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Volume 43, 1910
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Art. XXIX.—Notes on the Botany of Lake Hauroko District.

[Read before the Otago Institute, 2nd August, 1910.]

Having long had the desire to make a botanical excursion to the mountains lying to the west of the great Waiau River, in the south-west of the fiord country, and especially to those parts surrounding Lake Hauroko, and known as the Princess Mountains, I welcomed the opportunity of doing this that presented itself in February of this year (1910). Our party consisted of Mr. Robert Gibb, Mr. Vernon C. Smith, and myself.

Having crossed the Waiau, our route to the lake lay by the main road through the bush, past Clifden, and on past the Lillburn, to what is known as Gardner's, or the “end of the track.” Two miles from Gardner's the track leads on to low peaty land extending for a mile, which has until recently been covered by a young forest of bog-pine (Dacrydium Bidwillii). We were informed by Mr. Gardner that this bog-pine had been burnt out during the previous dry summer. Gradually the “birch” forest (Fagus Solandri and F. Menziesii) is reached, and continues more or less for the rest of the distance to the lake. Here and there in the gullies, which are very numerous, will be found Coprosma foetidissma, C. rotundifolia, Metrosideros lucida, Panax Colensoi, Senecio elaeagnifolius, Drimys colorata, Leptospermum scoparium, and others; also Dicksonia squarrosa, Hemitelia Smithii, Aspidium flavidum, Lomaria fluviatilis, L. discolor, Gleichenia Cunninghamii, Pteris aquilina, P. incisa, Asplenium bulbiferum, Todea superba and Hymenophyllum spp.

As the lake was neared the vegetation became thicker and the ferns more numerous and taller. The first glimpse of the lake, as its waters glimmer and shimmer through the trees in the bush, is beautiful. The track comes out on a long arm of the lake facing Mary Island, a distance of five or six miles from the lower end of the lake. Across the lake the high mountains of the Princess Range, with their towering peaks of Albert Edward and Alexandra, form a majestic background. These mountains appear almost precipitous, being bush-clad up to 3,000 ft. or more, the bare tops being covered with the usual alpine flora.

As there is no record of a botanist having visited the lake previously (except perhaps Mr. G. M. Thomson, in the early “eighties,” but who on account of bad weather did no collecting), we had decided to examine both sides of the lake for plants and birds, and for this purpose we hired a boat. As we opened up the lake we found the shores to consist entirely of precipitous wooded hills, nowhere less than 3,000 ft., and rising to 5,000 ft., with sharp and rugged peaks, and with more than a score of waterfalls shooting on both sides. With the exception of a couple of beaches from one to two acres in extent, there is no flat land. The only other possible landing-places are where the many steep creeks or waterfalls have filled up the edge of the lake with boulders consequently, until we reached the head of the lake, it was only on these small patches we could land to make investigations.

Lake Hauroko is about twenty-five miles long by one mile wide, and, being formed at the bottom of a deep gully, becomes most treacherous to a rowing-boat, the wind sweeping down it as down a funnel. On account of

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this it took us three days to reach the head of the lake, during which time we had been consuming the provisions we had intended for an extended land journey.

At the head of the lake we pitched camp, and made excursions some distance up the Hauroko River, and also up Hay River. On the flat at the junction of the Hauroko River with the lake there is a piece of country that might well be the habitat of such a bird as the takahe, but after a careful search we found no traces of such a bird.

On the western side, at the head of the lake, the vegetation in the bush is most luxuriant; especially is this the case with ferns and mosses. Our object was to climb End Peak, a name which was given to the last, or end, peak of the Princess Range. It lies near the head of Hay River, on the western side, and is about 4,500 ft. high. Making an early start, we struck into the bush half a mile below Hay River. We had to make our own track through 3,000 ft. of dense bush, blazing it as we went along. Now and again we struck Mr. Hay's blazed trees of thirty years ago, and it was this that led us on to a very serviceable razorback ridge, and for some time kept us clear of deep gullies.

After a five hours' climb we reached the clearing, at an elevation of 3,500 ft. Another hour sufficed to find us on the highest point of the peak.

