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Diary

February 2018


Weekend field trip to Northern Southland.

Friday 23rd February - Sunday 25th February 2018.

This trip is 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. 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. We plan to travel to Mossburn on Friday evening so we can be on-site early on Saturday. Participants have the option of travelling back to Dunedin on Saturday evening or staying on to visit the wind farm on Sunday. You are responsible for your own accommodation and catering. One suggestion is the Mossburn Country Park (www.mossburncountrypark.co.nz) 3km north of Mossburn township on SH97 which has cabins and camping sites. Their contact is info@mossburncountrypark.co.nz.You must let John Barkla jbarkla@doc.govt.nz ph. (03) 476 3686 know if you are intending to come by Tuesday 20 February. Travel arrangements will be advised.

Spring Flowers of El Camino.

Wednesday 28th February, 5.20 pm

Speaker: Kath Graham. Walking the 1000 year old pilgrimage - Camino Frances in Spain - was an important exercise in building perspective in relation to the New Zealand 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 the same species. The trees were magnificent, 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. 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.

March 2018


Introduction to the nursery and propagation facility and the native plant collection at Dunedin Botanic Garden.

Saturday 3rd March, 10.00 am

Learn about what goes on behind the scenes in this living museum of plant specimens and in its engine room, the propagation and Nursery Facility. We will begin with a tour around the propagation facility, opened in 2015. Propagation Services Officer Alice Lloyd-Fitt will show us the wide range of plants that live in each of the glasshouses, explaining how the various growing zones are controlled and maintained. After that we’ll cross the road to explore the New Zealand native plant collection with its curator, Kate Caldwell. A great chance for beginners and regular visitors alike to satisfy any questions and curiosities about native plants and the Botanic Garden. Meet at the Upper Botanic Garden car park next to the Alhambra sports field and the propagation and nursery building on Lovelock Avenue. Any questions contact Kate Caldwell, 027 890 8840 or kate.caldwell@dcc.govt.nz.

A 70 million year record of Araucarian forests in Zealandia: new discoveries of wood, leaves and biotic inclusions in amber.

Wednesday 14th March, 5.20 pm

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Daphne Lee, Department of Geology, University of Otago. Araucarian forest trees have a long, continuous record in Zealandia extending back at least to the Late Cretaceous. We have collected araucarian macrofossils from numerous sites. These include anatomically preserved wood, foliage, sometimes with cuticle identifiable as Agathis, and amber which is abundant at dozens of Cenozoic sites throughout New Zealand. The bubble-filled, often opaque amber was considered devoid of fossils but our new techniques have revealed numerous three-dimensionally-preserved organisms such as arachnids, hexapods, nematodes and mould fungi that represent considerable biological and ecological complexity. Ecologically, the organisms include predators such as spiders, including web remains with prey, micro-carnivores such as pseudoscorpions, a diversity of mites, detritivores such as springtails, biting and gall midges, fungus gnats and chironomids, parasitoid wasps, ants, carpet and other beetles, bark lice and lepidopteran wing scales. Zealandia is now shown to have the first major amber deposits of confirmed araucarian origin from the Southern Hemisphere.

April 2018


Botanical Photography Field Trip to McPhees Rock.

Saturday 7th April, 8.30 am

McPhees Rock lies at the southern end of the Rock and Pillar Range. Access is from the Old Dunstan Road from a point north of the Loganburn Reservoir. We will spend the day looking at alpine plants and learning techniques to take good photographs in the demanding conditions that prevail in alpine environments. Bring your camera and a tripod if you have one. May sure you bring warm clothing and wet weather gear. Meet at Botany Department carpark at 8.30 am. If the weather is unsuitable we will hold the trip on Sunday 8th. Contact: David Lyttle (03) 454 5470. Email: djl1yttle@gmail.com.

The whys and hows of identifying plants used in Māori textiles.

