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Volume 88, 1960-61
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Contributions to the Knowledge of the New Zealand Bryophyte Flora

[Received by the Editor, May 25, 1959.]


One new moss species and three new varieties are described, one being of a Chilean species now reported for the first time from New Zealand. Sporophyte characteristics, previously unknown, are described for one of our little-known mosses. Of the hepatics, one new variety is described, two new combinations are made, and new localities are given for four rare species.


1. Brachythecium subpilosum (H.f. & W.) Jaeg. var. angustifolium var. nov.

A typo in foliis longioribus et angustioribus, auriculis plus distinctis differt.

On rotten stump and earth in open space in pine plantation, southern base of Flagstaff Hill, Dunedin; K. W. A, 9.5. 55. Type in herb. K. W. A., No. 5723, with duplicate in herb. G. O. K. Sainsbury.

The plant formed straggling light yellow patches amongst sparse grass: leaves narrow lanceolate, longly acuminate, plicate, nerved to about midleaf or rather more, alars large and conspicuous. Seta long and roughened with papillae.

The above points taken together will distinguish it from our other species of Brachythecium. It resembles some forms of B. salebrosum which, however, has a smooth seta and B. rutabulum which, with a rough seta, has much broader and smooth or only faintly plicate leaves.

This moss was submitted to G. O. J. Sainsbury and by him to Le Roy Andrews, who remarked that it could be a new species but that the genus was so difficult he could not be sure. E. B. Bartram reported that he could not match it with any species with which he was familiar but that it came near Brachythecium subpilosum. He noted that our plant had narrower, longer acuminate and more plicate leaves and was somewhat more glossy than this Chilean species. Specimens were also sent to the Swedish bryologist, Dr. Herman Persson, who at first considered them a new species, perhaps belonging to the closely related genus Camptothecium, but related to Japanese species of Brachythecium in which the alar leaf regions are also so well developed as to be subauriculate and the nerve divided at the apex into two short divisions as occasionally occurs in our plant. Eventually he agreed that it came close to B. subpilosum, although most of the specimens he had seen of that species had shorter and broader leaves.

2. Fissidens taylori C. M. var. sainsburiana var. nov.

F. pygmaeus Tayl. Lond. Journ of Bot., V. 66, 1846.

Sainsburia novae-zealandiae Dix. Bryologist 44: 40, 1941.

The genus Sainsburia was erected by H. N. Dixon for a plant agreeing with Fissidens except that the peristome teeth were entire or merely cracked somewhat along the middle, not divided wholly or deeply into two lobes as in that genus. Sainsbury recognised the great similarity of the plant to F. taylori and referred it to that species, considering it only a form.

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H. N. Dixon, however, considered the deviation in the peristome character entitled the plant to generic rank, probably on that account not comparing it with species of Fissidens. As far as known, there is no transition between F. Taylori with its bifid teeth and this variety where they are entire or merely cracked along the median line and erect when dry instead of incurved. In view of the importance of the peristome in moss taxonomy, the erection of a variety here seems justified. Sainsbury states that the type of F. pygmaeus Tayl. (already reduced to synonymy with F. taylori) has the teeth entire or nearly so; it is therefore included in this variety.

This variety has been reported from Western Australia, Victoria and Wairoa County in the North Island.

3. Fissidens epiphytus sp nov.

F. taylori affinis autem planta sterilis major, ad 10 mm, alta, tapetem formans: folia plurijuga, patentia, sicca minime mutata, lamina vaginans magna limbo bene notato. Plantae fertilae in caulibus sterilibus epiphyticae, eis multo breviores, 0.5–1.5 mm longae, folus paucis ut in F. taylori. Theca erecta dentes peristomii bifidi: sporae ad 36μ diametro. Plantae masculae 0.2–0.3 mm longae, in caulibus sterlibus epiphyticae.

Closely related to F. taylori but the sterile plants are much taller, up to 10 mm long, usually with 15–25 pairs of leaves. The blades of the vaginant lamina usually join between the nerve and the leaf margin, but occasionally at or very near the nerve, with the margins usually bordered. Female plants 0.5 to 1.5 mm high with 2 or 3 pairs of leaves, attached by rhizoids to the sterile stems. Male plants 0.2–0.3 mm high also attached by rhizoids to the sterile stems. Seta 4–5 mm long capsule and peristome as in F. taylori spores 36μ in diameter.

Distribution. Victoria (Australia). New Zealand, forming a carpet on shallow soil on flat sheltered rock near Roxburgh, Otago. K.W.A. No. 5860, 6.12.55: type.

