Botany: Our Heritage, Our Future.

A Celebration of Teaching and Research at the University of Otago.

Celebrating Botany (1924-2014)

Botany is a 21st century subject built on a rich heritage contributed to and developed by many. Although botany was taught at the University of Otago from the outset, it was in 1924 that the Botany Department was established, with the appointment of Dr J. E. Holloway. From his one ‘all-purpose’ room Holloway instructed others in the subject that involves the scientific study of plant life. After Holloway’s retirement in 1944, a number of dedicated staff kept the department functioning until 1946 when Geoff Baylis arrived as Head of the Department (HoD). He became the first Professor of Botany in 1952. Baylis was replaced by Professor Peter Bannister in 1979, who was HoD until 2003, when Associate Professor Paul Guy took over. Professor Bastow Wilson replaced Guy as HoD in 2008. Professor Jim Simpson became HoD in 2010, and Professor Katharine Dickinson in 2011.

Since 1924, students have been exposed to all aspects of the life of plants, algae, fungi, and other closely related organisms. Today’s student engages in a subject that is now multidisciplinary, covering the gene to the ecosystem, and from the mountains to the sea. Of course the Department’s achievements are due to all staff: the technicians, the administrators, and the academics, and each have contributed greatly to the excellence in teaching and research that has been afforded to students, and more broadly to the general public, over many years. The Department is also very appreciative of the significant contributions made by its Emeritus and Honorary Professors, and other research associates.

This exhibition is mounted to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Botany Department at the University of Otago, which remains the only university Department of Botany in New Zealand. The Department is very proud of its heritage and in looking ahead considers Botany to be essential to society’s needs more than ever. Indeed, knowledge about plants is fundamental to our survival.

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Early Botanising

Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [First Fruits of the Flora of New Zealand]

Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [First Fruits of the Flora of New Zealand]

The Swedish naturalist, Daniel Charles Solander (1733-1782), accompanied Joseph Banks aboard Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour on the first Pacific expedition of 1768 to 1771. On his return to England, Solander helped Banks collate what is now known as Banks’ Florilegium. While at Teoneroa (Poverty Bay) he and Banks gathered almost 60 plant species, including the now familiar trees and shrubs: karaka, ngaio, kowhai (Sophora tetraptera), koromiko, and flax (Phormium tenax). An important part of Solander’s legacy is his manuscripts, 20 of which are in the British Museum. This copy is from his unpublished Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [1770], the first documented list of the flora of New Zealand. Solander used Linnaeus’ binomial classification system (the Latin two-word tags) to classify the plants.

Daniel Solander, Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [First Fruits of the Flora of New Zealand]. [Unpublished], 1770. Botany Department, University of Otago

The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks: 1768-1771. Vol. I

The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks: 1768-1771. Vol. I

During his voyage on the HMS Endeavour, Banks kept a journal that vividly records his visits to Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia. Botany was one of Banks’ passions and throughout the text he makes mention of plants discovered, and the exacting process of collecting, collating, and storing the specimens for the long trip home. This edition, the first full publication of the Journal, also contains illustrations by Sydney Parkinson, Banks’ botanical draughtsman. Here is the colourful kaka beak (Clianthus puniceus), which has a note on the back of the original sketch reading: ‘The capsula a bright yellow green’.

Joseph Banks, The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks: 1768-1771. Vol. I. Sydney: The Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales in association with Angus and Robertson, 1963. Brasch G420 C65 B624 1963

A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World: Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure. Vol. I

A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World: Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure. Vol. I

For many years, Māori have used flax (Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum, known as harakeke and wharariki respectively) for medicinal purposes and for rope-making and matting. Early European visitors such as Banks also realised the potential of the plant, especially its usefulness in rope-making. Painter William Hodges (1744-1797) accompanied Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific. Although renowned for his landscape paintings, Hodges also executed botanical drawings like this flax illustration for Cook’s A Voyage towards the South Pole (1777).

James Cook, A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World: Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure. Vol. I. London: Printed for W Strahan and T Cadell, 1777. de Beer Ec 1777 C

A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World. Vol. I

A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World. Vol. I

To ward off an outbreak of scurvy on board, Cook looked to a local resource while at Dusky Sound. His use of rimu leaves to create spruce beer was certainly innovative. And it was not a one-time occasion. George Vancouver (1757-1798), who accompanied Cook on the second and third voyages, also utilised the same when he called at Dusky Sound during November 1791. The ‘good effects’ on the crew of spruce beer are mentioned as well as Vancouver’s use of a species of cypress and ‘tea plant’ for brewing at sea. The Scottish surgeon Archibald Menzies (1754–1842) was with Vancouver. During his botanising he discovered two well-known plants: Dracophyllum menziesii (dragon leaf) and Nothofagus (Lophozonia) menziesii (silver beech).

George Vancouver, A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World. Vol. I. London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1801. de Beer Eb 1801 V

Lepidium oleraceum [Cook’s scurvy grass]

Lepidium oleraceum [Cook’s scurvy grass]

‘Our collection of plants was now grown so immensely large that it was necessary that some extraordinary care should be taken of them, lest they should spoil in the books. I therefore devoted this day to that business and carried ashore all the drying paper, nearly 200 quires, …spreading them upon a sail in the sun, …often turning them, …By this means they came on board at night in very good condition.’ So Banks wrote at Botany Bay, just after he left New Zealand. Presumably Professor Geoff Baylis had less quantity to deal with, but the exacting process of keeping botanical specimens was no doubt similar. Baylis collected this sample of Cook’s ‘scurvy grass’ (Lepidium oleraceum) in Dunedin in December 1951. Because of its antiscorbutic properties, Cook also used it to ward off scurvy.

Professor Geoff Baylis, Lepidium oleraceum [Cook’s scurvy grass]. [Herbarium specimen], December, 1951. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany Department, University of Otago

Joseph Dalton Hooker

The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839-1843. II: Flora Novae-Zelandiae

The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839-1843. II: Flora Novae-Zelandiae

‘I have long felt earnestly desirous of promoting a love and knowledge of the Science of Botany in those English Colonies which it has been my good fortune to visit…’. So wrote Joseph Dalton Hooker in his Flora Novae-Zelandiae (1852-1855), which, along with Flora Antarctica (1844-47) and Flora Tasmaniae (1853–59), formed the ‘Antarctic’ publications, the culmination of his botanical work during the years of the expedition, 1839-1843. The New Zealand volumes – a milestone publication of modern systematic botany – described and illustrated some 1,767 species of plants. The illustration of Clematis colensoi (now C. forsteri) was by the botanical artist Walter Hood Fitch.