For a height of nearly 2,500 ft. there is little variation in the character of the vegetation, which differs very little indeed from that of the lower elevations on the eastern side. The trees and shrubs were much the same, with the addition perhaps of Panax lineare, Pittosporum Colensoi, a couple of species of Coprosma, and one or two others. Up to this point very little of the usual thinning-out of the bush on account of elevation could be detected; the trees were as thick and as tall and straight as lower down. After this height the stunting gradually began; the trees became scarcer, and Coprosmas became more plentiful, and gradually the mountain-flora began to make its appearance.

Although it was nearly the end of February, we were rewarded with a very large number of plants in flower, especially of Celmisia, and very fortunately so with a new species of Olearia and of Aciphylla.

Next day, as our provisions were getting low, we decided to pull ourselves to the foot of the lake, some twenty-five miles, which was done in nine hours, with only one stoppage of an hour for rest and lunch. At the foot of the lake, on the eastern side, there is a mountain known as the Hump, 3,500 ft. high, over which an old sheep-track passes, leading down to the coast some sixteen miles below the Waiau mouth. As I was desirous of comparing the vegetation of the Hump with that on End Peak, we decided to find this track, and make for home by that route. For a distance of half a mile this track is now completely overgrown and difficult to find; but once the ascent of the hill commences it is well defined, but becomes very steep, especially for the last 1,500 ft. This ascent occupied us nearly the whole day, and a fog coming over as we reached the top, we pitched the tent and turned in for the night. Next morning, being clear on the top, gave us an opportunity to examine the vegetation and collect. I was not very greatly surprised to find the plants on the Hump almost identically the same as those on End Peak, as the elevation and bird-life were much the same. As far as I could observe, there were only about half a dozen plants different—that is, all the plants found on the Hump were also found on End Peak. The geological structure was much the same, the soil being peaty, and the rock mica-schist and gneiss (white granite).

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Botanically the trip may be considered very satisfactory, as the plants noted cover 225 species and forty-five orders. Mr. D. Petrie has kindly looked through my material, from which, in another place, he is describing no less than five new species, named as follows: Euphrasia australis (Petrie), Aciphylla pinnatifida (Petrie), Gentiana flaccida (Petrie), Olearia CrosbySmithiana (Petrie), Danthonia (?) barbata (Petrie). These are all very distinct. Euphrasia australis has creamy-yellow flowers. Aciphylla pinnatifida is far removed from any other New Zealand species, and would appear to be almost unique. Olearia Crosby-Smithiana Mr. Petrie considers “one of the most distinct species of the genus,” nearest perhaps to O. lacunosa, having very narrow linear leaves with a besom-like habit of growth, 6–15 in. high. The Danthonia (?) cannot be described till flowers are procured; but its strong characteristic is that all the leaves are densely ciliate, giving the appearance of being barbed. Of other plants, some are very rare, as, for instance, Celmisia Traversii, the most beautiful of all the Celmisias, which is the first discovery of this plant to the south of Lake Tennyson.

Until flowering specimens are obtained, the species of several other plants will have to be left in abeyance, as, for instance, the plant put down temporarily as Aristotelia (?) fruticosa probably does not belong to this genus at all.

There yet remains much work to be done in the Hauroko district, or the country between Lake Monowai and Long Sound, and the botanist who undertakes it will, I am sure, meet with a rich reward.

List of Plants Collected


  • Ranunculus Lyallii. End Peak and Hump.

  • sp. End Peak.

  • Buchanani. Hump.

  • ternatifolius. End Peak.

  • Clematis indivisa. Common.


  • Drimys colorata. Common.


  • Cardamine hirsuta, var. debilis. Common.

  • depressa. Lake flat.


  • Viola Cunninghamii. End Peak.

  • Lyallii. Hump.


  • Pittosporum Colensoi. Common.

  • tenuifolium. Common.

  • eugenioides. Common.


  • Aristotelia (?) fruticosa End Peak; rare; 2,500 ft.

  • racemosa. Common.


  • Geranium microphyllum. Lake flat.


  • Coriaria thymilifolia. End Peak and Hump.

  • angustissima. End Peak and Hump.

  • ruscifolia. Common.


  • Carmichaelia sp. End Peak.

  • Sophora tetraptera. Common.


  • Geum parviflorum. End Peak and Hump.

