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Volume 52, 1920
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Art. II.—Contributions to a Fuller Knowledge of the Flora of New Zealand. No. 7.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 22nd December, 1919; received by Editor, 31st December, 1919; issued separately, 4th June, 1920.]

Colobanthus Muelleri T. Kirk.

Dry ground near the verge of sea-cliffs, Manaia, Taranaki; Mrs. F. Mason! I am not aware of a more northern locality on the western side of the North Island.

Plagianthus cymosus T. Kirk.

Mr. Phillips Turner informs me that this species occurs in the valley of the McLennan River, a branch of the Tahakopa River, which flows into the sea about twenty miles south of Catlin's River, Otago. The locality is not far from the sea, and it would be interesting to ascertain whether both P. betulinus and P. divaricatus are to be found in the vicinity. In the Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora vol. 1, pl. 21) I have hinted at the probable hybrid origin of the plant.

Gunnera arenaria Cheesm.

Moist sandy places on the coast near Manaia, Taranaki; Mrs. F. Mason! Not previously recorded between New Plymouth and Patea, but probably always to be found in damp places on sand-dunes of any extent.

Eugenia maire A. Cunn.

So far as I am aware, no one has recorded the presence of pneumatophores in Eugenia maire. They were first brought to my notice by Mr. Colin Stewart, late of Mangatai, Mokau, who supposed that they were connected with the remarkable floating roots of Freycinetia Banksii, mentioned farther on in this paper. The mistake is a very natural one to make in a wooded swamp, where the roots of both species are almost inextricably mixed. As Eugenia is plentiful in swampy gullies at Birkdale, near Auckland, I induced Mr. F. S. Fisher, a resident in the locality, to make a careful search, which resulted in proving that the pneumatophores were abundant in most suitable localities. At a later date I visited the district under Mr. Fisher's guidance, and was able to prepare the following notes.

The pneumatophores of Eugenia maire rise from the ordinary roots of the tree, and reach a height of 9 in. to 18 in. above the level of the ground. They are about ¼ in. in diameter at the surface of the ground, seldom more, and are rigidly erect, and usually fasciculately branched. The ultimate shoots are ⅙–⅛ in. in diameter, cylindric, faintly constricted here and there. They somewhat resemble the branches of Salicornia in

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appearance, but are not jointed, and are much more stiffly erect. They are obtuse and frequently swollen at the tip, spongy or corky, but are always furnished with a hard woody central axis. The young and growing part of the pneumatophore is usually coloured a reddish pink. When old and apparently ceasing to perform its duties as an air-breather the outside layers die, and are thrown off in thin whitish flakes. No pneumatophores were noticed bearing leaves; but many of them give off thin slender shoots which turn downwards at an acute angle and, entering the ground, assume the appearance of true roots. The contrast between the stiffly erect true pneumatophores and the thinner branches all turning sharply downwards is very remarkable. It is much to be desired that some one would work out the anatomical peculiarities of these curious structures.

Aciphylla Cuthbertiana Petrie.

I have to thank Mr. James Speden, of Gore, for an excellent suite of specimens of this distinct species, collected on The Hump, near Lake Hauroko, at an elevation of about 3,000 ft.

Coxella Dieffenbachii Cheesem.

Mr. E. R. Chudleigh informs me that until comparatively recent years Coxella was fairly abundant on the north-east to north-west slopes of Cape Young (Mairangi), on the north side of Chatham Island, and may still linger there. Originally the plant was more or less abundant on the whole of the cliffs of the northern side, but has been destroyed by sheep in all localities to which they can gain access.

Angelica rosaefolia Hook.

Sea-cliffs near Manaia, Taranaki; Mrs. F. Mason! Not previously recorded anywhere on the coast-line south of New Plymouth.

Panax Edgerleyi Hook. f.

I am indebted to Mr. W. Martin, of Christchurch, for a specimen of this, gathered in forest at Akaroa. It is not mentioned in Mr. Laing's valuable paper on the “Vegetation of Banks Peninsula,” nor in the earlier lists of Raoul and Armstrong. At the same time, considering its distribution elsewhere in New Zealand, it is precisely one of those species that might be reasonably expected to occur.

Gnaphalium Lyallii Hook, f.

