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Author Topic: NZ field trips February 2007  (Read 14139 times)

Paddy Tobin

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2007, 11:00:22 AM »
David,

Again you have given us a great treat of excellent plant photographs along with the very informative views of the landscape. This prompts a question: The general landscape strikes me as being very dry; certainly the grasses are very browned off and the general appearance is one of everything being brown and dry, not a green stretch in sight, yet you come upon these little treasures among this, what appears to me, almost desert conditions. How does this happen? Are there small patched where there are somewhat different conditions, little wet patches by streams or whatever?

And again, I am taken by the aciphylla - and 'horrida' seems a perfect name for this species, lethal-looking it is. The few I have growing here at home are dangerous plants, the really can puncture the skin, and flesh, with great ease and to a great depth. Walking through patches of them would certainly be a time to be tread carefully.

I find that pale yellow on the flowers of the Dolichoglottis very appealing. It would be a very welcome plant in the garden. The Brachyglottis, on the other hand, has that very striking, glaring yellow. But then, flowers are not coloured in nature for our benefit. It obviously works for the brachyglottis!

The Chionohebe sp. is a fascinating looking thing. What are the flowers like? Obviously small, I imagine. Lovely plant.

Great display of plants, David, many thanks.

Paddy


 
Paddy Tobin, Waterford, Ireland

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Thomas Huber

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2007, 12:40:21 PM »
David its really time for me to say thank you for all those photos!
I especially enjoy the landscape photos and please please you:
Keep on posting!!!!
Thomas Huber, Neustadt - Germany (230m)

David Nicholson

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2007, 01:37:47 PM »
David, just to say how much I am enjoying your pictures. New Zealand is a place I have always wanted to visit but perhaps never will so this is, in a way, a replacement.
David Nicholson
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Luc Gilgemyn

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2007, 01:56:01 PM »
More great plants and great landscapes David ! 
Shows why Lord of the Rings was shot in New Zealand  ;D it really is another world !
Thanks again David !
Luc Gilgemyn
Harelbeke - Belgium

Lesley Cox

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2007, 12:00:12 AM »
David is probably at work right now but I'm wasting time here, so I'll have a few words about David's pictures.

The Chionohebe is closely related to Veronica and Hebe and so has flowers typically veronica-shaped, though quite small in these little montane species. When in full bloom they rival any of the high alpine Androsaces for beauty.


Paddy, the brown-ness is quite misleading. Almost always except after months of drought conditions (and even then, sometimes,) these slopes above the treeline or in the great river valleys are quite moist underneath. The tussock and scrub hold the moisture and of course where there is a patch of scree the soil under the rock is often quite wet. So the typical tawny colour is made by the many plants which are themselves of that colour; the tussock grasses, the snow grasses, the Aciphyllas and many more species including a selection of divaricating shrubs. The whole east coast landscape, once one leaves the cultivated farmland, is of this wonderful glistening, golden brown shade, right up to the mountains. I often think that lions and other big cats would be very much at home here.

Sometimes through the brown there will be a thin trickle of bright green where snowmelt is seeping
and there will be plants like Caltha, Ranunculus, Gunnera, Nertera and others, but even these don't make an impression on the overall brown-ness.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2007, 10:25:36 AM »
Greetings All,

Paddy, in answer to your question what appears to be uniform tussock grassland is in reality a mosaic of different habitats, bogs, screes rock outcrops. It hosts a wide variety of plants. Adding to Lesley's comments it can be quite wet from rain and snowmelt. Many smaller plants shelter under the tussocks which may not be apparent from some of the photos as I tend to select subjects which stand out from the background. Tussocks tend to retain their dead outer leaves and hence their very distinctive straw -yellow colour. Their growing parts are quite green.

The landscape that you see in this series of photographs has largely been shaped by erosion and ice. We are just east of the main Southern Alps which sit on an active tectonic zone between the Australian and Pacific plates that is a present being uplifted at a high rate. The corollary of this is what goes up also comes down. The graywacke rocks in this part of the country erode rapidly through the action of frost and water. This gives rise to the extensive screes that you can see in the pictures. The large glaciers flowing from the main Divide formed Lake Ohau, its associate moraines and outwash terraces. In these smaller valleys to the east there was some ice which formed features like Lake Dumb-bell and the cirques at the heads of the valleys. Since then the rivers have been eroding down through the glacial moraines and gravel deposits, a process that is still very active.

Here is a picture of Chionohebe thomsonii flowering. I have decided it is the species I showed earlier on the thread.

Second picture is a small waterfall in the upper Maitland valley.

Third picture is Dolichogllottis lyallii growing in its favoured habitat by a stream. Also a closeup of the same.

Fifth picture is view looking down the main Maitland Valley towards the beech forest that fills the lower part of the valley. Foreground is an old moraine now covered in snow tussock (Chionochloa sp ) Aciphylla horrida and the shrub Dracophyllum uniflorum.

Sixth picture is the only plant of Aciphylla horrida out of the thousands/millions in the valley that I found flowering.

Picture 7 is Raoulia subsericea

Picture 8 is the Maitland Hut, a little four bunk hut where we stayed for one night. If you look carefully you can see the moon setting behind the peak in the centre of the picture.

Picture 9 is of me carrying my pack on the way out.  We crossed the scree that you can see in the photo too low and had to climb back up a steep rubbly slope to regain the marked route, our worst route finding error in four days.