Joseph Dalton Hooker, The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839-1843. II: Flora Novae-Zelandiae. London: Lovell Reeve, 1853. Special Collections QK47 HS37

Handbook of the New Zealand Flora

Handbook of the New Zealand Flora

Hooker relied on his own plant collection and the efforts of other collectors in the field to produce his later Handbook of the New Zealand Flora (1864), a ‘compendious’ and more compact account of the plants of New Zealand. This publication, however, was imperfect, with descriptions lacking to some flowering plants, and meagre sketches of fungi and crustaceous lichens. This copy is particularly significant as it once belonged to Sir James Hector (1834-1907), geologist, surgeon, and one of Hooker’s correspondents. The annotations – some extensive on the interleaved blue paper – are by John Buchanan – and are excellent examples of ‘Buchanan on Hooker’.

Joseph Dalton Hooker, Handbook of the New Zealand Flora. London: Lovell Reeve, 1864. Rare Book Collection, Landcare Research New Zealand, Lincoln

Joseph Dalton Hooker

Joseph Dalton Hooker

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) has been called the greatest British botanist of the 19th century. His first major botanical expedition was on HMS Erebus as part of Captain James Clark Ross’s Antarctica expedition, 1839-1843. By his travels and publications such as The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery-Ships Erebus and Terror in 1839–1843 (1844–60); Rhododendrons of Sikkim Himalaya (1849); The Flora of British India (1872–97); Handbook of the New Zealand Flora (1864); and Journal of a Tour in Marocco and the Great Atlas (1878), Hooker built up a solid scientific reputation. In 1855 he succeeded his father, William Jackson Hooker, as Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In 1873 he was President of the Royal Society. He was also great friends with Charles Darwin.

Unknown, Joseph Dalton Hooker. Unpublished, c. 1880. ___

Early Contributions

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Sarah Featon (1848-1927) and her husband, Edward (d. 1909) considered their Album to be a work of ‘national importance’ and they set out ‘to prove how fallacious and incorrect’ the belief was that there were ‘no flowers in New Zealand’. Sarah was an accomplished artist and painted all 40 plates which Edward furnished with his equally florid text. In the frontispiece, here, the ripe red berries of the Ripogonum scandens (supplejack) sit top left; the pink and white blooms of the Vitex littoralis (puriri) lay amongst the foliage in the middle; the long, dark, plum-coloured fruit of the Beilschmiedia tawa (tawa) dangle middle right; and the eye-catching Clianthus puniceus or kaka beak appears in the middle front.

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

Contributions to New Zealand Botany

Contributions to New Zealand Botany

William Lauder Lindsay (1829-1880), Scottish physician and botanist, arrived in Dunedin from Scotland on the 7th October, 1861. Lindsay chose to visit the Otago region because he thought it the best location with the ‘greatest botanical novelty’. Based in Fairfield, near Green Island, Lindsay conducted field research in the surrounding area, on the Taieri Plains and further south in the Tuapeka Ranges, and Kaitangata. Lindsay’s Contributions was a summation of his four month visit to the province. Aciphylla colensoi (above) (Gr. acicula – needle; phylla – leaf) is commonly known as giant speargrass. This evergreen’s foliage is sharp and spiky, and its growth widespread.

William Lauder Lindsay, Contributions to New Zealand Botany. Edinburgh: William & Norgate, 1868. Science QK463 LQ98

Contributions to New Zealand Botany

Contributions to New Zealand Botany

Title page from Contributions to New Zealand Botany.

William Lauder Lindsay, Contributions to New Zealand Botany. Edinburgh: William & Norgate, 1868. Science QK463 LQ98

Dunedin Naturalists Field Club / Botany Club of Otago

Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson

In 1862, Peter Thomson (1823-79) arrived in Dunedin from St Andrews, Scotland with his first wife and three children. He worked at the Otago Daily Times and the Otago Witness as a proof-reader. In 1871, he suggested that ‘gentlemen [who] associated for the purpose of studying the natural history of the district surrounding Dunedin’ should form an interest group. The first field trip to the Leith Valley took place in September. In October 1872 the first official meeting of the Dunedin Naturalists’ Field Club (DNFC) was held at the Otago Museum. J. S. Webb was duly elected first president, and the rules were decided upon; one of which was ‘Ladies are eligible for membership’.

Unknown, Peter Thomson. Unpublished, c. 1872. Dunedin Naturalists’ Field Club Archives

Fungus Hunting in Otago, New Zealand

Fungus Hunting in Otago, New Zealand

Helen Kirkland Dalrymple (c. 1883-1943) grew up in the Catlins, and graduated BA from the University of Otago in 1906. She became a teacher of Latin, English and Botany at Otago Girls’ High School where she took the girls on field trips and nurtured their enthusiasm for botany. Dalrymple was president of the Dunedin Naturalists' Field Club several times and when it was put forward that the club should ‘go into recess’, it was her determination that kept it going. Dalrymple was an expert on fungi. In her Fungus Hunting, which she also illustrated, she describes her travels to beech forests, sand hills and manuka groves in Otago, where she finds ‘creamy-coloured Clavarias, the scarlet-capped Secotium, [and] the red convoluted stalkless Paurocotylis.’

H. K. Dalrymple, Fungus Hunting in Otago, New Zealand. Dunedin: Coulls Somerville Wilkie Ltd, 1940. Dunedin Naturalists’ Field Club Archives

Helen Kirkland Dalrymple

Helen Kirkland Dalrymple

Photograph of H. K. Dalrymple (c. 1883-1943)

Unknown, Helen Kirkland Dalrymple. Unpublished, c. 1900s. Dunedin Naturalists' Field Club Archives

Native Plants of Dunedin and its Environs

Native Plants of Dunedin and its Environs

William Martin, local botanist, past president of the Dunedin Naturalists' Field Club (DNFC) and subsequent Life Member, first published this booklet in 1924 from a series of articles he wrote for the Otago Daily Times. Republished in 1962 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the DNFC, the booklet was rewritten again in 1994 by Dr Ralph Allen ‘to bring the plant nomenclature up to date and take account of the changed nature…of Dunedin’s natural surroundings’. Dr Allen (b. 1948) graduated from the University of Otago with a PhD in Botany and worked for the DSIR and Landcare Research. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin. Both men were Loder Cup winners: Martin (1960); Allen (2012).

Ralph Allen, Native Plants of Dunedin and its Environs. Dunedin: Otago Heritage Books, 1994. Dunedin Naturalists’ Field Club Archives

Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter

Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter

The Botanical Society of Otago was established in 1986 and its website advocates membership ‘if you’re interested in botany, native plants and/or the natural environment.’ The Society issues a regular newsletter (now online) that features upcoming meetings, field trips and workshops; botanical news; articles; and reports.

Botanical Society of Otago, Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter. Botanical Society of Otago, February 2014. Online: http://www.otago.ac.nz/botany/bso/newsletters/bso71.pdf

Professor Bastow Wilson

Professor Bastow Wilson

The Botanical Society of Otago was established in 1986. This photograph shows Emeritus Professor Bastow Wilson, founder of the Society, Head of the Botany Department 2008-2010, and now a Research Associate with Landcare Research, examining part of a fern on a field trip with the Society in June, 2000.

