the criterion as to its ripeness. After being dried in the sun the pods are slightly fermented, to develope their peculiar odour, and, in some places,—for the modus operandi differs in different countries,—rubbed over with oil before they are sent to market, Long experience is required, not so much for the cultivation of

– 342 –

the vanilla as for preparing and assorting it for sale. The presence of the givre, or “frost,” is regarded as the test of the best pods. The “frost” consists of needle-shaped crystals, which begin to form at the ends, and gradually spread in a white powder over the whole pod. This efflorescence is composed of the substance known as “vanillin,” and to it the peculiar fragrance of the pods is due. Vanillin is, however, not confined to the orchid from which it derives its name. Considerable quantities of it have been extracted from Siam benzoin and raw sugar, from the sapwood of fir trees, from the oil of cloves, and, of all sources, from assafœtida! Ices flavoured with vanilla have not infrequently been found to be poisonous. It is, nevertheless, affirmed that the vanilla has no evil effect on the human system, as much as 15gr. having been swallowed without the patient suffering. On the contrary, it is an aromatic stimulant, exhilarating the mental powers and increasing greatly the energy of the animal system. It is depressing to think that, just when this fragrant orchid looks like becoming one of the good angels of the tropics, the German chemists are manufacturing vanilla artificially, though, happily, they are not likely ever to produce the exquisite balsam of the ripe pods, which is so seldom to be met with in Europe.

In fine, seeing that the vanilla was, at last, successfully cultivated in the hothouses in Liége and in other places in Europe, and is also become a new and an increasing article of commerce from our Polynesian neighbours—Fiji, Tahiti, and the Sandwich Islands—such may also, in years to come, be raised here in our Colony of New Zealand, at the more northern parts, and under glass. Tempus revelat.

3. Of the Edelweiss=Leontopodium alpinum, Cass., and its two New Zealand relations.

For my third plant I must take you to the Alps, to the mountains of Europe, particularly to those of Switzerland and Austria; and also to those nearer us—the Alps of the South Island, and our own Ruahine. From the small, very local, and peculiar herbaceous plants of the Swiss mountains I select the famed edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum, Cass.), and this for at least three reasons:—

1. Because it is also considered to be a great and valuable rarity, and has become of late years an increasing article of commerce, so that laws have been obliged to be made by the Swiss and by the Austrian Governments, to prevent their little plant of world-wide celebrity becoming extinct.

2. Because the Swiss mountain flora is very peculiar, possessing more than 120 alpine plants not found anywhere else; these are believed to be involuntary migrants from the arctic

– 343 –

regions, survivors of the flora driven south before the advancing ice-sheet of the glacial period.

3. Because we have here in New Zealand on our mountains two closely-allied plants resembling the Swiss one, which are usually known as the New Zealand edelweiss—viz., Gnaphalium (Helichrysum) colensoi, and Gnaphalium (Helichrysum) grandiceps, both plants first described by Sir J. D. Hooker in his “Handbook of the Flora of New Zealand,” the former of these two from Mount Hikurangi, near the East Cape, and also from the Ruahine Mountain-range, where I first met with it in 1845; and the latter from the Southern Alps, where it was first detected in several localities by Dr. Sinclair, by Professor Von Haast, and by Dr. Hector. There is not much difference between them apparent, however, on close comparison and examination, and they strongly resemble their European relative.

Several years ago the Swiss cantons were obliged to pass a law prohibiting the common reckless collecting, and consequent rapid destruction, of their alpine plant Leontopodium alpinum, for the havoc among the patches of edelweiss had become so great that, in order to protect it from the ravages of climbing tourists, the Government of Valais was compelled, in 1887, to make enclosures for the undisturbed cultivation of the plant, and at the same time to issue an order that the edelweiss was no longer to be plucked. This was soon followed by Austria; and I find more recently that the Diet of Tyrol have been obliged to do the same. Here is a notice of it from a late London paper: “The Diet of the Tyrol last week passed a Bill imposing heavy fines upon persons found selling any samples of the beautiful but rare alpine flower called edelweiss, which has been pulled up by the roots on the mountains. A similar Act was passed seven years ago by the Diet of Salzburg, with a view to the preservation of the edelweiss plant, which is threatened with extinction in the Austrian Alps. In the Salzburg district the success of this legislation is not encouraging.”*

Its destruction was one of the many unpleasant results of the alpine mania. The little plant, with its protective covering of woolly hair, is no doubt a curious and pretty one; but there are many more attractive flowers on the mountains. The edelweiss is, however, rather difficult to obtain, and, not being found much below an altitude of 5,000ft. or 6,000ft., the wearing of a sprig in the tourist's hat, after the guides' style, is supposed to infer a moderate acquaintance with the mountains a little way from the hotel-doors, if not some experience in that “climbing” which, for two or three months in the

[Footnote] * London Standard, 21st April, 1893.

– 344 –

year, forms the staple of conversation at the local tables d'hôte.

I remember reading some time back of a London belle (of whom it may be said she possessed “more money than wit”) spending no less a sum than £300 in the making of a dress-cloak or mantle for her use at a grand ball completely overlaid with edelweiss.

I can show you specimens of the southern plant,—Gnaphalium (Helichrysum) grandiceps—and of the Swiss plant—Leontopodium alpinum—the true edelweiss; but for our northern (or Ruahine) plant I must refer you to the coloured drawing of it in Hooker's “Flora Novæ-Zelandiæ,” made from my Ruahine specimen. I never met with this plant but once in all my visits to that mountain region, and that was on the edge of their western summits, at above 5,000ft. elevation. It was profusely growing on the outer edge of a steep cliffy fall of broken shingle, through which it was a difficult matter to force one's way up to it, as the small dry débris from the high cliff formed such a loose slope (or talus) on which there was no standing, and carried everything down before it. I often sought this plant on subsequent visits, but without success. Dr. Sinclair, however, detected it growing in a similar situation in the South Island, at “Tarndale Mountains, 5,000ft. altitude, in shingle”; and it is worthy of remark that in both Islands it keeps at about the same elevation as the allied Swiss plant.