Damp places on sea-cliffs near Manaia, Taranaki; Mrs. F. Mason! As this handsome plant has been gathered northwards at Opunake by the late Mr. T. Kirk, and to the south at Waingongoro by Dr. Cockayne, we may assume that it is probably abundant on the Taranaki sea-coast to the south of Cape Egmont.

Cotula coronopifolia Linn.

Var. ïntegrifolia T. Kirk is certainly nothing more than a starved diminutive form. On the railway reclamations on the foreshore of Auckland Harbour it has appeared in immense abundance during the last two or three years, chiefly in places where water has stagnated in winter or

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spring. The ordinary form of the species, which is abundant in the same locality, when growing in good soil and plentifully supplied with moisture has numerous branching stems, creeping below but ascending at the tips, and has an average-height of from 5 in. to 10 in. From that it passes imperceptibly into much smaller states, in which the stems are unbranched, the leaves linear and entire, and the flower-heads much smaller and solitary, thus constituting the so-called variety. When seeds are abundantly produced, and the surrounding area is unoccupied, multitudes of seedlings appear, so closely packed and so reduced in size as to resemble patches of moss when seen from a little distance. The individual stems, in such cases, are often not more than ½ in. in height, bearing 2 or 3 minute leaves, and with a solitary flower 1 mm. in diameter. A patch of these seedlings, measuring 2 in. by 1¼ in., contained no fewer than 343 separate plants, the tallest of which was under 1 in. in height, Another piece, cut out of a patch some yards in extent, and measuring 1½ in. by 1 in., contained 213 separate plants. A yard square, if covered in a similar manner—and several such instances were observed—would contain at least half a million plants.

Dracophyllum Townsoni Cheesem.

Mr. James Speden, of Gore, sends me specimens of this, gathered at an elevation of 3,000 ft. on The Hump, near Lake Hauroko. Mr. Speden informs me that he frequently observed leaves over 2 ft. in length, thus equalling those of D. latifolium and D. Traversii. None of the specimens of D. Townsoni sent to me by its discoverer has leaves much over 12 in., but Mr. Townson informs me that possibly small specimens were selected for convenience of carriage. Mr. Speden's plant has the peculiar decurved lateral panicle of D. Townsoni, but he saw no branched specimens.

Solanum aviculare Forst. var. albiflora Cheesem. n. var.

It has long been known that although this species ordinarily produces purplish flowers, yet occasionally white-flowered specimens are seen; but no one seems to have observed that in such cases the colour of the stems and of the veins of the leaves is also affected. As far back as 1880 I noticed that in white-flowered specimens observed by myself at Buckland the aspect of the plant was somewhat different from that of the purple-flowered variety; and at various times since then the same thought has occurred to me, but I failed to carry the inquiry any further. Early in 1915, however, Mr. W. Townson observed that the white-flowered variety was by no means rare near Pukekohe (Auckland District), and was induced to pay a little attention to it. He ascertained that not even one single white flower is ever produced on a purple-flowered plant. He also established the fact that on a white-flowered plant the leaves are pale green, and much thinner and more delicate in texture, so that the whole plant has a more slender and graceful appearance; and the stems and veins of the leaves are pale-greenish or yellowish-green. On the other hand, the plants with purple flowers have coarser leaves, and the veins of the leaves and the stems are purplish or brownish-purple.

Mr. James Graham, of Patumahoe, has also investigated the matter. He informs me that, having noticed several plants with white flowers on the earthworks of the Waiuku railway, he collected a number of seeds and had them sown in the Patumahoe School garden. About thirty plants

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were raised, all of which have the thin leaves and yellowish veins of the white-flowered variety. All the plants that have flowered up to the present time have borne white flowers. The facts thus collected by Mr. Townson and Mr. Graham may be taken as a satisfactory proof that the white-flowered plant constitutes a stable variety, “coming true” from seed, and well worth distinguishing by a varietal name.

Atriplex Billardieri Hook. f.

Sandy shores of Matakana Island, between Tauranga and Katikati; a few plants only; T. F. C. This plant is singularly rare, and is seldom seen in any quantity. I am not aware that it has been gathered in any locality on the western side of either the North or the South Island.

Pimelea Gnidia Willd.

Mr. W. Townson has forwarded specimens gathered on the summit of a lofty hill between the Kauaeranga River and the Hihi Stream, Thames. This is at least 150 miles from the nearest part of the Ruahine Mountains, the most northerly locality previously known.

Tupeia antarctica Cham. & Schl.