Otago Daily Times, Professor Bastow Wilson. Otago Daily Times, 23 June 2000. Botany Department, University of Otago

John Buchanan

A Manual of the Grasses and Forage-plants Useful to New Zealand. Part 1

A Manual of the Grasses and Forage-plants Useful to New Zealand. Part 1

About 6th December 1888, John Buchanan, draughtsman-botanist, received a presentation copy of A Manual of the Grasses and Forage-plants Useful to New Zealand (1887) from the author Thomas Mackay. Reviews of the day stressed the handy format and low price of Mackay’s useful guide, and remarked that if not found in every home in the country, it should be in every rural library. Mackay wanted to improve the quality of colour reproductions – like the white turnip (Brassica rapa) here – and asked Buchanan for a solution.

Thomas MacKay, A Manual of the Grasses and Forage-plants Useful to New Zealand. Part 1. Wellington: George Didsbury, Government Printer, 1887. Special Collections SB208 N5 M324 1887

The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I

The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I

Title page of John Buchanan's The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand.

John Buchanan, The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I. George Didsbury, Government Printer, 1878. Special Collections QK 495 G74 BW834

The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I

The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I

Buchanan had vast experience in lithographic work, especially in producing his own The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand (1878). Here is an illustration of bush rice grass (Microlaena avenacea) from his ground-breaking publication.

John Buchanan, The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Part I. Wellington: George Didsbury, Government Printer, 1878. Special Collections QK 495 G74 BW834

The Ferns and Fern Allies of New Zealand

The Ferns and Fern Allies of New Zealand

Otago Boys’ High School Science master George Malcolm Thomson (1848-1933) was an enthusiastic botanist. He wrote numerous scientific papers and articles on plants such as the violas (and their self-fertilization capabilities) and orchids. In 1891 he wrote an introductory book on botany for New Zealand high schools, and in 1922 his magnum opus appeared: The Naturalisation of Plants and Animals in New Zealand, in which he described over 1,200 introduced species. In 1882, he capitalised on the fern craze (Pteridomania) and produced one of the first succinct and useful accounts of ferns in New Zealand, describing some 145 species. Thomson was also a prime mover in establishing a marine research station, which was eventually housed at Portobello on the Otago Peninsula. This particular copy of Ferns and Fern Allies was owned by John Buchanan.

George M. Thomson, The Ferns and Fern Allies of New Zealand. Melbourne: George Robertson, 1882. Special Collections

Our Heritage & Future I - J.E. Holloway & Examinations

Records of Stage I, II & III Botany Papers

Records of Stage I, II & III Botany Papers

Here are University of New Zealand, University of Otago Botany A Paper a & b examination sheets for 1948. Given the choice of questions and the inherent complexities surrounding the desired answers, including instructions for ‘clear, well-labelled drawings where appropriate’, the student would be ‘scripting’ the full three hours. Like with many such occasions, time management is a key factor.

Botany Department, Records of Stage I, II & III Botany Papers. Botany Department, University of Otago, 1948. Botany Papers, Box 10. r6461, Hocken Collection

‘Field Notes – Botany’

‘Field Notes – Botany’

Field notes of the Reverend Dr John Ernest Holloway FRS (1881-1945).

J. E. Holloway, ‘Field Notes – Botany’. Unpublished, 1904. Private Collection

J. E. Holloway in Botanic Garden

J. E. Holloway in Botanic Garden

The appointment of the Reverend Dr John Ernest Holloway, FRS (1881-1945) to teach Botany at the University of Otago in 1924 was a great start for the Department. He was a highly regarded researcher and dedicated teacher, and his eventual work on Pteridophyta (ferns, clubmosses, etc) gained him world-wide recognition. However, the conditions he faced when he started were far from ideal: one room in the basement of the Otago Museum, which served as lecture theatre, laboratory, and office. Other resources were just as scarce. As sole member of staff he undertook all duties: collecting, preparing and displaying class material (so-called ‘lab boy duties’), administration, teaching at all levels, and research support. Here he is in a pensive mood, relaxing in the Botanic Garden of the Museum grounds.

Unknown, J. E. Holloway in Botanic Garden. Unpublished, 1931. Box 6 Botany Papers r6461, Hocken Collection

BTNY 221 - Plant Physiology & Biotechnology

BTNY 221 - Plant Physiology & Biotechnology

Part of a Botany examination paper.

Botany Department, BTNY 221 - Plant Physiology & Biotechnology. University of Otago, 2013. http://marvin.otago.ac.nz:8080/exams/pdfs/2013/BTNY/btny221_2013_s1.pdf

BTNY 322 - Mycology and Plant Pathology

BTNY 322 - Mycology and Plant Pathology

Students studying Botany at the University of Otago are exposed to all aspects of the life of plants. This includes plant structure and development, physiology and biochemistry, genetics, health and disease, relationships with other organisms and the environment (ecology), as well as traditional aspects of plant identification and classification. As the student progresses more specialised botanical papers are offered, including New Zealand Plant Ecology, Marine Botany, and Plant Diversity and Evolution.

Botany Department, BTNY 322 - Mycology and Plant Pathology. University of Otago, 2013. http://marvin.otago.ac.nz:8080/exams/pdfs/2013/BTNY/btny322_2013_s2.pdf

Otago Regional Herbarium

University of Otago Magazine, Vol. 38, ‘Whatever happened to the Herbarium?’

University of Otago Magazine, Vol. 38, ‘Whatever happened to the Herbarium?’

A herbarium or ‘library of plants’ contains dried and preserved specimens of plants, fungi, algae (seaweeds) and bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). The Otago Regional Herbarium, housed within the main building of the Botany Department, was established by Professor Geoff Baylis in the 1950s. The collection continues to expand, with some 70,000 specimens now in the Herbarium and it continues to play an important role in the Department. It provides an important historical record (the oldest specimen dates from the 1880s), and is vital for use in teaching and research. The largest herbarium in the world is housed at the Natural History Museum in Paris and has 9,500,000 specimens.

Karen Hogg, University of Otago Magazine, Vol. 38, ‘Whatever happened to the Herbarium?’. University of Otago, June, 2014. Botany Department, University of Otago

Orthotrichaceae

Orthotrichaceae

This is a specimen card from the Otago Regional Herbarium and contains various species of mosses. They are from the Orthotrichaceae family which contains about 600 species in about 27 genera. They usually grow as ‘mats’ and are epiphytic, meaning they grow on another plant in a non-parasitic way.

William Martin, Orthotrichaceae. Herbarium specimen, Unknown date. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany, University of Otago

Hypopterygium setigerum

Hypopterygium setigerum

Specimen of ‘an umbrella moss’.

William Martin, Hypopterygium setigerum. Herbarium specimen, Unknown date. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany, University of Otago

Celmisia markii

Celmisia markii

This specimen, Celmisia markii, was found by Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark in January 1969 and is named after him: ‘its discoverer, in recognition of his contribution to our understanding and appreciation of alpine ecology in the southern South Island’ (Lee and Given, 1984). Celmisia markii is a mountain daisy in the aster (asteraceae) family and grows above the treeline in alpine areas. The white flowers of this perennial appear between December and January; it is not a common plant.