Between the two genera of Gnaphalium (Helichrysum) and Leontopodium there is but very little difference. The small genus of Leontopodium, containing only three species, established by Brown, has been merged into Gnaphalium by both Hooker and Bentham.

4. Of the Rose of Jericho = Anastatica hierochuntica, Linn.

Another highly curious, little-known, and local plant, commonly known as “the rose of Jericho,” and also “holy rose,” I now bring to your notice. I have lately obtained the loan of a perfect plant of this singular vegetable for exhibition here, thinking it would prove as great a curiosity to you as it was to me, for, although I knew it from drawings and from description, I had never before seen a specimen. Strange to say, this plant is not only no rose, nor even distantly allied to that delightful flowering family, but is a species of the more common Cruciferous or Brassica order, to which our cabbage, turnip, radish, and watercress belong. It is, moreover, an annual very local in its habitat, growing wild in the sandy arid deserts of Egypt and of Syria, and on the coasts of the Red Sea, and is the only species of its genus;

– 345 –

and further it has only one other allied genus, Morettia (and this too, like that, containing only a single species), in the fifth tribe of the extensive order of Crucifers, or Brassicaceœ.

As this plant is a very great singularity, and famed for its strongly-marked hygrometrical properties, and as I have a specimen to show you, I may also tell you a little about it—both natural, and legendary and mythical.

1. Natural.—It is a small, annual, dwarf, shabby-looking plant, only a few inches high; it has one stout tap-root, and its stem, also stout, is short and very much dichotomously branched from the neck, and expanding while young; leaves small, oblong; flowers minute, white; pods also small, ventricose; seeds few. After flowering the leaves fall off, and the branches and branchlets become dry, hard, and woody, and are soon contracted into a globular form. In this state the little plant is easily withdrawn from the sand by the wind, hurried from place to place, and blown from the desert into the sea, or into any water, and as soon as it is wetted the branches relax and expand as if its life was renewed; the valves of the pod open, and the tiny seeds cast on the shores are scattered with the sand by the winds until they are settled, when they spring into life and take root. If this plant is taken up before it is withered, and kept entire in a dry room, it may be long preserved, and after being many years in this situation, if the root is placed in a glass of water a few hours, the buds of flowers will swell, open, and appear as if newly taken out of the ground, or it will recover its original form in the same manner if wholly immersed in water.

I may here mention that I have been sometimes reminded of this little natural globose vegetable ball, drifted about by the winds over the sandy deserts of Arabia, on seeing the globular heads of the female flowers of the large indigenous sea-side grass, Spinifex hirsutus, similarly blown about by the winds over the flat sandy shores of our own coasts in my old travelling-days. Indeed, there have been times—at low water, and the sandy flats dry, and wind fair (behind us)—when my Maori companions, carrying heavy loads, in order to relieve the tedium of their long journeys, would gather a few of those round, dry heads, and set them a-going before them, they keeping up a kind of short run after them. From this ancient Maori circumstance and juvenile custom, and the natural rolling of the ball before the winds when ripe and dry, they call those heads turikakoa = joyous, or nimble, knees.

The monks of Palestine gave it the name of “the rose of Jericho,”* and also “holy rose,” and of it they make a little

[Footnote] * From, I suppose, “Ecclesiasticus,” xxiv., 14—“A rose plant in Jericho.”

– 346 –

money. They dry it, and sell to travellers and pilgrims as possessing miraculous powers.

2. Legendary and Mythical.—Some superstitious tales are told of it, among which it is said “to have first bloomed on Christmas Eve, to salute the birth of the Redeemer, and also paid homage to His resurrection by remaining expanded till Easter.”* The common people in Palestine believe that if you put this plant in water at the time when a woman first experiences the pains of childbirth it will expand at the precise moment when the infant is brought into the world. The plant is called Kaf Maryam, or Mary's Flower, in Palestine, because it is supposed that the flower opened at the instant Jesus was born.

We have in England many plants bearing similar names, connected with ancient legendary lore, or such may have been originally intended as reminiscences or souvenirs of holy things—as, lady's mantle, lady's tresses, lady's slipper, lady's bedstraw, lady's looking-glass, lady's comb, &c. Such colloquial names of plants abound in all European countries; and here, too, in New Zealand, the ancient Maoris called several plants, their flowers and fruits, after their old mythical personages, by way of commemoration.

Here, too, in conclusion, a remark by way of explanation may be made respecting the somewhat strange and long scientific name given by Linnæus to this little plant, which may also be termed a hard one, but yet (like many of the plants of the olden times, named by him and other thoughtful botanists) full of meaning. (1.) Its generic name, Anastatica, is from the Greek aváoraois = rising again, resurrection, or, rather, revivication, and is highly suitable. (2.) Its specific name, being a compound of two Greek words, is more difficult, yet also proper, meaning (as I take it) audaciously, impudently, or shamefully, holy! carrying with it a kind of double rebuke—(a) at the poor little insignificant desert annual of no floral beauty being called a rose; and (b) at the further daring assumption of holy to that pleasing name of the queen of flowers.

[Footnote] * “Gardeners' Chronicle,” 1842, p. 363.

[Footnote] †In our English botanical works I find this specific name differently spelled as to its termination: hierochuntina, Lindley and others; hierochunta; and by Mueller, in his recent “Index Perfectus,” Linn., hierochuntica. This last I have here adopted.