Botanical Society of Otago
Spring Flowers of El Camino.
Wednesday 28th February
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
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.
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 email@example.com.You must let John Barkla firstname.lastname@example.org 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 pmSpeaker: 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.
Introduction to the nursery and propagation facility and the native plant collection at Dunedin Botanic Garden.
Saturday 3rd March, 10.00 amLearn 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 email@example.com.
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 pmSpeaker: 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.
Botanical Photography Field Trip to McPhees Rock.
Saturday 7th April, 8.30 amMcPhees 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The whys and hows of identifying plants used in Māori textiles.
Wednesday 11th April, 5.20 pmSpeaker: 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.
BSO Annual General Meeting and Photographic Competition.
Wednesday 9th May, 5.20 pmThe 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.
Fungal Foray Field Trip to Waipori Gorge.
Saturday 19th May, 8.30 amThis 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 email@example.com or David Lyttle (03) 454 5470 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit to Pā Harakeke at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
Saturday 9th June, 9.00 amThis 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 email@example.com
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.
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/bso
Field Trip to Flat Top Hill, Central Otago
Saturday 7th October, 2017, 8:00 AM.
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.
Contact Robyn Bridges, phone: (03) 472 7330.
Saturday 9th June, 9.00 am: Visit to Pā Harakeke at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday 18th July, 5.20 pm: Mountains of the Rain Shadow. Speaker David Lyttle. Please note – change of speaker!
“In January of this year I had the good fortune to be able to join Heidi Meudt and Ant Kusabs from Te Papa for part of their South Island field trip collecting Myosotis species. Various other BSO stalwarts including John Barkla, Mike Thorsen, Neil and Barbara Simpson, Hugh Wood, Brian Rance and Dave Toole joined the party at different times. It was pretty special to be able to go in to the field with such a talented group of people. I will briefly mention Heidi’s work on Myosotis as hopefully she will be able to come to Otago at some time in the future and talk about it herself. I am going to concentrate on some of the dry mountain ranges of the lower South Island: the landscapes, the biodiversity and the unique features of the plants of the Eyre and Livingstone Mountains in Northern Southland; the Hawkdun, Ida, St Marys and Ohau Ranges in North Otago and finally Mt Dobson on the Two Thumbs Range on the northern side of the Mackenzie Basin”.
Saturday 28th July, 2-4.30pm. Joint BSO/Botany Dept. close-up photography workshop.This is a friendly gathering for learners and experts alike and the aim is to share, learn and pass on tips and techniques for botanical macro- and micro-photography. Bring your smart phones, compact or fancy cameras, tripods, hand-lens, macro lenses, microscopes, external lighting or any other aids to photographing fascinating botanical details that you’d like to learn more or share tips about. Also bring any small flowers, fungi, leaves, liverworts, lichens or other botanical specimens suitable for taking close-up photos. Meet in the Upstairs lab, Department of Botany, 464 Great King St. Register by Thursday 26th July. Contact Allison Knight, 027 4878 265.
Wednesday 8th August, 5.20 pm: Botanical experiences in the South.Speaker: Lloyd Esler inherited his botanical interest from his father Alan in Palmerston North. They explored the sand country, Tararua foothills and patches of bush across the Manawatu area. Later, in Auckland, it was the Waitakeres, West coast beaches and Hauraki Gulf islands. He did botany at Otago University – JB Wilson, Alan Mark, Brenda Shore and Geoff Bayliss are the characters he remembers. In Southland he is the chairman of the Fieldclub and involved with habitat restoration, tour groups and school fieldtrips where aspects of botany come up all the time – seaweed balls on the beach, drinking tutu juice, eating miro berries, toadstool hunts in the park and monitoring permanent plots in plantation forests.
Saturday 25th August, Saturday 25th August, 9.00 am: Sullivans Dam.Sullivans Dam was originally constructed as a reservoir to supply Dunedin with water. It is situated north of the city just below Leith Saddle and can be reached via the northern motorway or the old Leith Valley Road. There is an easy loop track around the dam and a second track heads up through an area of native forest and eventually reaches the summit of Mt Cargill. We will go to Sullivans Dam and explore the surrounding forest which contains extensive stands of Libocedrus. Meet at the Botany Department carpark 9am. Contact David Lyttle (03) 454 5470 email email@example.com
Saturday 15th September, 9.00 am: Swampy Spur Wetland via Burns and Rustler Ridge Tracks.Is it a mire or is it a bog? Or is it a bit of both? As well as looking at the vegetation on the eastern slopes of Swampy Summit, this trip will look at a significant wetland located on the flanks of Swampy Spur. Wetlands such as this one were common in pre European times. Sadly, this is no longer the case and mires and bogs now only occupy a fraction of the area they once did. The trip will follow the Burns – Rustler Ridge tracks. Meet at the Botany Department carpark 9am. Contact Robyn Bridges 021 235 8997/472 7330
Wednesday 26th September, 6pm: 17th Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture: Reweaving species: the key role of mutualisms in ecological restoration.
Speaker: Janice Lord, Department of Botany, University of Otago. Location: Castle 1, University of Otago (drinks and nibbles starting from 5.15 pm in the concourse).
Recent years have seen native restoration and replanting projects popping up like mushrooms across the New Zealand landscape. Often the same suite of plants are used – Pittosporum, Cordyline, Phormium, Coprosma, Hebe – because they are easy to propagate and grow rapidly. But are we aiming too low? This talk will pull together current understanding of native plant mutualisms above and below ground, and ask how we can use this knowledge practically to move towards functional restoration of complex ecosystems.