I am indebted to Mr. B. E. Sixtus, of Umutai, on the western flanks of the Ruahine Range, for specimens of this, parasitic on Olea Cunninghamii, which is quite a new host so far as my own knowledge is concerned.

Dactylanthus Taylori Hook. f.

Mr. W. Townson, so well known from his fruitful botanical exploration of the Westport district, but now resident at the Thames, has been fortunate enough to discover this remarkable plant in great abundance in the elevated forest district lying north-east from the town of Thames. So far as I can judge, this is a continuation of the locality where it was observed by the late Mr. T. Kirk in April, 1869 (see Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 2, pp. 94–95). Mr. Townson informs me that it can be observed for several miles along what is known as “Crosby's Track,” and that he is acquainted with at least six separate stations. In all cases the host was Schefflera digitata, as is usual in the northern portion of the Auckland Provincial District. The rhizome attains a considerable size, the largest seen weighing over 6 lb. As the result of the examination of very numerous specimens Mr. Townson has definitely proved that the mature plant is monoecious, the male and female spadices being produced on the same rhizome, and often side by side. The male spadices, however, are the more numerous. All observers have pronounced the flowers to be highly fragrant, but disagree as to the nature of the perfume. Mr. Townson states that it resembles that of a “ripe rock-melon,” but he also says that “like many perfumes, it may also pass into a bad smell when too concentrated.” He also remarks that on one occasion he “kept a large rhizome for a considerable time in a back room, where it gradually expanded its flowers. The scent was so attractive to flies that all day long it was surrounded by a little crowd of them.” No doubt this points to the fertilization of the plant through insect agency. The flowering season appears to last, at the Thames, from the middle of March to the middle of April.

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Urtica ferox Forst.

Mr. T. H. Trevor has discovered another locality for this species in the Bay of Islands County, a few miles distant from the Ngamahanga wahi-tapu mentioned in my last contribution to this series (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 51, p. 89). This makes it probable that the plant may be observed in other stations north of Auckland. For a new southern locality I am indebted to Mr. A. Allison, who informs me that it is not uncommon at the base of the Paeroa Range, between Waiotapu and Orakei-korako.

Freycinetia Banksii A. Cunn.

I am not aware that any one has recorded the presence of curious floating roots in Freycinetia Banksii. My first acquaintance with them was derived from a fragment forwarded by Mr. B. C. Aston last February, which was collected by Mr. Sidney Fry in the Totara Creek, a small tributary of the Mokau River, junctioning with it about eighteen miles above its mouth. This fragment presented several unusual features, and I was consequently glad to avail myself of the kind assistance of Mr. Colin Stewart, at that time residing in the locality, for obtaining a copious supply of specimens. These consisted of slender roots, often several feet in length, in which the central axis is firm and solid, but the cortical tissue very loose and open. These roots are copiously branched, the ultimate divisions being very numerous and filiform. The outstanding peculiarity of the roots, however, which at once attracts attention, is that they are regularly girdled, as it were; with conspicuous spongy or corky whitish rings. These give the roots a very remarkable appearance, so that Mr. Fry, their original discoverer, describes them as “waving about with the disturbing currents like so many worms, their brown segmented forms, with the whitish sheaths encircling them at intervals, giving them the appearance of ringed worms.”

Mr. Colin Stewart, in endeavouring to find the origin of the roots, considered that he had traced them to a tree which I have identified as Eugenia maire, the branches, leaves, and pneumatophores of which he sent. But this I believe to be a very pardonable mistake. A lengthened search at Birkdale, in a swampy district where both Eugenia and Freycinetia are abundant, and in which I had the assistance of Mr. F. S. Fisher and Mr. John Bishop, resulted in showing that while it was comparatively easy to connect the floating roots with Freycinetia, and the pneumatophores, with Eugenia, all attempts to trace the floating roots to Eugenia failed.

The exact use of these “floating” roots in Freycinetia must remain doubtful until their anatomical structure has been investigated, but in all probability they may be looked upon as “breathing-roots.”

Juncus scheuchzerioides Gaud.

This is one of the species added to the florula of Macquarie Island by Mr. H. Hamilton, during the stay of a portion of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition on that island during the years-1911—13. It is a true circumpolar plant, having been recorded from the Auckland and Campbell Islands, Antipodes Islands, Fuegia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Crozets, and Kerguelen Islands.

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Scirpus aucklandicus Boeck.