Professor Sir Alan Mark, Celmisia markii. Herbarium specimen, 1969. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany, University of Otago

Our Heritage & Future II

Mary Winifred Betts

Mary Winifred Betts

Before J. E. Holloway arrived, botany at the University was taught by Miss Mary Winifred Betts (1894-1971), who graduated MSc First Class in natural science (botany) in 1917. Under Professor Benham, Head of Biology (Botany’s predecessor), Betts did a five-year stint of teaching to first year students taking medical, dental and home science degrees. Her efforts laid the groundwork for a degree programme for the Botany Department. In 1920 she married the mathematician Alexander Craig Aitken, which effectively signalled an end to her professional career.

Unknown, Mary Winifred Betts. Unpublished, c. 1920s (?). In ‘Professor’s Progress’ album. Box 7 Botany Papers r6461. Hocken Collection

‘Notes on the Autecology of Certain Plants of the Peridotite Belt, Nelson’, Part I. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Vol. 50

‘Notes on the Autecology of Certain Plants of the Peridotite Belt, Nelson’, Part I. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Vol. 50

Mary Winifred Betts' research involved attempts to relate the ecology of indigenous plants to their structure and anatomy. Rosette plants near Cass in Canterbury, and – as depicted here – plants in the ‘mineral belt’ near Nelson came under scrutiny.

Mary Winifred Betts, ‘Notes on the Autecology of Certain Plants of the Peridotite Belt, Nelson’, Part I. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Vol. 50. Royal Society of New Zealand, 1918. http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/volume/rsnz_51/rsnz_51_00_001970.html

Ella Campbell

Ella Campbell

Dunedin-born Ella Orr Campbell (1910-2003) graduated from the University of Otago with an MA in 1935. Between 1937 and 1944 she lectured at Otago; her speciality was liverworts, ferns, orchids (she was an accredited judge), and the wetlands of New Zealand. In 1945 she joined the faculty at Massey University, Palmerston North, and although ‘retiring’ in 1976, she kept researching, especially on ‘her beloved bryophytes’ (New Zealand Garden Journal, 2003). In 1997, she was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, with her citation reading: ‘pioneer in the field of university botanic research’.

Unknown, Ella Campbell. Otago Daily Times, 9th August 2003. Botany Department, University of Otago

Agricultural Botany

Agricultural Botany

This co-authored copy of Agricultural Botany was Ella Campbell’s personal copy.

J. S. Yeates and Ella O. Campbell, Agricultural Botany. Wellington: R. E. Owen, Government Printer, 1960. Science SB 107 YD3 1960

How to Identify Common N.Z. Trees & Shrubs in the Dunedin-Otago Area

How to Identify Common N.Z. Trees & Shrubs in the Dunedin-Otago Area

After J. E. Holloway retired because of illness in 1944, Brenda Shore (née Slade; 1922-1993) stepped in and taught Botany until the newly appointed Geoff Baylis began his duties in the Department. Shore’s specialty field was plant anatomy and morphogenesis, which she taught until her retirement as Associate Professor in 1983. Shore (and her family) established two significant legacies: the Shore Trust, which is aimed to assist research in Botany at the University; and the Brenda Shore Award for Women, which provides funding opportunities for women who are studying at postgraduate level in the natural sciences. Shore was a skilled artist and her How to Identify Common N.Z. Trees & Shrubs in the Dunedin-Otago Area (1978) contains many fine line drawings by her.

Brenda F. Shore, How to Identify Common N.Z. Trees & Shrubs in the Dunedin-Otago Area. [Dunedin: Otago Museum], [1978]. Private Collection

Brenda Shore (née Slade)

Brenda Shore (née Slade)

Photograph of Brenda Shore at the University of Otago's Botany Department.

Unknown, Brenda Shore (née Slade). Unpublished, c. 1945. Botany Department, University of Otago

Our Heritage & Future III

Portobello Aquarium Illustrated Guide

Portobello Aquarium Illustrated Guide

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Batham (1917-1974) graduated with first-class honours in botany and zoology from Otago, and went on to complete a doctorate in Cambridge. Although retaining an interest in botany, it was marine biology that truly won the day. Batham was instrumental in setting up the Portobello Marine Research station, of which she became director. Back in 1945, before the arrival of Baylis, and in response to J. E. Holloway’s intention of announcing there would be no botany lectures that year, she, Margaret Cookson and Brenda Shore initiated a strategy to keep the Botany Department functioning. Batham delivered senior classes at stage II and III.

Elizabeth J. Batham and D. W. McArthur, Portobello Aquarium Illustrated Guide. [Portobello Aquarium], 1963. Brasch QH 91.65 N52 P67

Elizabeth J. Batham and Hubert Ryburn

Elizabeth J. Batham and Hubert Ryburn

Here is the impeccably dressed Betty Batham, showing Hubert Ryburn, Master of Knox College and University of Otago Chancellor, some microscopic wonder.

Unknown, Elizabeth J. Batham and Hubert Ryburn. Unpublished, 1962. Private Collection

Ann Wylie

Ann Wylie

Associate Professor Wylie retired in 1987; here she relaxes in the Scottish Borders, 1999.

Unknown, Ann Wylie. Unpublished, 1999. Private Collection

Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants

Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants

The Three ‘Botany’ Musketeers were Batham, Cookson and Shore. The fourth unofficial Musketeer was Ann Wylie, who helped out while finishing off her Honours thesis. Appointed to the Botany Department in 1961, she taught plant cytology and genetics. While undertaking postgraduate work in England, she was fortunate to work with C. D. Darlington (1903-81), an English biologist, geneticist and eugenicist, on a new edition of the Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants. This publication, which described some 15,000 species and 2,500 genera, not only assisted the plant breeder by showing what species may be crossed and with what results, but it also provided the geneticist and evolutionist with the rules or laws of chromosome variation.

C. D. Darlington and Ann P. Wylie, Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants. London: Allen & Unwin, 1955. Science SB107 D632 1955

Greta Stevenson

Greta Stevenson

Dunedin and its surroundings did much to foster Greta Stevenson’s (1911-1990) love for botany. She attended the University of Otago in 1929 and was an outstanding botany student, graduating BSc in 1932 and MSc with first class honours in 1933. In 1934, a paper based on her MSc entitled ‘Life History of the New Zealand Species of the Parasitic Genus Korthalsella’ was published in the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, which greatly improved on descriptions by Hooker, Kirk, John Enys, and Cheeseman.

Unknown, Greta Stevenson. Unpublished, c. 1940s (?). Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa - C-17974

A Book of Ferns

A Book of Ferns

Many of Greta Stevenson's articles and scholarly papers on mycology (the study of fungi) and ferns carry her own illustrations, including this Paul’s Book Arcade edition of Book of Ferns.

