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New Zealand Tree Ferns.

Native Plants of New Zealand
Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees

      New Zealand is very diverse, with rainforests, deserts, oceans, mountains, and glaciers all very near each other. Botanically, every inch of the country is rich with flowers, shrubs, and trees, native and introduced. I especially loved all the native tree ferns, and I wish I had more time to study them. New Zealand was like a botanical garden show-casing plants and trees from all over the world. But I was most interested to learn about and discover some of the species that are native to New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification       It is always thrilling to recognize a familiar pattern, especially so far from my usual haunts in North America. For example, on South Island I encountered some white, bell-shaped flowers (shown below) that suspiciously resembled our blue and purple harebells at home. Since milky sap is common in the Harebell Family, I broke a stem and checked the sap. I found just a trace of milky sap, good evidence that it was in fact a type of harebell, a hypothesis easily confirmed by doing an online search for "New Zealand harebell." That's what I love about plant family patterns. The same pattern works just as well in New Zealand, eight thousand miles from home, as it does in my own backyard. One of my goals for the trip was to find out whether or not Botany in a Day would be a useful tool for plant identification down under. It certainly worked well on the scores of introduced weeds and cultivated flowers and trees, and I was glad to see that it also worked well with at least some of the native species.

New Zealand Harebell: Wahlenbergia albomarginata.       It should be noted, however, that Botany in a Day is optimized for North American readers, and some of the family descriptions apply specifically to species found in the northern latitudes. Plants outside North America that vary from the core patterns were intentionally excluded from the text. For example, the Violet Family, as described in Botany in a Day, applies only to herbs. One would not guess from appearances that New Zealand's whiteywood tree (Melicytus ramiflorus) is actually part of the Violet Family. There were a number of exceptions like that among New Zealand's native vegetation, especially the shrubs and trees.

      New Zealand also has a great many trees, shrubs, and herbs from plant families that are utterly new and unfamiliar to me. On the one hand, it is exhilarating to discover new plants and new plant families. On the other hand, I hesitate to fill up my brain with too much information that seems useful only if should return to New Zealand again someday!

      Prior to my trip, I ordered Andrew Crowe's Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Native Trees. It is a nice little book, except that it lacked family names, so I looked up each tree on Wikipedia prior to the adventure, and I wrote the family names in the book for reference, which proved to be a useful learning aid along the way. It didn't take me long to become absorbed with trying to learn every plant I could! I was able to identify many of the species in the book, and numerous other species as well.

      Overall, I was greatly satisfied with the botanical expedition as it was. Botany in a Day is especially useful for identifying many or most of the showy flowers a person is likely to encounter. I came to New Zealand wondering if the environment might seem entirely alien to me, but I found it strikingly familiar to other places I have been, yet with many exciting new plants that I'd never seen before. And as much as I enjoy identifying new plants, I actually loathe the idea of knowing them all and having none left to discover!

      Please send me an e-mail to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Botanizing New Zealand
1. Intro and Mangroves | 2. Introduced Weeds | 3. Cultivated Flowers
4. Introduced Trees & Shrubs | 5. Podocarps & Araucarians | 6. Native Flowers, Shrubs, & Trees

New Zealand Gentian: Gentianella bellidifolia.

New Zealand Gentian: Gentianella bellidifolia.
Gentian Family.

New Zealand Eyebright: Euphrasia cuneata.

New Zealand Eyebright: Euphrasia cuneata. Formerly classified in the Figwort Family, eyebright is now considered a member of the Broomrape Family.

New Zealand Harebell: Wahlenbergia albomarginata.

New Zealand Harebell: Wahlenbergia albomarginata.
Harebell Family.

Panakenake: Lobelia angulata.

Panakenake: Lobelia angulata.
Harebell Family.

Rangiora: Brachyglottis repanda.

Rangiora: Brachyglottis repanda.
Aster Family.

New Zealand Daisy: Celmisia semicordata.

New Zealand Daisy: Celmisia semicordata.
Aster Family.

Manuka Myrtle: Leptospermum scoparium.

Manuka Myrtle: Leptospermum scoparium.
Myrtle Family.

Manuka Myrtle: Leptospermum scoparium.

Manuka Myrtle: Leptospermum scoparium.
Myrtle Family.

Koromiko: Hebe stricta.

Koromiko: Hebe stricta.
Formerly classified in the Figwort Family, eyebright is now considered a member of the Plantain Family.

Hebe: Hebe tetragona.

Hebe: Hebe tetragona.
Formerly classified in the Figwort Family, eyebright is now considered a member of the Plantain Family.

Long-Leaved Lacebark: Hoheria sexstylosa.

