Yearly Archives: 2012

14 posts

Caloplaca maculata – Collected from type locality, south of Waitangi Wharf, Chatham Islands. Image: Allison Knight

Sole Chatham Islands endemic lichen discovered on south Otago Coastline

Despite a remarkable level of endemicity in the Chatham Islands vascular plant flora (e.g., clubmosses, whisk ferns, ferns, and flowering plants) (de Lange et al. 2011) the islands have virtually no endemic non-vascular plants (e.g., hornworts, liverworts, mosses) (de Lange et al. 2008). Currently botanists accept one endemic species of […]

1. Lepidium oleraceum – Cook’s Scurvy Grass is of course not a grass but a large shrubby cress with a flavour not unlike watercress.

Remarkable and unexpected diversity of scurvy grasses discovered on the Chatham Islands

The New Zealand scurvy grasses (Lepidium species) include the famous Cook’s scurvy grass (L. oleraceum), a species which has gained almost legendary status as the plant that saved Captain Cook and his crew from the depredations of scurvy. Whilst modern research has shown that this is gross exaggeration it cannot be doubted that this plant and its allies were important green foods for not only scurvy ridden sailors but iwi (who in New Zealand knew the plants collectively as ‘nau’).

Chatham Island toetoe

Study reveals low levels of genetic diversity in Chatham Islands toetoe

A study just published in Pacific Conservation Biology reveals that the Chatham Island toetoe (Austroderiaturbaria) populations have very little significant genetic variation (Houliston et al. 2012). The discovery comes as somewhat of a worrying surprise to plant conservationists. Previously, without the ability to check levels of genetic variation the Department […]

Parea - Chatham Island pigeon

Parea – the Chatham Island pigeon

Status (2008):Population (2009):Trend: Critically Endangered600 individualsImproving Larger and heavier than its mainland cousin, the parea or Chatham Island pigeon is today largely confined to the south-western corner of Chatham Island.  Like several other Chatham species the parea had a close brush with extinction, with the population dropping to 40-45 birds […]