Art. LII.—Botanical Notes: Plants new to Nelson District, & c., from West Wanganui..
[Read before the Nelson Philosophical Society, 12th March, 1894.]
On a recent trip to West Wanganui Inlet, via Collingwood and Pakawau, during the month of February, in company with Messrs. W. H. Bryant and T. M. Melhuish, I made a small collection of plants, & c. These on my return I submitted to T. Kirk, Esq., F.L.S., of Wellington, who states there are several among the specimens of great interest, two being new to the flora of this district; and others, whilst being recorded, have not been collected for a good many years. Mr. Kirk
suggests that further visits should be paid to this district for the special object of collecting specimens of the flora, as it does not appear that any one has yet done so with that definite object in view.
We found the month of February too late in the year, since most of the plants flower much earlier, and it is impossible to be certain as to some species without studying the inflorescence.
The following are the most interesting specimens we collected:—
Eryngium vesiculosum. (New Zealand Handbook says East Coast.)
Mr. Kirk says, “This is a noteworthy addition to the list of Nelson plants, and a marked extension of its range westward.” It is growing abundantly on the sea-coast near the inlet.
Veronica elliptica. (Handbook: Canterbury and Otago.)
This has not hitherto been recorded from this province, and is, Mr. Kirk state, a “quite unexpected discovery to be found growing so far north.” I found it growing on the rocks on the sea-shore to the north of the inlet. One plant was in flower, the colour being a very handsome light-blue. The Handbook gives the colour as white, but blue is, I believe, also found. It is altogether a handsome shrub, and worthy of cultivation.
I noticed only one specimen, a curious form of Plantago. The inflorescence was imperfect, and, through rain, was in bad condition when I reached Nelson; consequently Mr. Kirk was unable to identify it. He says it may possibly be Plantago brownii, but from its position it may eventually be found to be quite new. Doubtless a more extended search would reveal many more and better specimens.
Specimens of this shrub were collected many years ago by Mr. Travers in Nelson District, but since then there is no record of its having been observed. It is growing on the eastern side of the inlet, and is a handsome shrub, partaking somewhat of the appearance of Pimelea gnidia.
This species of the so-called celery-leaved pine is reported in vol. xiv. of the Transactions as growing in the Maitai Valley, Nelson. The present specimen is a remarkable westward extension of the species. A good-sized tree was growing on Mr. Harvey's land.
This interesting fern is mentioned in the Handbook as growing in Massacre Bay, but it has not been reported as collected since Mr. Travers found it. Mr. Bryant drew my attention to it near Coal Creek, Pakawau, and he tells me he found it near the coal-mines on the West Coast some years ago
In addition to the foregoing, there were many others more or less rare or interesting: Pimelea avenaria in abundance on the sandhills; Mentha cunninghamii, with its powerful mint-like odour; a good number of species of Coprosma, including grandifolia and baueriana. Of ferns we found Lomaria banksii, Lomaria nigra, and the beautiful Lomaria fraseri in fair abundance; Trichomanes elongatum, colensoi, and strietum abundant; Asplenium umbrosum, the finest specimens I have yet seen, we found near Ferntown, the pinnae at the base of the frond extending to a width of 2ft, or more. Lycopodium laterale and Schizaea fistulosa were also plentiful. I hope to be fortunate enough to make another visit at some future time, since the fauna and geology, as well as scenery, are most interesting.