Art. XXXVIII.—Description of a New Species of Drimys.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 14th July, 1897.]
A Compact shrub, 3 ft.—4 ft. high, with rather stout branches. Bark reddish, rugose or almost verrucose, slightly viscid when fresh. Leaves rather crowded and overlapping, coriaceous, oblong-obovate or oblong-spathulate, about 1 in. long by less than ½ in. broad, subacute or obtuse, rarely acute, narrowed into a short appressed petiole, glaucous beneath, dotted; margins slightly thickened, rarely recurved. Flowers numerous, very small, axillary; pedicels solitary or geminate, very short. Calyx saucer-shaped, entire, obscurely 5-angled. Torus conical. Petals 5, linear or broadly obovate, rounded at the tips. Stamens 5, clavate. Ovary obovate, compressed. Berry spherical, depressed. Seeds about 6, pyriform, flat on the inner face, rugose or coarsely punctulate on the convex face.—Hymenanthera traversii, Buchanan, in Trans. N.Z.I., xv. (1882), 339, t. 28.
South Island: Nelson: Collingwood district, H. H. Travers. Medora Creek, Wakamarama Range, to the Gouland Downs, 2,000 ft.–3,000 ft., J. Dall !
Until recently my knowledge of this interesting plant was restricted to Buchanan's description referred to above, and to a small sterile specimen for which I am indebted to his kindness. Recently my friend Mr. Dall has favoured me with fresh specimens, obtained at considerable trouble. Amongst them I found a few expanded flowers and one or two ripe fruits, which enable me to refer it to its proper genus, and to prepare an amended description.
It differs from D. axillaris and its variety colorata in the smaller size, the compact habit, and the red bark. The leaves, moreover, are close-set and often overlapping, while the stout petioles are closely appressed to the branchlets. The flowers, also, are often solitary, and the fruits are depressed when fully mature. It is, however, more closely allied to the variety than to the typical form, as it approaches the former
in the smaller leaves, which are invariably glaucous. The calyx is almost identical in both, while it further resembles var. colorata in the reduced number of the flowers, and especially of the carpels, which appear to be solitary in the present plant. It is, however, abundantly distinct from both, and from any other species. It is, I believe, the smallest member of the genus.