This also has been collected on Macquarie Island for the first time by Mr. H. Hamilton. Its existence thereon might have been safely predicted, seeing that it is the most common species of the genus on the islands to the south of New Zealand. It has also been recorded from Tasmania and from the isolated Amsterdam Island, but both these localities require fuller confirmation.

Carex trifida Cav.

Fringing swamp-holes on flats at West Point, Macquarie Island; H. Hamilton ! Apparently not common, for Mr. Hamilton remarks on his labels that it was seen only in the locality quoted above. The geographical distribution of the species is given in the Manual.

Triodia macquariensis Cheesem.

“Apparently perennial, tufted, often forming dense patches, smooth and glabrous. Culms numerous, erect or geniculate at the base, 6—12 cm. long, leafy to the base of the panicle. Leaves equalling the culms or longer than them, rather narrow, 1—2 mm. broad, deeply striate, quite glabrous, flat or involute, margins thickened, tips obtuse, callous; ligules broad ovate, thin and membranous; sheaths unusually long, much broader than the blades, sometimes as much as 5 mm. across, smooth, pale, and membranous. Panicle narrow, glabrous, 2—3 cm. long; branches few, short, erect. Spikelets 6—15, 3—5-flowered, 6—7 mm. long, the lowest flower sessile at the base of the spikelet, the upper usually remote from one another. Empty glumes unequal, the lower half to two-thirds the length of the upper, glabrous, oblong, obtuse, 3-nerved. Flowering-glumes, ovate or broadly ovate-oblong, rounded at the back, not keeled, 5-nerved, glabrous or very faintly pubescent on the nerves, minutely 3-toothed at the tip or irregularly erose. Palea broad, 2-keeled, the keels ciliolate. Lodicules 2, acute.

“Hab.—Macquarie Island, rocks and cliffs near the coast; H. Hamilton! (1912–13).

“Mr. Hamilton remarks that this is a common coastal grass, found in crevices in bare rock or on the cliffs. Some of his specimens are plentifully mixed with Tillaea moschata or Colobanthus muscoides, both plants common in littoral situations. Scraps of Callitriche antarctica are also present. Its discovery adds another species to the list of those endemic in Macquarie Island, of which three species are now known—Deschampsia penicillata, poa Hamiltoni, and Triodia macquariensis. I have found it a puzzling plant to place. It differs from Poa principally, in the flowering-glumes being rounded on the back, and minutely 3-toothed (or irregularly erose) at the tip. It agrees with Atropis in the flowering-glumes being rounded on the back, but differs in habit, and in the 3-toothed tip of the flowering-glumes. Although not a typical Triodia, it must be kept in the vicinity of the New Zealand T. australis.”

The above has appeared in my memoir on “The Vascular Flora of Macquarie Island,” published in the Scientific Reports of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. I reproduce it here to draw fuller attention to the species, which may occur in the islands to the south of New Zealand.

Festuca erecta D'Urville.

Macquarie Island, not uncommon on rocks near the sea; Dr. Scott, A. Hamilton! H. Hamilton! This is the plant described as a new species

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by Mr. T. Kirk, under the name of F. contracta (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 27, p. 353). Kirk had only two very indifferent specimens to-deal with; but, fortunately, Mr. H. Hamilton secured a fair number of specimens. An examination of these proved that the plant was either very closely allied to the Fuegian and Kerguelen Festuca erecta D'Urville or positively identical with it. There being no authenticated specimens of F.erecta in New Zealand, I applied to Dr. Stapf, of the Kew Herbarium, with the, view of having a comparison made. This he has kindly done, with the result of proving that the Macquarie Island plant is identical with F. erecta. This is practically a circumpolar species, having been recorded from Fuegia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Kerguelen Island.

Cyathea medullaris Swartz.

I am not aware that any actual measurements of the height of this species have been published. In books it is usually given as “from 10 ft. to 40 ft. high,” but it certainly attains a much greater height. With the view of putting some definite information on record, I induced Mr. E. Le Roy to measure the height of two fine specimens growing in a ravine on his property at Birkenhead. He informs me that the smaller of the two is 39 ft. to the crown; the other one being 46 ft. to the crown, and 50 ft. to the top of the fronds. As I have seen taller specimens, we can safely conclude that it occasionally reaches between 60 ft. and 65 ft. in height.