Saturday 6th October, 8.30 am: Field trip to 'Dogwood' at Kuri Bush.Dogwood at Kuri Bush is a c.5ha remnant of mixed podocarp-broadleaf forest in a steep-sided gully on private land. It is in the process of being considered for a QEII covenant and one of the aims of this field trip is to contribute to a growing species list for the QEII report. The lower part of the gully at 20-30m above sea level is a kanuka-totara open forest with abundant lichens. Stock had access to this area up until c.15 years ago but regeneration is good. The highest point is 40m above sea level and the middle and upper areas have been fenced from stock for c.30 years or more. The size of many matai and totara trees suggests that core areas have never been cleared or logged completely. The gully itself contains typical species such as Fuchsia excorticata, Griselinia littoralis and tree ferns, but the slopes support less common dry forest with Hoheria angustifolia, Streblus microphyllus and Lophomyrtus obcordata. Two orchid species are relatively common – Pterostylis graminea and Corybas trilobus - and so far more than 20 species of ferns have been found. Bryophytes, lichens and fungi have not yet been explored. Birdlife is abundant with not only kahu, tui, bellbird, kereru, gray warbler and silvereyes but also shining cuckoo, the occasional falcon and possibly little owls. The stream is rumoured to contain koura but this has not yet been verified. Banded kokopu occur in a side catchment. Access is via adjacent paddocks and a narrow track that follows the stream up until the mid-section. Access to the interior of the upper area is via a marked route which involves some steep sections and stepping over obstacles. Good footwear is essential. For people not inclined to scrambling, many species including dwarf mistletoe and orchids can be seen from the margins. Field trippers are invited to stop for a hot drink at the house after the expedition. Meet at Botany Dept 8.30 am to carpool or on-site at 9.10 am. (see location map on website) Rain date Sunday 7 October. Contact Janice Lord phone 029 4881900. See NatureWatch for a current local species list: http://naturewatch.org.nz/lists/848636-Kuri-Bush
Wednesday 10th October, 5.20 pm: Were native plants on settler’s farms in southern New Zealand used or abused?
Speaker: Peter Holland, Emeritus Professor, Department of Geography, University of Otago. By 1900, European settlers had transformed the terrestrial vegetation cover of the southern New Zealand lowlands. The extensive tussock, shrub and fern lands, with large and small expanses of closed canopy forest and wetland in depressions had almost disappeared, and in their place was a geometrical mosaic of crop land, improved pastures, hedges and shelter belts with a smattering of native plants and remnants of once extensive native ecosystems. Did anyone express concern about what was happening to native species and ecosystems in the south, and were landholders indifferent to native plants? With information from official reports, contemporary newspaper articles, and entries in late 19th and early 20th century farm diaries I shall show that settlers valued such woody plants as broadleaf, kowhai, and totara, and were reliant on forest remnants and shrublands to shelter and sustain livestock when feed was in short supply. At the same time, many settlers were draining wetlands, burning tussock, and clearing wooded and shrubby areas on their properties, despite what they could read in their newspapers about the national importance of conserving large and small areas of native vegetation. Did early settlers use or abuse native plants and ecosystems? The answer is more complex than many of us might believe.
Entries for the biennial Audrey Eagle Botanical Drawing Competition will be displayed and the prize winners announced at this meeting.
Friday 9th November - Sunday 11th November 2018. Weekend field trip to Southland.We’re still in the early stages of planning this trip but wanted to ensure you put this date in your diaries early. We’ll probably camp somewhere for two nights and be led by some of our Southland-based members to their favourite spots. Full details will be provided in the next newsletter. Contact John Barkla firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 14th November, 5.20 pm: Native Plants are vital to Nationhood not just ‘nice to have, optional extras’.
Speaker: Colin D Meurk, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. New Zealand is a biodiversity hotspot, but sadly also an extinction capital. Part of the excruciating extinction process is ‘extinction of experience’. We haven’t, so far, lost many plant species, but we are rapidly losing the experience as the visible cultural landscape is gobbled up by industrial agriculture, forestry and wilding trees and shrubs without any sensitivity to the unique history of Aotearoa-New Zealand. And with that goes identification with, and protectiveness towards, our special highly endemic nature. Extinction of species and geographic variants will not be far behind unless we reverse the root causes of this attrition.
Colin will illustrate key concepts, causes and novel opportunities in loss and recovery of our flora through urban and rural landscapes where most people form their notions of naturalness. It is there where visibility of biodiversity is a key ingredient of our resident sense of place and of the primeval, clean green brand essential to an authentic tourist industry. He will discuss the urgency of protecting the rarest dryland ecosystems of eastern South Island, their controversial management, biosecurity control, restoration of habitat and of landscape connectivity, novel recombinant ecosystems for urban environments (perhaps the last chance for rare lowland species), heritage legibility and ecological literacy through citizen science within an emerging nationhood. These latter ideas are not new, although the level of urgency and the terminology may not be quite what Leonard Cockayne used a hundred years ago!
You are invited to compare notes on the state of our flora and how we can mend and rebuild its presence in our places and in our consciousness.
Saturday 1st December - Sunday 2nd December 2018. Weekend field trip to Oteake Conservation Park. We’re still in the early stages of planning this trip but wanted to ensure you put this date in your diaries early. We plan to stay at the DOC Homestead Camp Site on the Hawdun Runs Road. This is a basic site and tents are required. Full details will be provided in the next newsletter.
Of Cabbage Trees and Things
Wednesday 8th November, 2017, 5:20 PM.
Contact Robyn Bridges, phone: (03) 472 7330.
Field trip to Purehurehu Point
Saturday 25th November, 2017, 8:30 AM.
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.
Pot-luck dinner at Woodhaugh Gardens.
Saturday 2nd December
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.
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.
Visit us on Facebook