Art. XLVIII.—Description of a New Native Species of Coprosma.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 2nd August, 1897.]
Coprosma banksii, sp. nov.
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A compact much-branched shrub, 10 ft. high or less. Bark of young twigs yellowish or brownish-grey, marked by two broad velvety bands of short stiff rusty-red hairs, decurrent from the stipules. Leaves in opposite pairs, sometimes crowded by the slight growth of the internodes, shortly petiolate, linear, bluntly obtuse and frequently retuse, rather coriaceous, ½ in. to 1 in. long, 1/10 in. to 1/12 in. broad, usually slightly re-
curved at the margin; midrib evident, veinless. The leaves of younger shoots are broader, less obtuse, usually slightly ciliate at the tip, and somewhat lozenge-shaped. Stipules broadly subulate, grey or brown, nearly glabrous. Flowers not seen. Drupe terminal, pendulous, oblong, dark-red, ⅕ in. long, springing from an involucel bearing two conspicuous subspathulate bracts.
Hab. Ruahine Mountains, 3,500 ft.; February, 1889. Mount Hikurangi (East Coast), 3,000 ft.—4,000 ft.; January, 1897.
The foliage is very variable, young vigorous shoots having much longer, wider, less obtuse, and somewhat lozenge-shaped leaves. In old branches the nodes are crowded, the bark is often cracked and broken, and the glabrous bands of the bark are much less prominent. The twigs, moreover, are very commonly covered by a dark-brown growth of fungus that obscures their natural colour. The species appears to be intermediate between C. propinqua, A. Cunn., and C. colensoi, Hook. f., and I think it probable that Sir Joseph Hooker has confounded it with the latter. This would account for our being unable to find plants that satisfactorily match the description of C. colensoi as given in the Handbook. In shape and size the drupes resemble those of C. rubra, mihi, and in colour they match those of C. rhamnoides, A. Cunn. The broad bands of rusty-red pubescence recall those occurring in C. retusa, mihi, but they are of a different colour.