Greta Stevenson, A Book of Ferns. Hamilton, N. Z.: Paul’s Book Arcade, 1959. Science QK531 SU48 1959

Kirk & Cheeseman

The Forest Flora of New Zealand

The Forest Flora of New Zealand

It seems Thomas Kirk (1828-98) was destined to be a botanist as both his parents were nursery workers. Born in England, Kirk emigrated and arrived in Auckland in 1863. Initially working as a timber merchant, he became a lecturer of Natural Sciences and an eminent botanist. This Government-commissioned volume was a ‘descriptive account of the economic trees and shrubs’ of New Zealand. This plate of Agathis australis or kauri was drawn by John Boscawen (1851-1937) of the NZ Survey Department.

Thomas Kirk, The Forest Flora of New Zealand. Wellington: George Didsbury, Government Printer, 1889. Special Collections QK 463 KK83

Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora

Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora

Thomas Frederic Cheeseman (1845-1923) began botanising soon after his arrival in New Zealand in 1854. He discovered many ‘new’ species, some of which he sent to Joseph Hooker. This Government-commissioned work features 268 native species drawn in 251 plates by Matilda Smith of the Royal Herbarium at Kew. Metrosideros parkinsonii or Parkinson’s rata is in the same genus as pohutakawa and can be found in the northwest of the South Island and on the Barrier Islands in the north. Named after Cook’s botanical artist, Sydney Parkinson, the rata flowers are a bright red.

Thomas Frederic Cheeseman, Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora. Wellington: John Mackay, Government Printer, 1914. Special Collections QK 463 I946

Ethnobotany

Ki a Whaka…

Ki a Whaka…

Rongoā was a traditional Māori system of healing that comprised diverse practices such as herbal remedies, physical therapies (massage and manipulation), and spiritual healing, for which tohunga (expert practitioners) were often responsible. One small example of a homeopathic remedy used by local Māori was recorded by Dr T. M. Hocken on 17 November 1865, when he was called to an inquest at the Taieri River Hotel on the death of a young five year old. Note the use of leaves from the kowhai, ngaio and karamu trees.

Dr T. M. Hocken, Ki a Whaka…. Unpublished, 17th December, 1865. Hocken Collection MS-0451-003/005

Paper prepared at home from New Zealand flax

Paper prepared at home from New Zealand flax

Phormium tenax (flax) was a useful commodity for both Māori and Europeans, and Dr Thomas Morland Hocken had the presence of mind to save this sheet, which Edward McGlashan had made from flax plant in December 1866. Hocken’s note reads: ‘This is a good specimen of his paper for books & shows how well it takes ink.’

Edward McGlashan, Paper prepared at home from New Zealand flax. Unpublished, December, 1866. Hocken Collection MS-0451-003/004

Pōhā with tītī (muttonbird) placed inside blades of kelp

Pōhā with tītī (muttonbird) placed inside blades of kelp

To store and preserve tītī (muttonbird), Southern Māori turned to local natural resources. The birds (Puffinus griseus) are placed inside blades of kelp (seaweeds, belonging to the brown algae class Phaeophyceae), the air is removed (a sort of vacuum packing), and then the kelp is protected with a covering of bark from the totara tree. This all forms a pōhā. Finally, a small woven basket is created to provide support to the bottom of the pōhā. This replica was hand-crafted by Graham Metzger, a respected kaumātua (elder) from Awarua Rūnaka. It was gifted to Professor Kath Dickinson, now Head of Botany, in 2009.

Graham Metzger, Pōhā with tītī (muttonbird) placed inside blades of kelp. Artefact, 2009. Botany Department, University of Otago

Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tītī

Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tītī

The collecting of the raw materials - the kelp, the flax, the totara bark – to make a pōhā takes much time and effort. And then there are the muttonbirds (tītī), which have to be caught, plucked and readied for storing. Graham Metzger’s narrative of the intricate processes is written by Hana Pomare for this Māori language edition. The photographs on display show the muttonbirds being pushed into the kelp bag.

Graham Metzger and Hana Pōmare, Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tītī. Thorndon [Wellington]: HANA, 2006. Private Collection

Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tīti

Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tīti

Cover of Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tītī.

Graham Metzger and Hana Pōmare, Tēnei Mea te Pōhā Tīti. Thorndon [Wellington]: HANA, 2006. Private Collection

Associate Professor Kevin Gould

Associate Professor Kevin Gould

Article from the University of Otago Magazine

University of Otago, Associate Professor Kevin Gould. University of Otago, June, 2006. Botany Department

Botany Today I

Associate Professor Paul Guy

Associate Professor Paul Guy

Associate Professor Paul Guy (Head of Department 2003-2007), joined Botany in 1992 and conducts research in areas such as plant virology, plant pathology and grass endophytes. One of his most recent papers is ‘Detection and analysis of endogenous badnaviruses in the New Zealand flora’ (AoB Plants, 2011), co-authored with David Lyttle and colleague Dr David Orlovich.

Unknown, Associate Professor Paul Guy. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Dr Tina Summerfield

Dr Tina Summerfield

Dr Tina Summerfield started working in Botany in 2009. She brings to the Department a research strength in molecular botany, with a particular focus on cyanobacterial diversity within different environments.

Unknown, Dr Tina Summerfield. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Dr Janice Lord

Dr Janice Lord

Dr Janice Lord is curator of the Otago Regional Herbarium and a plant evolutionary biologist with interests in plant reproductive strategies and traditional uses of plants by Māori. She started in the Botany Department at the University of Otago in 1996.

Unknown, Dr Janice Lord. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Botany Staff, University of Otago, 2013

Botany Staff, University of Otago, 2013

Whether staff are busy out in the field, or teaching students; researching; on sabbatical; or coping with the myriad of other tasks that bind a Department together, it is often difficult to gather everyone together at the same time. A gathering in 2013 brought most together, including John Steel (Botany Teaching Fellow), Kath McGilbert (Department Administrator), technical staff Vickey Tomlinson, Susan MacKenzie, Hadley O’Sullivan, Rebecca MacDonald, and Stewart Bell. The Department of Botany is the Administration Centre for the Ecology Degree Programme. Dr Haseeb Randhawa (fourth from left) is the Ecology Senior Teaching Fellow, whose research interests focus on marine ecosystems, particularly shark parasitology. Two people not in this photograph and who joined the Department recently are Michelle McKinlay, office administrator, and Dr Linn Hoffmann.

Unknown, Botany Staff, University of Otago, 2013. Botany Department, 2013. University of Otago

Dr Peter Buchanan, Dr David Orlovich and Genevieve Gates, Dunedin

Dr Peter Buchanan, Dr David Orlovich and Genevieve Gates, Dunedin

Dr David Orlovich began his career in the Botany Department in 1999. With a research interest in fungi, their habitats and communities, Orlovich is often out in the field ‘botanising’. Here he is (background) with PhD student Genevieve Gates, while fellow mycologist Dr Peter Buchanan (Landcare) is in the foreground holding a flower-shaped fungus (Aseroe rubra).