Dicksonia squarrosa Swartz

Mr. Le Roy has also been kind enough to measure the height of two specimens of Dicksonia squarrosa. The higher one measured 23 ft. 8 in. to the crown, and 27 ft. to the top of the fronds; the other proved to be 19 ft. 6 in. to the crown and 21 ft. to the top of the fronds.

Nothochlaena distans R. Br.

The late Mr. H C. Field, in his book, Ferns of New Zealand (p. 88, and pl. xxviii, fig. 4), alludes to a supposed new Cheilanthes collected by Mr. A. C. Purdie near Dunedin. The description given is inconclusive, and the figure does not show sufficient detail to enable the generic position of the plant to be made out. In default of any specimens I consequently did not allude to it in the Manual.

Rather more than a year ago, however, Professor A. Wall forwarded a specimen of a fern collected in clefts in basaltic rocks at Diamond Harbour, a bay of Port Lyttelton, suggesting that it might prove to be Mr. Field's plant. In this view I concurred, but as the specimen showed no signs of sori it was impossible to fix its systematic position. Professor Wall has now forwarded an ample series of specimens in all stages, proving, as he says, that the plant is only a shade form of Nothochlaena distans. It usually occurred in deep crevices entirely shaded from the sun, and is consequently not so rigid nor so well covered with linear scales as the typical state, which is frequently seen in dry situations in the Auckland lava-fields. In the ramification of the frond, and in the position and character of the sori, the two plants are practically identical.

Naturalized Plants.

Eschscholtzia californica Cham.

This plant, which is sparingly naturalized as a garden escape, appears to be poisonous to stock, judging from the following particulars supplied to me by Mr. T. H. Trevor, of Pakaraka, Bay of Islands. He

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removed the fence from, an abandoned garden, exposing a few plants of the Eschscholtzia. A bull running in the paddock ate a few leaves and was seriously affected, but ultimately recovered. The plants were then grubbed up and destroyed, and no further symptoms were noticed among the cattle. Unfortunately, it was not observed that a large number of seedlings had appeared in the neighbourhood of the old plants, so that when a number of lambs were placed in the paddock they were at once affected, half a dozen dying within an hour. At first they appeared to be silly, then lost the use of their limbs, and died frothing at the mouth.

Psoralea pinnata Linn.

Mr. R. Waters sends me specimens of this from the neighbourhood of Dargaville, where it is said to be spreading fast. I have also observed it by roadsides at Birkdale, near Auckland. The only previous record is Waipu (see Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 46, p. 8).

Chrysanthemum coronarium Linn.

This well-known garden-plant has appeared as an escape from cultivation in several localities near Auckland. It has also established itself on the railway reclamations along the side of Auckland Harbour. It is a common plant in the Mediterranean region, extending southwards to the Azores, and has often appeared as a naturalized plant in Britain.

Senecio spathulatus A. Rich.

This species, which is allied to the New Zealand S. lautus Forst, has appeared in great quantities on the Harbour Board and railway reclamations fringing Auckland Harbour, and is fast making its way into waste places within the City of Auckland itself. It has probably been accidentally introduced from Australia, where it is known from several localities, and particularly from “sandy shores in Port Jackson” (Sydney Harbour). I am indebted to Dr. Maiden, of the Sydney Botanical Gardens, for asking his assistant, Mr. Cheel, to make a special report on my specimens of the plant, with which I have been somewhat puzzled. He informs me that, although it comes under the circumscription of S. spathulatus as defined by Mr. Bentham in the Flora Australiensis, all the New South Wales specimens, as well as all my own, have pubescent achenes and 2-nerved involucral bracts, thus agreeing with the description of S. anacampserotis DC, and differing from the type description of S. spathulatus, which is said to have the fruit “linearis striatus glaber.” Mr. Cheel considers it to be an open question whether S. anacampserotis should not be reestablished as a species.

Juncus acutiflorus Ehr.

Moist gullies at Pukeatua, West Taupo County; D. Retrie! I am indebted to Mr. Petrie for specimens of this species, which has not been previously noticed as introduced into New Zealand. I understand that the specimens were identified by Dr. Stapf, of the Kew Herbarium.

Festuca fallax Thuill. and F. dura Host.

I have also to thank Mr. Petrie for specimens of these two plants, which have been identified by Dr. Stapf under the names given above—in the case of the second one with some little doubt. In a broad sense they would doubtless be treated as forms of the widespread F. rubra Linn.