Botanical Society of Otago

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October 2017

Field Trip to Flat Top Hill, Central Otago

Saturday 7th October, 2017, 8:00 AM.
Start time: 8:00 AM
Finish time: 6:00 PM

Flat Top Hill is just that—a flat top hill, about 11 km long, parallel to State Highway 8 on one side and Lake Roxburgh on the other and located just south of Alexandra. It rises gently to a flat crest dotted with schist tors and comprises a broad range of dry vegetation types which host a number of unusual species, including several small summer annuals. We will be concentrating on the drier, northern end which includes Butchers Dam with its own suite of aquatic plants, and palaeosols with some seldom seen saline-loving species.

Involves a two and a half hour drive from Dunedin so meet at Botany Department car park 8:00 am returning 6:00 pm.

Contact John Steel, phone: 021 2133170.

Geological constraints on Zealandian biogeography

Wednesday 11th October, 2017, 5:20 PM.
Start time: 5:20 PM
Finish time: 7:00 PM

Speaker: Dr Hamish Campbell, senior scientist with GNS Science Lower Hutt and GNS Science "geologist in residence" at Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, in Wellington. Dr Campbell has become a well-known geologist to the New Zealand public in the context of museum exhibitions, popular books and the media. His current research interests are primarily concerned with the origin of the older sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of New Zealand, and the geological constraints on the origin of the native biotas of New Zealand and New Caledonia. He is co-author with Dr Nick Mortimer of "Zealandia Our Continent Revealed" which explores the geological origins and history of the New Zealand continental land mass. At the Zoology Benham Building, 346 Great King Street, behind the Zoology car park by the Captain Cook Hotel. Use the main entrance of the Benham Building to get in and go to the Benham Seminar Room, Rm. 215, 2nd floor. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open.

Contact Robyn Bridges, phone: (03) 472 7330.

November 2017

Of Cabbage Trees and Things

Wednesday 8th November, 2017, 5:20 PM.
Start time: 5:20 PM
Finish time: 7:00 PM

Speaker: Dr. Warwick Harris, Landcare Research. With abstruse reference to the inferences of conservation concerns expressed in Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", results of a latitudinal study of variation of cabbage trees will be presented. The study began in 1994 and continues with observations on plantations of trees at Auckland, Lincoln and Invermay raised from seed collected from widely separated wild populations of cabbage trees in New Zealand. The adaptive relevance of the morphological and physiological characters recorded, as well as cultural values of cabbage trees, will be considered. At the Zoology Benham Building, 346 Great King Street, behind the Zoology car park by the Captain Cook Hotel. Use the main entrance of the Benham Building to get in and go to the Benham Seminar Room, Rm. 215, 2nd floor. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open.

Contact Robyn Bridges, phone: (03) 472 7330.

Field trip to Purehurehu Point

Saturday 25th November, 2017, 8:30 AM.
Start time: 8:30 AM
Finish time: 4:00 PM

On this trip we will visit a recently convenanted remnant of coastal Otago vegetation located on a private farm. Known to the locals as Windy Point it is more correctly Purehurehu Point, (Māori for moth), and dissects the northern coastal beaches of Whareakeake and Kaikai. Like nearby Heyward Point it is an area that is both botanically and scenically valuable. As well as botanising, some may like to walk down to the beach at Kaikai, visiting the historic caves that have been associated with early whalers, and in more recent times, as a favourite holiday destination for some locals. Rain date, Sunday 26 November. Meet at Botany Department carpark 8.30 am, returning 4 pm.

Contact Robyn Bridges, phone: (03) 472 7330.

December 2017

Pot-luck dinner at Woodhaugh Gardens.

Saturday 2nd December
Start time: 4.00 pm

Bring a plate and enjoy good company, good food and the flora of the town belt. We will start with some backyard botanising before dinner.

All are welcome.

Field trip to Waikaia Valley and Piano Flat

Friday 8th December, 2017 to Sunday 10th December.
Start time:
Finish time:

The Waikaia Valley lies between the Umbrella Mountains to the east and the Garvie Mountains to the west. The Waikaia River joins the Mataura River just north of Riversdale. The Waikaia forest is a mixture of red, mountain and silver beech and is the best remaining example of the beech forests that covered much of the area. There are a number of walking tracks through the beech forest and a track above the bushline to Titan Rocks. We will travel to the DoC campsite at Piano Flat on Friday afternoon and spend Saturday in the field with another opportunity to botanise on Sunday morning. Bring your own tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, food, sandfly repellent etc. and something to share for a pot-luck dinner on Saturday evening. Be prepared for adverse weather at both the camp site and in the field. Facilities are basic but include toilets, barbecues and picnic tables. Fees are $5.00 per person per night.

Contact David Lyttle, phone: (03) 454 5470.

Janurary 2018

Spring Flowers of El Camino.

Wednesday 28th February
Start time: 5.20 pm.
End time:

Speaker Kath Graham. Walking the 1000 year old pilgrimage - Camino Frances in Spain - was an important exercise in building perspective in relation to the NZ experience. For a Kiwi it was New World meets Old World. For an antipodean botanist it was leaving a significantly intact natural heritage to visit one with thousands of years of human impacts. The spring flowers were beautiful and delightful, often familiar but sometimes new. At times the plants showed differences to our common weeds although obviously the same species. The trees were magnificent parts of the environment, and an important part of the human story of the region. I didn't know the origin of many of the plants I was seeing so I couldn't identify which were weeds or which might be problem invaders, until in Galicia I saw the first giant eucalypt tree guarding the ruins of an ancient castle keep. Shortly after that I spotted the first cabbage tree followed by increasing numbers of cabbage trees in people's gardens (Hey!) and eventually during the last few days, I was walking through vast forests of eucalypt trees. The destination was Santiago de Compostella, and the Cathedral which holds the relics of Santiago, (St James). Even as I walked the last few kilometres along the pavements of the city I was still discovering new species of flowers I hadn't seen previously along the 800km trail.

Weekend field trip to Northern Southland.

Saturday 24th February
Start time:
End time:

Sunday 25th February 2018 This trip will be a rare opportunity to botanise a large new covenant on the foothills of the Takitimu Mountains, with shrublands, wetlands and grasslands. On the Sunday we’ll visit the White Hill wind farm, another interesting tussock-shrubland site. And if we run out of things to do there are other fascinating wetlands and a limestone site close by too. Local QEII representative Jesse Bythell will be our guide for the weekend. At this stage we plan to travel to Mossburn on Friday evening and find accommodation somewhere in the Lumsden-Mossburn area so we can be on-site early on Saturday. People have the option of travelling back to Dunedin on Saturday evening or staying on to visit the wind farm on Sunday. More information available closer to the time.

Contact John Barkla, phone: (03) 476 3686.