Unknown, Dr Peter Buchanan, Dr David Orlovich and Genevieve Gates, Dunedin. Otago Daily Times, May 2008. Botany Department, University of Otago

Dr Linn Hoffman

Dr Linn Hoffman

Unknown, Dr Linn Hoffman. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

E.L. Hellaby IGR Trust

The Forest Flora of New Zealand

The Forest Flora of New Zealand

This volume is Eleanor Lillywhite Hellaby’s own copy of Thomas Kirk’s The Forest Flora of New Zealand. It was given to her by her sister Rose, and then gifted to the Botany Department at the University of Otago in 1964. The instantly recognisable plant featured is a species of kowhai or Sophora. A member of the legume family, the kowhai’s naked branches flower from August to October and are said to herald the coming of spring. The flowers are a favourite food of the tui and bellbird and are considered by some to be the national flower of New Zealand. Indeed, Botany has adopted the kowhai as their Department motif.

Thomas Kirk, The Forest Flora of New Zealand. Wellington: George Didsbury, Government Printer, 1889. Botany Department, University of Otago

‘The Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust’ Poster

‘The Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust’ Poster

In the late 1950s, Eleanor Lillywhite Hellaby (d. 1967), daughter of William Hellaby of the Hellaby butchery empire, was looking for a worthy cause to benefit from her estate after her death. In 1959, Miss Hellaby (known as Lilly) was persuaded by her brother Arthur and Gordon Cunningham, a DSIR plant scientist, to set up the Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust. At the time indigenous grasslands were being steadily eroded by the encroachment of pastoral farming and there was a lack of funding for research into and support of these important ecological areas. Arthur Hellaby thought that since the Hellaby family livelihood had gained so much from the land, it was an admirable opportunity to give something back. Notable Chairs of the Trust have included Professors Geoff Baylis and Sir Alan Mark.

Unknown, ‘The Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust’ Poster. Unpublished, c. 2004. Botany Department, University of Otago

Audrey Eagle

Photograph recording the occasion of Audrey Eagle’s honorary Doctor of Science degree, Botany Department, May 2013

Photograph recording the occasion of Audrey Eagle’s honorary Doctor of Science degree, Botany Department, May 2013

Audrey Eagle was born in Timaru in 1925, but when she was eight, she moved with her parents to England. It was in the countryside of Oxfordshire that she developed her love of all things botanical and she began to paint what she saw. Returning to New Zealand in the late 1940s, she started painting New Zealand plants and used these paintings to help cement the names of each plant in her memory. The Botany Department, and especially Professor Sir Alan Mark, were instrumental in Eagle receiving an honorary Doctor of Science degree in May 2013. A Botany Department morning tea was held to celebrate this honour. This photograph captures the occasion, with (from left): David Lyttle (Botanical Society of Otago’s President), Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark, Audrey Eagle, and Professor Kath Dickinson, Head of Botany.

Unknown, Photograph recording the occasion of Audrey Eagle’s honorary Doctor of Science degree, Botany Department, May 2013. Botany Department, May, 2013. University of Otago

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume I

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume I

Audrey Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs is the culmination of over fifty years work. Eagle began painting plant specimens she had collected in 1954. Her first illustrated volume, containing 228 paintings, was published in 1975. A second volume appeared in 1982. In 2006 the definitive edition appeared, containing drawings of all the trees and shrubs native to New Zealand, including those from the previous two volumes. Eagle’s work, which totals some 800 botanical paintings, has won several awards, including the 2007 Montana Medal for Non-Fiction. Weighing in at six kilograms, and described as a ‘surrogate herbarium’, this is truly a monumental work.

Audrey Eagle, Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume I. Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2006. Private Collection

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume II

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume II

All but one of the plants in Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs are drawn from life and appear life-size, with some parts enlarged. A brief description of each plant’s appearance and habitat is given, alongside the Latin names (family, genus and species), common name, and, where applicable, its Māori nomenclature. Solanum aviculare is a member of the Nightshade family and is commonly known as poroporo or New Zealand nightshade. The leaves contain a steroid, solasodine, which can be used as a contraceptive. The leaves can also be boiled and made into a salve, relieving skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The berries are toxic when green but edible when they ripen to orange.

Audrey Eagle, Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Volume II. Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2006. Private Collection

Adams, Holdsworth & Galloway

Seaweeds of New Zealand: An Illustrated Guide

Seaweeds of New Zealand: An Illustrated Guide

Nancy Adams (1926-2007) was a botanist and a highly skilled artist, who worked at the Dominion Museum (now Te Papa) from 1959. During her career, she illustrated almost 40 books, including Professor Sir Alan Mark’s New Zealand Alpine Plants (1973; 1986; 1995). There are thousands of species of seaweed growing in the seas and oceans around the world. Adams’s Seaweeds of New Zealand, which won the Montana Book of the Year Award in 1995, describes 600 New Zealand varieties, with illustrations of 441. Red seaweeds, of which the genus Gigartina is one, are known to contain sulphated polysaccharides or carrageenans ‘which exhibit many beneficial biological activities such as anticoagulant, antiviral, antioxidative, anticancer and immunomodulating activities’ (Wijesekar et al, 2011).

Nancy Adams, Seaweeds of New Zealand: An Illustrated Guide. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 1994. Science QK577.5 A615

‘The Leaf Movements of Soybean, a Short-day Plant’. Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 15, no. 44

‘The Leaf Movements of Soybean, a Short-day Plant’. Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 15, no. 44

After completing a PhD on onions, where he wittingly said ‘he wept out the war – dissecting onions for the Ministry of Food’ – Dr Martin Holdsworth (1920-1990) took up a position in the Botany Department in 1948, teaching medical, dental and home science students. Apart from a seven year stint in Ghana, he taught at Otago until he retired as associate professor in 1979. Holdsworth’s scholarly publications spanned a wide range of topics, including carbon dioxide uptake by succulents, the growth of mango trees, and the vegetation of Great Island, part of Three Kings Islands (Manawatawhi). Here is an early paper by him on the leaf movements of soybean.

Martin Holdsworth, ‘The Leaf Movements of Soybean, a Short-day Plant’. Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 15, no. 44. Oxford: Oxford University Press, May, 1964. Private Collection

Martin Holdsworth

Martin Holdsworth

Photograph of Martin Holdsworth on Great Island, Three Kings, 1963

Unknown, Martin Holdsworth. Unpublished, 1963. Private Collection

Flora of New Zealand: Lichens: including Lichen-forming and Lichenicolous Fungi, Vol. II

Flora of New Zealand: Lichens: including Lichen-forming and Lichenicolous Fungi, Vol. II

David Galloway (1942-2014) was born in Invercargill and developed his passion for lichens on the ‘Sphagnum bogs on the Southland Plains’ in the 1950s. Galloway graduated PhD from Otago and went on to work for the DSIR, and then the Natural History Museum in London. This edition of his Lichens is a revised and updated version of his 1985 publication. The two volumes contain descriptions of 354 genera of lichens, covering some 75 to 80 percent of the lichens of New Zealand.

