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Volume 44, 1911
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Art. XV.—A New Genus and some New Species of Plants.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 28th November, 1911.]

1. Alectryon grandis Cheesem. sp. nov.

Arbor 15-pedalis et ultra; ramulis sericeo- et ferrugineo-pubescentibus. Folia pinnata, alterna, breviter petiolata, 22–30 cm. longa; foliola 2–3-juga, brevissime petiolata, late oblonga vel ovato-oblonga, obtusa vel subacuta, 10–18 cm. longa, 5–9 cm. lata, praeter costam venasque primarias plus minusve sericeo-pubescentia; venis ultimis conspicue reticulatis, subtus elevatis. Flores ignoti.

Hab.—Cliffs on the north side of the Three Kings Islands; a single small clump alone seen. T.F. C.

This is the plant referred to at page 103 of the Manual under the name of Alectryon excelsum var. grandis. Although no doubt existed as to its being a distinct species, I have deferred describing it as such, in the hope that some visitor to the Three Kings Islands might return with flowering specimens. But, as twenty-two years have elapsed since its original discovery without producing any additional information, it seems advisable to publish it without further delay. As the islands are now visited at least once every year, I trust that the publicity drawn to the plant may result in its rediscovery.

A. grandis can be distinguished from A. excelsum without the slightest difficulty by the small number of leaflets to each leaf, and by their shape and much greater size. In A. excelsum the leaflets are 2–4 in. long, and are ovate-lanceolate in shape; whereas in A. grandis they are 4—7 in. in length, and are broadly oblong or ovate-oblong. They are also firmer in texture, and much more obtuse.

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2. Coxella Cheesem. et Hemsl. in Illustr. N.Z. Flora, t. 64 (ined.), nov. gen.

Herba erecta, perennis, glabra. Folia pinnatim decomposita; segmentis linearibus, planis, flaccidis, non spinescentibus. Umbellae compositae, axillares, pedunculatae, in paniculam dispositae. Involucri bracteae paucae, parvae, anguste lanceolatae. Flores albi. Calycis dentes prominuli. Petala latiuscula, acumine brevi inflexo. Fructus late oblongus, a dorso compressus, subequaliter 5-alatus; alis latis, tenuibus, membranaceis. Carpella a dorso valde compressa, altero 3-alato, altero 2-alato; vittae magnae, sub valleculis solitariae vel duae. Carpophorum 2-partitum. Semen ad vittas sulcatum.

C. Dieffenbachii Cheesem. et Hemsl., l.c., species unica. Gingidium Dieffenbachii F. Muell., Veg. Chat., 17, t. 1. Ligusticum Dieffenbachii Hook. f., Handb. N.Z. Fl., 729. Angelica Dieffenbachii, Index Kew, 1, 133. Aciphylla Dieffenbachii T. Kirk, Students' Fl., 211; Cheesem., Man. N.Z. Fl., 214.

Hab.—Chatham Islands: Maritime cliffs.; now exceedingly scarce. H. H. Travers! F. A. D. Cox! Captain Dorrien Smith!

A very remarkable plant, of doubtful position. A glance at the synonyms quoted above shows that it has been placed by turns in the genera Gingidium, Ligusticum, Angelica, and Aciphylla. From the typical Ligustica it differs markedly in the flattened and conspicuously winged fruit, one carpel being 3-winged and the other 2-winged, or very rarely both carpels may be 3-winged. The vittae are unusually large, and are either 1 or 2 in the interspaces, with 2 or 3 on the commisural face. From Angelica it is separated by the equally winged fruit, in the smaller number of wings (or ribs), and in the number being unequal in the two carpels. It has much of the habit of Aciphylla, although the leaves and bracts are never spinescent, but differs in the flattened and winged carpels, and in the smaller number of wings (or ribs) to each carpel, to say nothing of the much larger vittae. Believing that it is best treated as a separate genus, Mr. Hemsley and myself have given it the name of Coxella in the forthcoming “Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora,” in which a carefully prepared plate with full analytical details will appear.

