flora

21 posts

The ongoing decline of the enigmatic Chatham Island linen flax

Linum (Linaceae) is a genus of about 200 species found mostly in the northern hemisphere though it extends into the subtropics and has representatives on most of the major landmasses of the world. Universally known by the vernacular ‘flax’ some species, notably ‘linen flax’ Linum usitatissimum produce fibres that are […]

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

Chatham Island linen flax

New Plant Threat Listing Includes Chatham’s Species

The May 2012 threat assessment of the New Zealand Indigenous Vascular Plant flora is now published (see de Lange et al. 2013). The list which covers the entire indigenous vascular plant flora, including that of the Chatham Islands and 166 informally recognised, ‘tag name’ entities is now available at http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/nztcs3entire.pdf  […]

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’).