Long-Leaved Lacebark: Hoheria sexstylosa.
Mallow Family.

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.
Soapberry Family

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.
Soapberry Family

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.

Hopbush: Dodonaea viscosa.
Soapberry Family

Northern Rata: Metrosideros robusta.

Northern Rata: Metrosideros robusta.
Myrtle Family

New Zealand pohutukawa: Metrosideros excelsa.

New Zealand pohutukawa: Metrosideros excelsa.
Myrtle Family

Larger Bindweed: Calystegia sepium.

Larger Bindweed: Calystegia sepium.
Morning Glory Family

Larger Bindweed: Calystegia sepium.

Larger Bindweed: Calystegia sepium.
Flowers can be all white, or pink with a white star.

Large-flowered Kangaroo Apple: Solanum laciniatum.

Large-flowered Kangaroo Apple: Solanum laciniatum.
Nightshade Family

Large-flowered Kangaroo Apple: Solanum laciniatum.

Large-flowered Kangaroo Apple: Solanum laciniatum.
Nightshade Family

Karaka: Corynocarpus laevigata.

Karaka: Corynocarpus laevigata.
Corynocarpus Family

 Coprosma: Coprosma sp.

Coprosma: Coprosma spp.
Madder Family

Kawakawa: Macropiper excelsum.

Kawakawa: Macropiper excelsum.
Pepper Family

Patotara: Leucopogon fraseri.

Patotara: Leucopogon fraseri.
Heath Family

Prickly Heath: Leptecophylla juniperina.

Prickly Heath: Leptecophylla juniperina.
Heath Family

Mountain Snowberry: Gaultheria depressa.

Mountain Snowberry: Gaultheria depressa.
Heath Family

Inkberry: Dianella nigra.

Inkberry: Dianella nigra.
Grass Tree Family

Whiteywood: Melicytus ramiflorus.

Whiteywood: Melicytus ramiflorus.
Violet Family

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.
Figwort Family

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.
Figwort Family

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.

Ngaio: Myoporum laetum.
Figwort Family

Kapuka: Griselinia littoralis.

Kapuka: Griselinia littoralis.
Figwort Family

Karo: Pittosporum crassifolium.

Karo: Pittosporum crassifolium.
Pittosporum Family

Matagouri: Discaria toumatou.

Matagouri: Discaria toumatou.
Buckthorn Family

Red Matipo: Myrsine australis.

Red Matipo: Myrsine australis.
Myrsine Family

Seven-Finger: Schefflera digitata.

Seven-Finger: Schefflera digitata.
Ginseng Family

Five-Finger: Pseudopanax arboreus.

Five-Finger: Pseudopanax arboreus.
Ginseng Family

Five-Finger: Pseudopanax arboreus.

Five-Finger: Pseudopanax arboreus.
Ginseng Family

Horoeka / Lancewood: Pseudopanax crassifolius.

Horoeka / Lancewood: Pseudopanax crassifolius.
Ginseng Family

Horoeka / Lancewood: Pseudopanax crassifolius.

Horoeka / Lancewood: Pseudopanax crassifolius.
Ginseng Family

Mountain Horopito / Pepperwood: Pseudowintera colorata.

Mountain Horopito / Pepperwood: Pseudowintera colorata.
Winter Family

Hard Beech: Nothofagus truncata.

Hard Beech: Nothofagus truncata.
Southern Beech Family

Red Beech: Nothofagus fusca.

Red Beech: Nothofagus fusca.
Southern Beech Family

Silver Beech: Nothofagus menziesii.

Silver Beech: Nothofagus menziesii.
Southern Beech Family

Black Beech: Nothofagus solandri.

Black Beech: Nothofagus solandri.
Southern Beech Family

Black Beech: Nothofagus solandri.

Black Beech: Nothofagus solandri.
Southern Beech Family

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.
Palm Family

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.
Palm Family

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.

Nikau: Rhopalostylis sapida.
Palm Family

Cabbage Tree: Cordyline australis.

Cabbage Tree: Cordyline australis.
Asparagus Family

Golden Speargrass: Aciphylla aurea.

Golden Speargrass: Aciphylla aurea.
Parsley Family

New Zealand Flax: Phormium tenax.

New Zealand Flax: Phormium tenax.
Asparagus Family

New Zealand Flax: Phormium tenax.

Botanizing New Zealand
1. Intro and Mangroves | 2. Introduced Weeds | 3. Cultivated Flowers
4. Introduced Trees & Shrubs | 5. Podocarps & Araucarians | 6. Native Flowers, Shrubs, & Trees


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Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

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