Natural Heritage

36 posts

Articles by various authors on the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Chatham Islands and the ongoing efforts to conserve it.  If you’d like to contribute an article contact dave@kiwifavourites.co.nz

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

The unexpected near demise of Caloplaca maculata from the Chatham Islands

The Chathams Islands group are the eastern-most expression of the New Zealand archipelago. Opinions vary as to the age of the current islands; geological evidence suggests that the current surface expression is anywhere from 2–3 million years old (Holt 2008) but the DNA evidence, based on molecular clock inferences indicates […]

Rust on Mangere

A new highly threatened enigmatic rust recognised from Chatham Islands forget-me-not

During January 2007 the Auckland Botanical Society visited the Chatham Islands. During their visit the late Dr Ross Beever, then a mycologist working for Landcare Research discovered a strange, orange rust growing on cultivated plants of Chatham Islands forget-me-not (Myosotidium hortensia) within the visitor car park gardens, Department of Conservation offices, Te One, Chatham Islands

Sonchus grandifolius just starting to flower Te Henga. Image: Peter J. de Lange

Sow thistle gets a name revival and a little rusty

Last year the Chatham Islands lost one of its unique genera. The endemic Chatham Islands sow thistle was originally described by New Zealand botanist Thomas Kirk (1828–1898) as a new species of Sonchus, S. grandifolius (Kirk 1894). Then in 1965 botanist Loufty Boulos transferred S. grandifolius and the Australian endemic S. megalocarpus to a new genus Embergeria (Eichler 1965). Later Nicholas Lander (Lander 1976) transferred the Australian Embergeria megalocarpus to another new endemic Australian genus Actites leaving the Chatham Islands E. grandifolius the sole representative of the genus Embergeria, which by default was now a Chatham Islands endemic.