This moss belongs to the Heterocaulon section of the genus in which the fertile stems are very small and bear leaves mostly composed of the vaginant lamina. It was referred to Mr. Sainsbury, who reported that a similar plant is in the National Herbarium of Victoria under No. 86 as F. brevifolius H.f. & W. det by E. Hampe; leg F. von Mueller, Avon River, Victoria. This is apparently the moss referred to at page 103 in the Studies (Dixon) because there is a trace here and there of the border on the vaginant lamina on the leaves of the sterile stems. This would account for Dixon's statement that the Victorian moss is of the Semilimbidium group, presuming he saw only barren material, as otherwise he could scarcely have missed seeing the “heterocaulon” character. Dixon states in the same place that F. brevifolius is synonymous with F. taylori.

This new species differs from F. taylori in the greater development of the sterile stems, 10 mm as against 2 mm long or less (Sainsbury, p. 49): in both male and female plants being epiphytic on the sterile one, not only the male plants as in F. taylori: in the vaginant lamina of the leaves of the sterile plants being usually rather strongly bordered and in the larger spores, 36μ diameter against 16–22μ.

4. Macromitrium proprepens (Hook.) Schwaegr. var. aristata var. nov.

Folia, praecipue superiora, aliquando omnia in ramulis tenuibus, in proboscidem praelongam subulatam vel loriformem, sicca/erecta vel subpatula prolongata.

Distribution Growing on Leptospermum ericoides at 300ft on Little Barrier Island. Collected by J. M. Dingley, 30.8.58 Holotype in herb. K.W.A. No 6323; paratype in herb. Mrs. E. A. Hodgson, No. M51.

The terminal leaves of normal branches or sometimes all the leaves of slender branches, gradually narrow to a long prolongation which may be half as long again as the leaf (much as in M. gracile var. proboscideum) and may form a slender penicillate tuft at the branch apex. Part of the gathering bears capsules, both calyptrate and showing peristomes, and these plants show the normal leaves of the

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species, strap shaped from a somewhat widened base and suddenly narrowed to a very obtuse and apiculate apex.

5. Psilopilum bellii Broth.

Seta mostly 2 cm high, stout and somewhat flexuous. Capsule light green when fresh, light brown when thoroughly dried out or overmature, turgidly oval in outline, erect or held at a slight angle, asymmetrical, laterally compressed with one edge longer and more curved, making the small mouth oblique; peristome wanting: operculum small, conical and erect when young but soon becoming slender and gracefully curved from a wider base; calyptra 3–4 mm long, split up for two-thirds on one side and held at an angle astride the upper margin of the capsule by the curved operculum till they fall away together, smooth and glabrous except for the minutely bristly apex. Spores 20–24μ diameter, pale, very minutely punctate. Dioecious. Male plants uncommon, shorter but robust, bracts shorter and broader than the leaves.

This description of plants collected in bush near the top of the Leith Valley, Dunedin, gives details mentioned by Sainsbury (1955, p. 37) as unknown. The illustration in the Handbook is misleading, as the capsule is shown as wide mouthed and symmetrical.

The plant grows in patches on damp or wet ground in bush or heavy “scrub” and at first sight is very similar to patches of Bryum truncorum. A. further locality for the species is east of Lake Hauroko, Southland, collected by J. E. Henry in February, 1947.


6. Acromastigum marginatum Hodgs.

Known previously only from Waipoua Forest (North Auckland), Great Barrier Island and Stewart Island, this species has now been collected from Secretary Island, Fiordland, at 650ft by Dr. J. Murray, February, 1959. Further collectings will probably show that, although uncommon, this species may be widely spread throughout high rainfall areas.

7. Adelanthus magellanicus (Lindenb.) Spr.

Collected by Dr. J. Murray at 3,400ft on Secretary Island, Fiordland.

8. Dendrolembidium insulanum (Martin & Hodgson) Allison & Hodgson.

Lembidium insulanum Martin & Hodgson, Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., 78, 497. 1950.

Dendrolembidium martini Herz. Rev. der Leberm. Gatt. Lembidium Mitt. Ark. f. Bot. 1: 13, 1951.

As Martin & Hodgson's specific epithet insulanum was published in 1950 it must take precedence over Herzog's epithet martini published in February, 1951, but in the genus Dendrolembidium which he erected (Herzog, 1951) for this and two other species. These are D. tenax (Grev.) Herz., described as Lepidozia tenax in the Handbook (Hooker, 1867), from Eastern Australia. Tasmania and New Zealand and D. dendroides (Carr. & Pearson) Herz from New South Wales.

