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Volume 49, 1916
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Art. II.—Notes on Parsonsia capsularis R. Br.

[Received by Editors, 30th December, 1916, issued separately, 28th June, 1917.]

For some years I have noted two very distinct forms of Parsonsia capsularis R. Br.—one, the small-flowered form described in the Manual of the New Zealand Flora, which appears to occur freely in the North Island, and perhaps in parts of the South Island, and another with much larger flowers, which appears to be much more restricted in its habitat.

When I heard of Dr. Cockayne's var. rosea* I communicated with him, forwarding him specimens of the large-flowered variety for comparison.

[Footnote] * This is Parsonsia rosea Raoul reduced to a var of P capsularis: see L Cockayne, Notes on the Plant Covering of Kennedy's Bush and other Scenic Reserves of the Port Hills Canterbury, Rep. on Scenery Preservation for 1915, p. 14.

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His opinion was that the two plants, while undoubtedly within the circumscription of Parsonsia capsularis R. Br., differ in certain respects, and that my northern plant should be accorded a varietal designation. He further suggested that the small-flowered form should also be named as a variety, the conception Parsonsia capsularis being evidently an aggregate of three, and probably more, distinct forms.

I take this opportunity of heartily thanking Dr. L. Cockayne, F.R.S., for the assistance he has afforded me in this connection.

Parsonsia capsularis R. Br. var. parviflora Carse var. nov.

Frutex tenuis ramosus scandens. Folia valde polymorpha, plantarum juvenilium 30–75 mm. longa, angusto-linearia, lanceolata, vel spathulata, integra, sinuato- vel inaequi-lobata; plantarum maturarum variabilia, angusto-linearia, 25–100 mm. longa, 2–5 mm. lata, oblonga vel oblongo-lanceolata, 25–75 mm. longa, 12.5–20 mm. lata, obtusa vel subacuta, coriacea, margine plerumque integerrima. Cymi pauci- vel multi-flori, axillari vel terminales Flores parvi ± 3 mm. longi. Lobi calycis corollae tubum aequantes. Corolla campanulata, lobi revoluti. Antherae exsertae.

This is the slender climber, with small creamy flowers, which is not uncommon in the localities stated above. In the North Island, so far as I am acquainted with it, it usually occurs in open hilly woods. I take it to be the original Periploca capsularis Forst. f., but before this can be finally determined specimens must be examined from the neighbourhood of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Parsonsia capsularis R. Br. var. grandiflora Carse var. nov.

Frutex ramosus scandens, quam var. parviflora robustior. Folia similiter polymorpha Cymi plerumque multiflori. Flores majores, rubri, vel luteo-rubri, nunquam rosei, 4–6 mm. longi. Corollae tubi lobos calycis equantes vel superantes.

North Island. Great Barrier Island: Colonel Boscawen, per Mr. Cheeseman! Whangarei district, Mangonui County: H. C. Usually in damp lowland situations.

A much more robust liane than var. parviflora. In most of my specimens the leaves are more or less ovate-lanceolate, but heterophyllous forms are not uncommon. At first glance this plant may easily be mistaken for Parsonsia heterophylla A. Cunn., but the exserted anthers at once place it under P. capsularis. The colour of the flowers varies from creamy-yellow to a red like the flesh of a pumpkin. Mr. Cheeseman describes Colonel Boscawen's specimen as having “orange-red flowers.” It is undoubtedly the same plant as occurs from Whangarei northward. From var. rosea it differs in the more robust habit and larger differently coloured flowers.

It is quite possible that the above variety may be Colenso's P. ochracea, though from his description (Trans N Z. Inst, vol 22, 1890, pp 480–81) I should say his was the small-flowered plant. His herbarium specimens appear to have been mislaid, so that at present it is not possible to compare them.