  • Acaena Sanguisorbae. Common.

  • Rubus australis. Common.

  • schmidelioides. Common.

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    • Donatia novae-zelandiae. End Peak and Hump.

    • Weinmannia racemosa. Common.

    • Carpodetus serratus. Common.


    • Drosera arcturi. Hump.

    • binata. Lake flat.


    • Haloragis alata. Blue Cliff.

    • Myriophyllum pedunculatum. Hauroko outlet.

    • elatinoides. Hauroko outlet.

    • Gunnera monoica. Common.


    • Metrosideros hypericifolia. Common.

    • lucida. Common.

    • Leptospermum scoparium. Common.

    • Myrtus pedunculata. Common.

    • obcordata. Common.


    • Epilobium nummularifolium var. pps. distinct. Hump.

    • nummularifolium var. pedunculare. End Peak.

    • rotundifolium. End Peak and Hump.

    • sp. Hauroko outlet.

    • Fuchsia excorticata. Common.


    • Aciphylla pinnatifida (Petrie) sp. nov.* End Peak.

    • Lyallii. End Peak.

    • sp. Near lake.

    • Ligusticum aromaticum. Hump.

    • Haastii. End Peak.

    • Hydrocotyle tripartita. End Peak.


    • Panax lineare. End Peak and Hump.

    • simplex. Common.

    • arboreum. Common.

    • Colensoi. Common.

    • Pseudopanax crassifolium. Common.


    • Griselinia littoralis.


    • Coprosma arenaria. End Peak.

    • rugosa. End Peak.

    • propinqua. End Peak and Hump.

    • Colensoi. End Peak and Hump.

    • linariifolia. Common.

    • Cunninghamii. End Peak.

    • serrulata. End Peak.

    • repens. End Peak.

    • lucida. Common.

    • foetidissima. Common.

    • rotundifolium. Common.

    • sp. Hump.

    • Nertera depressa. End Peak.

    • dichondraefolia. End Peak.


    • Lagenophora Forsteri. Common.

    • sp. Hump.

    • Olearia Colensoi. Hump.

    • nitida. End Peak bush.

    • Crosby-Smithiana (Petrie) sp. nov. End Peak.

    • Celmisia Walkeri. End Peak and Hump.

    • holosericea. End Peak.

    • discolor. End Peak and Hump.

    • Traversii. Hump.

    • coriacea. End Peak and Hump.

    • Petriei. End Peak.

    • longifolia. Common.

    • laricifolia. End Peak.

    • sessiliflora. End Peak and Hump.

    • argentea. End Peak and Hump.

    • sp. pps. distinct. Hump.

    • Gnaphalium luteo-album. End Peak; common.

    • Traversii var. Mackayi. Hump.

    • Raoulia tenuicaulis. End Peak.

    • sp. var. Blue Cliff.

    • Erechtites glabrescens. Common.

    • prenanthoides. Common.

    • Helichrysum bellidioides. End Peak.

    • grandiceps. End Peak.

    • Senecio Lyallii. End Peak and Hump.

    [Footnote] * Descriptions of most of new species mentioned herein will be found in the next article of this volume.

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    • Senecio revolutus. End Peak and Hump.

    • elaeagnifolius. End Peak and Hump.


    • Forstera sedifolia. End Peak.

    • tenella. Hump.


    • Pratia angulata. Common.

    • Isotoma fluviatilis. Outlet of lake.


    • Gaultheria antipoda. End Peak.

    • antipoda var. depressa. Hump.


    • Pentachondra pumila.

    • Cyathodes acerosa. Common.

    • pumila.

    • Archera Traversii.
    • Dracophyllum muscoides. End Peak and Hump.

    • uniflorum. End Peak and Hump.

    • Menziesii. Hump.

    • longifolium. Common.


    • Myrsine Urvillei.

    • divaricata.


    • Gentiana patula. End Peak.

    • corymbifera. End Peak.

    • flaccida (Petrie) sp. nov. Hump.


    • Myosotis antarctica.


    • Dichondra brevifolia.


    • Gratiola peruviana. End Peak.

    • Veronica Lyallii. End Peak.

    • Hectori. End Peak and Hump.

    • buxifolia End Peak and Hump.