The name Coxella is used to commemorate the services to botanical science of Mr. F. A. D. Cox, of Whangamarino, Chatham Islands. During a lengthened residence in this outlying corner of the Dominion Mr. Cox has regularly and consistently collected specimens of the flora of the islands. These he has communicated to most New Zealand botanists, accompanying them with much valuable information. It is largely through his assistance in supplying material that our present knowledge of the Chatham Islands florula is in such a satisfactory position.

In an interesting paper prepared by Captain Dorrien Smith, entitled “An Attempt to introduce Olearia semi-dentata into the British Islands,” published in the Kew Bulletin for 1910 (pp. 120–26), which contains much information of value respecting the vegetation of the Chatham Islands, Captain Dorrien Smith gives an account of a visit to the only known locality for Coxella, near the south end of the main island. This is accompanied by an excellent photograph of the plant in its natural habitat.

3. Coprosma neglecta Cheesem. sp. nov.

Ab C. rhamnoides differt caule prostrato, ramulis et petiolis dense et breviter pubescentibus, foliis crassis et subcarnosis, baccis (immaturis) oblongis.

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Fruticulus prostratus, divaricatim ramosus; ramulis validis dense cano-pubescentibus. Folia parva, 10–15 mm. longa, 5–12 mm. lata, oblonga vel rotundato-oblonga vel orbiculata, obtusa, petiolata, crassa et subcarnosa, marginibus recurvis, venis subtus conspicuis. Flores non visi. Bacca (immatura) parva, oblonga, 5–6 mm. longa.

Hab.—North Island: On the faces of cliffs near the North Cape; January, 1896. T.F.C.

A much-branched prostrate shrub 2–5 ft. long; branches wide-spreading; bark greyish-brown; branchlets stout or slender, the ultimate ones uniformly clothed with a fine greyish pubescence, which often extends up the petioles to the main veins of the leaves. Leaves very variable in shape and size, usually ⅓–½ in. long by ¼–½ in. wide, oblong or oblong spathulate to broadly oblong or orbicular, sometimes broader than long and thus transversely oblong, obtuse, usually narrowed into a rather slender petiole, but sometimes rounded or truncate at the base, thick and somewhat fleshy, margins recurved, veins reticulated, conspicuous beneath. Flowers not seen, but apparently terminating short lateral branchlets. Drupe (immature) about ⅕–¼ in. long, oblong.

As a rule, it is not advisable to describe species of Coprosma unless either good flowers or ripe fruit have been obtained. In this instance, however, the creeping habit, slender branchlets clothed with a fine and even greyish-white pubescence, the thick and fleshy broad obtuse leaves, and the fact that the immature fruit is oblong are characters which in combination remove it from all described species.

4. Myosotis Laingii Cheesem. sp. nov.

M. laetae simillima et forsitan ejus varietas, sed differt caulibus altioribus et floribus multo majoribus.

Perennis, undique pilis albidis copiose vestitus. Rami floriferi graciles, ascendentes, 30–45 cm. alti. Folia radicalia numerosa, longe graciliterque petiolata, 7–15 cm. longa, supra et infra pilis albidis obsita; folia caulina minora, superiorum sessilia. Racemi terminales, pedunculati, simplices aut rarissime furcati. Flores flavi, breviter pedicellati. Calyx elongatus, cylindraceus, lobis linearibus. Corolla anguste campanulata, 16 mm. longa, 10 mm. lata; tubus cylindraceus, fauce gibbis emarginatis instructa. Stamina 5, sub fauci affixa; filamentis elongatis; antheris majusculis, linearibus.

