Megaherbs of the Subantarctic Islands

Far below the New Zealand mainland, through the lashing winds and crashing waves, lie the Subantarctic islands – a series of remote, rocky outcrops scattered across the South Pacific. At first glance, its hard to think of a more hostile place for plants to grow. The islands are battered by towering waves and torn apart by gale force winds, with only a tiny amount of sunshine … Continue reading Megaherbs of the Subantarctic Islands

Māori & Mushrooms: Fungi in Aotearoa

The Forgotten Kingdom We often think about Plants and Fungi together, but in truth Fungi are more closely related to humans than plants. They belong to their own separate kingdom containing millions of species, vastly outnumbering plants. Not only that, but the part of the fungi we are most familiar with – the toadstool or mushroom – is just the tip of the iceberg. Most … Continue reading Māori & Mushrooms: Fungi in Aotearoa

Lord of the Trees: The Botany of Middle Earth

For many people around the world, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy put New Zealand on the map. The sweeping panorama shots of snow-topped mountains, remote tussock grasslands and wild untamed forests worked like an extended tourism video, and visitors flocked to the country in record numbers. However with such a huge emphasis on the spectacular scenery there is an important character in the … Continue reading Lord of the Trees: The Botany of Middle Earth

Metrosideros – Pioneers of the Pacific

The Metrosideros genus contains around 50 species and is one of the most widely distributed plants in the Pacific. The subgenus Mearnsia contains the shrubs, creepers and climbers and includes New Zealand species such as White and Scarlet Rata. It is generally only found on fragments of the old Gondwanan landmass: New Zealand, New Caledonia and New Guinea. The subgenus Metrosideros contains trees such as … Continue reading Metrosideros – Pioneers of the Pacific