    • salicifolia. Common both sides of lake.

    • Ourisia macrophylla. End Peak and Hump.

    • sp. End Peak.

    • caespitosa. End Peak.

    • Euphrasia australis (Petrie) sp. nov. End Peak.


    • Muehlenbeckia axillaris. Common.

    • adpressa. End Peak.


    • Drapetes Dieffenbachii. End Peak.

    • Pimelea arenaria. End Peak.

    • laevigata. Hump.

    • laevigata var. alpina. Hump.


    • Tupeia antarctica. Common.

    • Loranthus Colensoi. Common.


    • Fagus cliffortioides. End Peak bush.

    • Solandri. End Peak bush.

    • Menziesii. End Peak bush.


    • Phyllocladus alpina. End Peak and Hump bushes.

    • trichomanoides. End Peak and Hump bushes.

    • Dacrydium cupressinum. Common.

    • laxifolium. Common.

    • Bidwillii. Common.

    • Podocarpus ferruginea. Common.

    • spicata. Common.

    • totara. Common.

    • Hallii. Scarce.


    • Dendrobium Cunninghamii. Common.

    • Earina suaveolens. Common.

    • mucronata. Common.

    • Corysanthes rotundifolia. End Peak bush.

    • rivularis. End Peak bush.

    • Caladenia Lyallii. Hump.

    • Lyperanthus antarcticus. Hump.

    • Gastrodia Cunninghamii. Hump.


    • Astelia montana. End Peak and Hump.

    • nervosa. End Peak and Hump.

    • linearis. End Peak and Hump.

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    • Phormium tenax. End Peak and Hump.  Hymenophyllum dilatatum. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Cookii. End Peak.  demissum. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Juncaceae.  scabrum. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Juncus novae-zelandiae.  flabellatum. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Centrolepidaceae.  rufescens. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Gaimardia setacea. End Peak and Hump.  unilaterale. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Cyperaceae.  multifidum. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Oreobolus pectinatus. End Peak.  bivalve. End Peak and head of lake.

    • Scirpus sp. End Peak.

    • inundatus. Lake-outlet. Trichomanes reniforme. Head of lake.

    • cernuus Hump.

    • Carpha alpina. End Peak.  Cyathea medullaris. Head of lake.

    • Carex flava. End Peak.  Hemitelia Smithii. Head of lake.

    • sp. End Peak. Dicksonia squarrosa. End Peak and Hump

    • sp. End Peak.

    • sp. End Peak. fibrosa. End Peak and Hump.

    • Uncinia tenella. End Peak.  Davallia novae-zealandiae. End Peak and Hump.

    • sp. End Peak.

    • Eleocharis acuta. Hump. Pteris aquilina. Common.

    • acuta var. Lake-outlet. incisa. Common.

    • Gramineae.  scaberula. Common.

    • Deyeuxia Forsteri var. humilior. End Peak. Lomaria Patersoni. Both sides of lake.

    • Forsteri var. End Peak. discolor. Common.

    • Forsteri var. pilosa. Hump. vulcanica.

    • (= Agrostis pilosa). Hump. lanceolata.

    • alpina. End Peak and Hump.

    • semi-aquatic form. Lake. capensis.

    • Microlaena avenacea. End Peak. fluviatilis.

    • Colensoi (= Ehrharta Colensoi). Hump. Asplenium flaccidum. Common.

    • bulbiferum. Common.

    • Hierochloe redolens. End Peak. Aspidium aculeatum.

    • Agrostis Dyeri. End Peak. Polypodium pennigerum. Head of lake.

    • Deschampsia novae-zealandiae. End Peak and Hump. grammitidis. Common.

    • caespitosa. Hump. sp.

    • Danthonia (?) barbata (Petrie) sp. nov. End Peak. Billardieri.

    • Gleichenia Cunninghamii.

    • Todea superba.

    • Filices. hymenophylloides.

    • Hymenophyllum rarum. End Peak and head of lake. Tmesipteris Forsteri.

    • polyanthos. End Peak and head of lake. Lycopodiaceae.

    • Lycopodium fastigiatum. End Peak and Hump.

    • pulcherrimum. End Peak and head of lake. Selago. End Peak and Hump.