Art. LXII.—Note on a Branched Specimen of a Tree-fern (Hemitelia smithii).
[Read before the Otago Institute, 8th October, 1895.]
A specimen of what must have been a beautiful natural curiosity has recently been brought to the Otago University Museum, and, as the number of branches or divisions of the trunk is very unusual, I have been permitted by the director, Dr. Parker, to submit a short note on the specimen, with a diagram showing the different divisions.
The fern originally grew, I believe, on the slopes of Mount Cargill, and, after a long life of beauty, fell a victim to the axe of the settler in the progress of settlement, as did one of even greater dimensions about ten years ago.* It is to be hoped
[Footnote] * “On a Remarkable Branching Specimen of Hemitelia smithii. By John Buchanan, F.L.S.” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xix., p. 217, pls. xii. and xiii.)
that, should others of this character be found, some steps may be taken to preserve them, even at the risk of transportation to the town Gardens.
The trunk is simple for about 2 ½ft.; but I am unable to say how much was left on the stump or removed before the specimen reached the Museum. It then commences to divide into eight nearly equal divisions, five of which are united together almost in one plane; the other three are more or less separated. The average height of these divisions is about 4ft.