David Galloway, Flora of New Zealand: Lichens: including Lichen-forming and Lichenicolous Fungi, Vol. II. Lincoln: Manaaki Whenua Press, 2007. Science QK593.5 G524 2007

Botany Today II

Dr David Burritt

Dr David Burritt

Dr David Burritt is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Botany. His research interests include the stress physiology of plants, algae, and animals, and the use of biotechnology for the improvement of crop plants. He is particularly interested in the impact of global climate change on plants and algae, plant cell wall structure and function, and seed physiology.

Unknown, Dr David Burritt. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

‘The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Phenanthrene causes Oxidative Stress and alters Polyamine Metabolism in the Aquatic Liverwort Riccia fluitans L.’ in Plant, Cell and Environment

‘The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Phenanthrene causes Oxidative Stress and alters Polyamine Metabolism in the Aquatic Liverwort Riccia fluitans L.’ in Plant, Cell and Environment

Paper written by Dr David Burritt, Botany Department, University of Otago

David John Burritt, ‘The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Phenanthrene causes Oxidative Stress and alters Polyamine Metabolism in the Aquatic Liverwort Riccia fluitans L.’ in Plant, Cell and Environment. Blackwell Publishing, 2008. Private Collection

Botany Plants=Life

Botany Plants=Life

Botany, a term from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη (botane) meaning ‘pasture’, ‘grass’ or ‘fodder’, is the scientific study of plant life. Being one of the oldest sciences, it once involved identifying and cultivating edible, medicinal and poisonous plants; picture the village herbalist, and physic gardens, often attached to monasteries and later, universities. As scientific knowledge and technologies advanced so did botanical studies. Today’s student of botany is faced with a subject that is now multidisciplinary, and increasingly studied at different scales from the gene to the ecosystem. No matter what the approach is, this 2014 brochure states a truism: ‘knowledge about plants is fundamental to our survival.’

Botany Department, Botany Plants=Life. University of Otago, 2014. Botany Department

Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November - 12 December, 2010

Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November - 12 December, 2010

For most botanists the best experience is being out in the field, an admirable opportunity to view flora and fauna in their natural environment, and of course collect specimens and data. Between 22nd November and 12th December 2010, team leader Dr Janice Lord, PhD student Lorna Little, senior Technical Officer Vickey Tomlinson, and Department of Conservation representative Lynne Huggins spent time on Campbell Island, some 700 km south of Bluff. Plant taxa they spotted included Stilbocarpa, Hebe, Pleurophyllum hookeri, Pleurophyllum criniferum and Pleurophyllum speciosum (which flowered before they left), Bulbinella rossii, and Anisotome. Here are Lynne, Lorna, Janice and Vickey outside the wharf sheds.

Vickey Tomlinson, Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November - 12 December, 2010. Unpublished, 2010. Private Collection

Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November -12 December, 2010

Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November -12 December, 2010

Inside the sheds on the Campbell Island Nature Reserve was a warm ‘Welcome Botanists’ message from the NIWA team based on the island.

Vickey Tomlinson, Campbell Island Nature Reserve Trip, 22 November -12 December, 2010. Unpublished, 2010. Private Collection

Botany Today III

Professor Kath Dickinson

Professor Kath Dickinson

Profile of Professor Kath Dickinson, head of the Botany department at the University of Otago from 2011.

Botany Department, Professor Kath Dickinson. University of Otago, 2014. Botany Department

Botany Plants = Life Information sheet

Botany Plants = Life Information sheet

Profile of Botany student Suliana Teasdale.

Botany Department, Botany Plants = Life Information sheet. University of Otago, May, 2014. Botany Department

Professor Steven Higgins

Professor Steven Higgins

Profile of Professor Steven Higgins who started in the Botany Department in 2013.

Botany Department, Professor Steven Higgins. University of Otago, 2014. Botany Department

Botany bookmarks

Botany bookmarks

Here are some bookmarks of various plants such as Ranunculus ficaria, Splachnidium rugosum (Deadman’s fingers), lichens, and ‘Swiss chards’, which are not only nutritious, but range in colour from white to yellow to red. Descriptive text accompanies these images.

Botany Department, Botany bookmarks. University of Otago, 2014. Botany Department

Past & Future: Tennant, Baylis, Bannister, and Sir Alan Mark

John Smaillie Tennant

John Smaillie Tennant

Before the arrival of Professor Benham in 1898, John Smaillie Tennant (1865-1958) carried out class work in zoology and botany with William Mawson; he gained his BSc in 1892 and an MA in 1899. A move to Wellington saw Tennant become an Inspector of Schools, and later, in 1923, Chair of Education at Victoria University, Wellington. He was also fortunate to be part of the ‘Botany’ team of the 1907 Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition, a New Zealand scientific expedition organised by the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury.

Broma Studio, Nelson, John Smaillie Tennant. Unpublished, [193-?]. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, Ref: No. PAColl-3438

J. S. Tennant to an unknown correspondent

J. S. Tennant to an unknown correspondent

John Smaillie Tennant's fondness for his time at Otago was superbly expressed by a bequest of £1000 to the ‘Biological Department’, specifically (as in this copy of his letter) to the ‘Botanical Dept’ and towards ‘some sort of research in the native flora of NZ.’ Tennant’s legacy is very much alive today. The Tennant Fund, which he bequeathed to the Department, supports, among other things, the Tennant Lecture, which is an annual event in the Department’s calendar.

John Smaillie Tennant, J. S. Tennant to an unknown correspondent. Unpublished, 4th November, 1955. Botany Department, University of Otago

Raustorium

Raustorium

A specimen of Raustorium from the Otago Regional Herbarium.

___, Raustorium. Herbarium specimen, Unknown date. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany Department, University of Otago

Pennantia baylisiana (Oliver) Baylis

Pennantia baylisiana (Oliver) Baylis

Here is the actual specimen of Pennantia baylisiana, the rarest tree in the world, which Baylis himself discovered while on a field trip on Great Island, part of Three Kings, 64 kms north of Cape Maria van Dieman in the North Island, in 1963.

Professor Geoff Baylis, Pennantia baylisiana (Oliver) Baylis. Herbarium specimen, 1965. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany Department, University of Otago

Founded on Fact. The Autobiography of Geoff Baylis

Founded on Fact. The Autobiography of Geoff Baylis

While at Auckland University Geoff Baylis (1913-2003) earned his MSc on the ecology of the mangrove Avicennia resinifera (now Avicennia marina subsp. Australasia). In 1936, a scholarship enabled Baylis to attend London Imperial College where he gained his PhD on fungal damage to germinating peas. In 1946, he was appointed Lecturer-in-Charge of Botany at Otago, taking over from the Rev. Dr J. E. Holloway. He became first Professor of Botany (1952) and was Head of the Department for 34 years, retiring in 1978.