Hab.—South Island: Kaikoura Mountains; J. Buchanan! Wairau Gorge; T.F.C. Lake Tennyson; R. M. Laing! Altitudinal range from 2,500 ft. to 4,500 ft.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Perennial, everywhere clothed with copious soft white hairs. Flowering-stems several from the root, slender, decumbent below, erect above, 12–18 in. high. Radical leaves numerous, 3–6 in. long; blade about half the length, linear- or lanceolate-spathulate, obtuse or subacute, gradually narrowed into the very long and slender petiole, membranous, both surfaces clothed with soft white hairs, midrib distinct. Cauline leaves much smaller, the lower shortly petioled, the upper sessile. Racemes many-flowered, usually simple, rarely forked. Flowers large, crowded, ½–3/4 in. long, yellow, shortly pedicelled. Calyx long and narrow, 5-partite; lobes linear, acute. Corolla narrow-campanulate; tube about half the length; throat with 5 emarginate scales; limb large, deeply lobed, the lobes oblong, obtuse. Stamens with slender elongated filaments, which are inserted just below the scales; anthers large, narrow-linear, reaching halfway up the corolla-lobes. Ripe nutlets not seen.

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Many years ago the late Mr. Buchanan gave me two specimens of this plant, collected in some locality in the Kaikoura Mountains; and I have gathered what appears to be the same at the Wairoa Gorge. In the Manual I included both of them with my M. laeta, although they obviously differed in the much greater size of all their parts. I have now received good recent specimens, collected by Mr. R. M. Laing, and from their study have come to the conclusion that they represent a distinct species, although closely allied to M. laeta. I have much pleasure in associating the plant with the name of Mr. Laing, who is so well known from his long-continued researches into the Algae of New Zealand.

5. Corysanthes Carsei Cheesem. sp. nov.

Ab C. unguiculata R. Br. differt floribus angustioribus, labello apiculo minore, sepalo postico emarginato.

Planta perpusilla, acaulis, florifera 8–12 mm. alta. Folium solitarium, membranaceum, ovato-cordatum, acutum, 6–10 mm. longum. Flos solitarius, pro planta majusculus, horizontalis vel deflexus, supra folium subsessilis. Sepalum posticum basi angustum, tunc lato-cucullatum, apice incurvatum et emarginatum. Sepala lateralia parva, linearia. Labellum magnum, 10 mm. longum, orbiculatum, marginibus valde involutis. Columna brevis, curvata.

Hab.—North Island: Peaty swamps between Lake Tongonge and the coast, Mongonui County; H. Carse and H. B. Matthews!

A small delicate species, ½–⅔ in. high when in flower. Leaf sessile, ¼–½ in. long, ovate-cordate, acute, membranous. Flower sessile or very shortly pedunculate, about ½ in. long, horizontal or deflexed, dull-purplish Upper sepal very narrow at the base, then suddenly expanded, so that the upper two-thirds is broadly oblong and hood-shaped, extreme tip incurved and emarginate and slightly thickened and papillose. Lateral sepals placed under the lip, small, narrow-linear, 4–5 mm. long. Lateral petals still smaller, 3 mm. long. Lip large, tubular, the margins involute, meeting behind the column and enclosing it, orbicular or broader than long when spread out, extreme tip produced into a minute projecting lamina, between which and the overhanging emarginate tip of the upper sepal is the only entrance to the front of the flower. Immediately inside the entrance the surface of the lip is furnished with a broad patch of stiff papillae all pointing towards the interior of the flower, and which is continued as a narrow band down the median line of the lip. At the base of the lip the margins on each side are rolled up on themselves, thus forming two minute circular openings leading to the base of the flower. Column short, stout, curved. Capsule not seen.

This is a very curious little plant, closely allied to the Australian C. unguiculata; but, judging from Mr. Fitzgerald's beautiful drawing, that species has a much broader flower, the upper sepal is wider and not incurved or emarginate at the tip, the projecting lamina at the apex of the lip is much smaller, and the papillae within the lip are confined to the median line, whereas they also form a broad patch to the right and left of the median line in C. Carsei. There is also a relationship to C. Matthewsii; but, among other differences, it has a much narrower dorsal sepal, and the lip wants the projecting lamina of C. Carsei.

The numerous additions made to the orchid flora of the North Cape district by Mr. R. H. Matthews, and the discovery of the present species by Messrs. Carse and H. B. Matthews, shows how much might be done by careful investigation in most parts of the Dominion.