Wednesday 11th April, 5.20 pm

Speaker: Dr Bronwyn Lowe, Centre for Materials Science and Technology, University of Otago. Māori textile taonga are beautiful and diverse, in part due to the wide range of plant species used to create them. Identifying the species in a textile artefact enriches our understanding of the ways in which the plants of Aotearoa have been utilised through time, as well as aiding efforts to conserve deteriorating artefacts held in museums and private collections. This talk will discuss identification of plant materials in Māori textiles, why some Māori textile artefacts deteriorate so badly despite best care, and current research into methods for conserving them.

2018-10 april maori textiles.jpg

May 2018


BSO Annual General Meeting and Photographic Competition.

Wednesday 9th May, 5.20 pm

The photographic competition is a popular and eagerly anticipated event for anyone interested in botanical photography. Enter your best photos and learn what makes a good photograph and how to improve your photographic skills from our panel of expert judges. Your photographs may be chosen for the BSO Calendar so this is your opportunity to have one month of fame. Start organising your entries now and don't wait until the last minute.

May photo comp and AGM

Fungal Foray Field Trip to Waipori Gorge.

Saturday 19th May, 8.30 am

This is an opportunity to learn about fungi and participate in the ongoing research of the Department of Botany. We will travel to Waipori and spend the morning in the beech forest collecting fungi. After lunch we will return to the Botany Department where we will identify, record and photograph our collections. The collections will be dried and placed in the Otago University Herbarium (OTA). This trip will be lead by David Orlovich. Contact: David Orlovich david.orlovich@otago.ac.nz or David Lyttle (03) 454 5470 / djl1yttle@gmail.com.

June 2018


Visit to Pā Harakeke at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

Saturday 9th June, 9.00 am

This is a chance to get to know the extensive collection of harakeke at Orokonui with Sue Hensley. We will spend the morning learning about the harakeke and getting our hands dirty with a bit of weeding and cleaning. In addition, there will be a chance to see the Otago Rare Plants garden (which many of our members have contributed to) and perhaps spy a takahe or tuatara. Meet at Botany Department carpark at 9am. Contact Gretchen Brownstein 021 065 8497 or brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz.

harakeke.jpg

Conservation genetics and ecology of Hardenbergia violacea.

Wednesday 13th June, 5.20 pm

Speaker: Dr Matthew Larcombe, Department of Botany, University of Otago. Although first recorded in the early 1800s, there have always been questions about the native status of Hardenbergia violacea in Tasmania. The only putative native population occurs near Hobart, and some suspect it was an early introduction from mainland Australia, while others believe it is native. I’ll describe a study that aimed to settle this debate. It involves some detective work, CSI style DNA analysis, and a beautiful little plant. Matt works in the Department of Botany at the University of Otago. His current work focuses on how ecology shapes the evolution of lineages and how that in turn shapes patterns of biodiversity at global scales.

Hardenbergia Meeting details
Talks are usually on Wednesday evening starting at 5.20 pm with drinks and nibbles (gold coin donation), unless otherwise advertised. Venue is the Zoology Benham Building, 346 Great King Street, behind the Zoology car park by the old Captain Cook Hotel. Please use the main entrance of the Benham Building to enter and go to the Benham Seminar Room, Room 215, located on the second floor. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open. Items of botanical interest for our buy, sell and share table are always appreciated. When enough people are feeling sociable we go to dinner afterwards: everyone is welcome to join in. The talks usually finish around 6.30 pm. Keen discussion might continue till 7 pm. Field trip details
Field trips leave from Botany car park 464 Great King Street unless otherwise advertised. Meet there to car pool (10c/km/passenger to be paid to the driver, please). Please contact the trip leader before Friday for trips with special transport and by Wednesday for full weekend trips. A hand lens and field guides always add to the interest. It is the responsibility of each person to stay in contact with the group and to bring sufficient food, drink and outdoor gear to cope with changeable weather conditions. Bring appropriate personal medication, including anti-histamine for allergies. Note trip guidelines on the BSO web site: http://www.otago.ac.nz/botany/b

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.