Until now the only known collecting of D. insulanum was from Stewart Island by W. Martin, who kindly supplied me with some specimens. It has now been found by Dr. J. Murray at 650ft on Secretary Island, Fiordland, in February, 1959.

9. Jamesoniella sonderi (G.) St. var. latifolia var. nov.

Robusta, ad 10 cm longa: folia oblique subreniformia, latiora quam longa: Cetera ut in typo.

Under small waterfall above Lake Tekapo, near Godley Glacier, 3,400ft. Collected by D. Scott, No 215, 18.11.58 No. H6,091 herb. J. W. A. type of variety.

As in the type variety, the leaves are asymmetrical and secund to the dorsal aspect with the ventral margin inflexed, but they differ in that they are broader than long, sub-reniform or transversely oval, only occasionally more or less isodiametrical. In the type variety the leaves are obovate (Hodgson, 1958). Jamesoniella colorata, J. pseudocclusa, J. sonderi and Adelanthus magellanicus, except for the presumed

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difference in the fructification in the latter which would put it into that genus, are a group of very similar plants, differentiated mainly by the leaf shape and marginal curving, or want of it, so it seems advisable to draw attention to the leaf shape in this plant by describing it as a variety.

10. Ptilidium hodgsoniae Allis.

This species was described from plants collected from Lake Wakatipu (Allison, 1950). Two collections have since been made by D. Scott, both from the Godley River Valley above Lake Tekapo, in November, 1958. No. 181 is from shady wet rock at 4,500ft, the other, No. 192, from subalpine scrub on a south aspect at 4,000ft. No fertile plants have yet been found.

11. Sphenolobus perigonialis (Tayl.) Steph.

This very slender small plant was collected by D. Scott on shady wet rock at 4,500ft in the Upper Godley River Valley, above Lake Tekapo. It is probably commoner in mountain localities than the few recorded gatherings indicate.

12. Tylimanthus cinerascens (L. & L.) Allison & Hodgson comb. nov.

Acrobolbus cinerascens (L. & L) Steph.

Marsupia terminal, 1–15×0.6–0.8 mm, when young, green and shortly oblong, rounded at apex, when old, pale coloured and narrowed to the apex making it oblong-obconic, rather sparsely hairy. Capsules wanting.

This plant was found with marsupia by Dr. J. Murray, at 650ft on Secretary Island. Fiordland, in February, 1959.

Mrs. Hodgson, who recently described the male inflorescence of this species (Hodgson, 1958), remarked in the introduction to the paper that it was very close to Tylimanthus. The discovery of the marsupia confirms this, for they are in fact, quite typical of Tylimanthus. being comparatively short and broad, whereas those of Acrobolbus are long and slender and buried in the ground.


Grateful acknowledgements are made to the late Mr. G. O. J. Sainsbury, of Wairoa and Havelock for much sympathetic help, and especially for sending the Brachythecium to Mr. E. B. Bartram and Dr. Le Roy Andrews of the U. S. A. and to these two authorities for their reports and specimens; to Dr. H. Persson, of Sweden, for specimens and advice, to Dr. Th Herzog, of Jena University, Germany, for naming specimens and for much recent literature to Mrs E. A. Hodgson, who has always given me so freely of her time, specimens and advice to the collectors, Dr. J. Murray and Mr. D. Scott, of Otago University, and Mr. W. Martin, of Dunedin.

Literature Consulted

Allison, J. W., 1950. New Species of New Zealand Bryophytes, Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., 78:1, 93–96.

Dixon, H. N., 1913–28. Studies in the Bryology of New Zealand, Bull. N.Z. Inst. No. 3, pts. 1–6.

Herzog, Th., 1951. Revision der Lebermoos Gattung Lembidium Mitt. Arkiv f. Bot., l:13, Sweden

Hodgson, E. A., 1946. New Zealand Hepaticae V, Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., 76, 1:68–86.

— 1958 New Zealand Hepaticae × Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., 85, 565–584

Hooker, Sir J. D., 1867. Handbook of New Zealand Flora, ii:London

Martin, W, 1950. The Bryophytes of Stewart Island pt. 2. Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., 78, 4, 497.

Sainsbury G. O. K., 1955. A. Handbook of the New Zealand Mosses. Bull. Roy. Soc. N.Z., No. 5.

K. W. Allison

9 Delta Street.
Roslyn, Dunedin.