Picture 10 is leaving the Maitland Valley. View is looking up the glacier-formed valleys of the Dobson River on the right and the Hopkins River on the left flowing into the head of Lake Ohau. During the last ice age the flats in middle distance would have been entirely covered by the Ohau glacier.
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

Luc Gilgemyn

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2007, 10:34:44 AM »
More great shots David !
That Chionohebe is stunning !
Luc Gilgemyn
Harelbeke - Belgium

Lesley Cox

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2007, 10:42:54 PM »
A super selection of photos David. It looks like a very interesting area but a bit much for the OAGG on a weekend trip I'd say?
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

ian mcenery

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2007, 10:54:33 PM »
David thanks very much for sharing your experiences lovely plants and scenery beautifully shot
Ian McEnery Sutton Coldfield  West Midlands 600ft above sea level

Paddy Tobin

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2007, 01:48:41 PM »
David & Lesley,

Many thanks for the informative account of the mountaineous environment in which the plants are growing. The appearance from the protographs is misleading. I certainly thought it was almost an arid landscape and wondered then how so many of the plants growing seemed to be ones which would enjoy conditions more moist than portrayed. All is now clear.

It seems a wonderfully interesting way to spend one's time; you certainly have a great expanse to explore and when you sometimes mention that such a plant had not yet been named or that there were such a range of species of a particular plant that definite identification was challenging, it brings home the great variety you can experience on your walks.

At this distant remove I am thoroughly enjoying your experiences. NZ is indeed a wonderful country and also the source of many plants which grow well here in Ireland. Pittosporum, phormium and Senecio species and cultivars are particularly common.

Many thanks.

Paddy
Paddy Tobin, Waterford, Ireland

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David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2007, 10:13:40 AM »
The small Raoulia I posted earlier on this thread is not Raoulia apicinigra. It appears that it is an un-named species. It differs from apicinigra in that the involucre scales are black all the way down wheras in apicinigra the involucre scales are black only on the tips. I found similar plants on the North Dunstan Range earlier in the month and did not realise they were the same until I looked at the photos again yesterday.

Paddy , there is quite a differentiation in relative dryness southwards along the eastern side of the Alps. The Southern Alps are quite wet especially at the heads of the alpine valleys up against the main divide, and the further east you go the dryer it becomes. This more pronounced at lower levels in the montane basins of Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin further north. If you go higher on any of the ranges there is more precipitation. The alpine regions of Fiordland above tree line is one gigantic bog. There are bogs on slopes that you would not believe.

As for Phormiums they make excellent shelter belts for livestock especially in windy coastal areas- but they are too big and untidy for a garden. I planted a variegated one several years ago and am now faced with the task of digging it out- about three days hard work. I should post a few plants sometime that would do well in Ireland.
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
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Maggi Young

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2007, 01:10:36 PM »
I've found this photo of a sign from somewhere in NZ... the scenery may be fabulous and the flowers out of this world, but it seems the signmakers are pretty much on a different planet, too:
6147-0

Note the small print at the bottom, between the no walking and no cars logos!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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t00lie

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2007, 06:18:38 AM »
Northern Southland -- part 1.
Wonderful shots of the Lake Ohau area David.

I finally managed yesterday to take the bike on a run up on to the southern end of the Eyre Mtns.
It was a nice clear day ,so warm in fact i had to do a bit of a strip tease upon reaching the end of the road. :o

It is a very poor flowering season compared to last years brillant display.I'm mindful i have posted pics of this area on the old forum so i'll concentrate more on the habitat in which various sps. grow.

The vegetation on the ridge line is short snow tussock--Chionochloa sps.

All around are higher slopes ,some with small snow patches.The abrupt change from beech forest to snow tussock is so typical of the New Zealand mountain scene.

Further along the ridge depleted vegetative slopes appear.Pic 4 shows 4 distinctive habitats--Rock pinnacles--grassland strips--larger rock rubble --surrounded on either side by fine clay screes.

Firstly --the fine clay screes may appear dry however an inch or two below the surface is moisture.
A few gems like this area --

A creeping fern sps.

Epilobium sps.

Stellaria roughii

It's root system typical of scree plants.Growing upslope some considerable distance from the above ground growth. Able to reshoot if sheared off by moving rock.

Parts 2 and 3 to follow

Cheers Dave.



« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 06:33:21 AM by t00lie »
Dave Toole.  Invercargill.Bottom of the South Island New Zealand .Zone 9--Maritime climate .1100mm rainfall PA.

t00lie

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2007, 07:02:06 AM »
Part 2.

Secondly ---the large rock rubble supports different species.

Gentian bellidifolia not yet in bloom but attractive all the same.

A nice sized patch of Leucogenes grandiceps.

Lycopodium fastigatum --a creeping fern like sps having a preference here for a shadier spot.

Thirdly---The grassland strips are home to the impressive Celmisia semicordata ssp stricta.Unfortunately i didn't find any plants in bloom. :'(

Cheers Dave.

Dave Toole.  Invercargill.Bottom of the South Island New Zealand .Zone 9--Maritime climate .1100mm rainfall PA.

t00lie

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2007, 07:43:45 AM »
Part 3.

The 4th and last habitat are the rock pinnacles.

Home of Celmisia philocremna (which is endemic to the Eyres).

I was lucky to find a plant with 14 flowering stalks.

Succulent like foliage with a large flower for the size of the cushion that appears well above the greenery.

Raoulia buchananii in varying shades of green.

Some almost the colour of R.exima but i don't think that sps. grows this far south.(David L. any comments?.)

Not all that impressive when in flower .

A common feature --a couple of different species surrounding each other.

The weather forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms so i kept a close eye on the skyline.Sure enough clouds started forming down south so thought it prudent to head down.

A view back to the area in which i had been botanising.

State Highway 99  :-\

Thanks for all your patience in reaching the end. :)

Cheers Dave

« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 05:04:07 AM by t00lie »
Dave Toole.  Invercargill.Bottom of the South Island New Zealand .Zone 9--Maritime climate .1100mm rainfall PA.

 

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