Geoff Baylis, Founded on Fact. The Autobiography of Geoff Baylis. Auckland: Privately published, 2003. Private Collection

Introduction to Physiological Plant Ecology

Introduction to Physiological Plant Ecology

Peter Bannister’s Introduction to Physiological Plant Ecology was published in 1979, the year he was appointed Professor and Head of Botany Department at Otago University. He held the latter position until 2003. Bannister (1939-2008) was active in research, penning numerous articles on various aspects of plant eco-physiology and ecology.

Peter Bannister, Introduction to Physiological Plant Ecology. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1979. Science QK 711.2 B627

Anne Thwaites to Peter Bannister

Anne Thwaites to Peter Bannister

Letter from Anne Thwaites of Oamaru to the Botany Department at the Otago University enquiring about some 'fungi' that she had found.

Anne Thwaites, Anne Thwaites to Peter Bannister. Unpublished, 28th June, 1998. Botany Department, University of Otago

Peter Bannister

Peter Bannister

Photograph of Peter Bannister officially opening the Jack Bannister Memorial Bike Shed.

Unknown, Peter Bannister. Unpublished, c. 2010. Botany Department, University of Otago

Outstanding Physiologist Award Medal

Outstanding Physiologist Award Medal

Professor Peter Bannister was awarded an ‘Outstanding Physiologist Award’ medal in 2003; his legacy continues today in numerous ways, including the Peter Bannister Student Field Grant Fund, which is administered through the Botanical Society of Otago.

New Zealand Society of Plant Physiologists, Outstanding Physiologist Award Medal. ___, 2003. Private Collection

Above the Treeline. A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand

Above the Treeline. A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand

Part of Professor Sir Alan Mark's research incorporates alpine ecosystems, and his most recent publication, Above the Treeline (2012), reflects both his passion and scholasticism. And like many of his colleagues, he enjoys field-work.

Alan F. Mark, Above the Treeline. A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand. Nelson: Craig Potton Publishing, 2012. Science QK463 M374 2012

Celmisia semicordata Petrie

Celmisia semicordata Petrie

This sample of Celmisia semicordata Petrie was collected by him on Mt Savage, Humboldt Mountains, on the West Coast of the South Island in 1968.

Professor Sir Alan Mark, Celmisia semicordata Petrie. Herbarium specimen, 1968. Otago Regional Herbarium, Botany Deparment, University of Otago

Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark

Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark

Dunedin-born Alan Mark joined the Botany Department at Otago University in 1955, after completing his MSc: ‘A study of the vegetation of the Maungatua Range’ (1954). In 1975 he was appointed Professor of Botany, and in 1978 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. In December 2009, he was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit, the first such for services to conservation. Indeed, Mark is one of New Zealand’s foremost plant ecologists and conservationists.

Otago Daily Times, Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark. Otago Daily Times, Wednesday, 30 December 2009. Botany Department, University of Otago

Additional images

Block plan of Museum King Street Dunedin showing site of new Botany Laboratory (No. 560)

Block plan of Museum King Street Dunedin showing site of new Botany Laboratory (No. 560)

Architectural Plans

Miller & White, Dalziel Architects, Block plan of Museum King Street Dunedin showing site of new Botany Laboratory (No. 560). Miller & White, Dalziel Architects, 1948. MS-2758-774. Hocken Collections

Professor Geoff Baylis and students, 1958

Professor Geoff Baylis and students, 1958

Standing in the back row, second from the right is Professor Geoff Baylis (1913-2003) who began lecturing in the Botany department in 1946 and was head of department for 34 years before his retirement in 1978.

Unknown, Professor Geoff Baylis and students, 1958. Unpublished, 1958. Botany Papers r6461. Hocken Collections

Plants=Life

Plants=Life

So why do people study botany? Among other things, plants are important bio-markers of climate and ecological changes in the environment; they contain compounds which could be useful in the treatment of hard-to-treat diseases; and they are very important to the economy of this country. The Botany Department at Otago was the first of its kind in New Zealand and is the ‘last one standing’ in all universities throughout the country.

Botany Department, Plants=Life. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Sketch of Professor Geoff Baylis

Sketch of Professor Geoff Baylis

In 2003, local Dunedin artist Murray Webb was commissioned by Dr David Holdsworth to make a sketch of Professor Geoff Baylis. It was presented to the eminent botanist at his 90th birthday celebrations, and features Baylis sitting amidst leaves of Pennantia baylisiana, the rarest tree in the world. This plant was discovered by Baylis while on a field trip on Great Island, part of Three Kings, 64 kms north of Cape Maria van Dieman, in 1963.

Murray Webb, Sketch of Professor Geoff Baylis. Original image, 2003. Private Collection

Professor Alan Mark and students on Mt Armstrong, 1984

Professor Alan Mark and students on Mt Armstrong, 1984

As would be expected in any Botany Department staff and students have to get out in the ‘field’ to conduct their research. Here is Professor Sir Alan Mark (far left) with a cohort of Botany students from Otago University on Mount Armstrong, about twenty kilometres north of Haast Pass, in the Mount Aspiring National Park.

Unknown, Professor Alan Mark and students on Mt Armstrong, 1984. Unpublished, 1984. Botany Papers r6461. Hocken Collections

Plant Growth Facilities

Plant Growth Facilities

Botany Facilities poster

Botany Department, Plant Growth Facilities. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Botany Department Discussion Document Site Layout

Botany Department Discussion Document Site Layout

Concept F - Botany - Proposed New Earth Sciences Block

M. Goldfinch, Botany Department Discussion Document Site Layout. University of Otago, 29th August, 2012. Botany Department, University of Otago

 

 

Historic Brendel Plant Models: Robert Brendel (d. 1898) began making models of botanical specimens in the late 1860s in Breslau in what is now Poland. The models are made from various materials including papier-mâché, wood, plaster, gelatin, cotton, rattan, glass beads and feathers. Each model was made from a mould and painted by hand. Brendel models became known for their large size, their accuracy, and their detachable parts to enable further investigation. They became an essential part of the resources of any institution teaching botany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These are just a small selection of the models owned by the Botany Department at Otago which were procured for the university by T.J. Parker (1850-97), the first Professor of Biology.

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Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap)

Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap)

Carnivorous plants evolved their meat-eating habits to cope in areas with poor soil conditions as a means to obtain essential nutrients. The Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is native to the wetlands on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The inside of the ‘trap’ is covered in tiny hairs which are triggered into action when an insect lands upon them.

Robert Brendel, Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

Solanum tuberosum (potato) infected with Phytophthera infestans (blight)

Solanum tuberosum (potato) infected with Phytophthera infestans (blight)

This Brendel model depicts a potato (Solanum tuberosum) skin infected with blight – Phytophthera infestans. This fungal organism (shown here as a light green tendril) turns potatoes to mush and was responsible for the Great Famine which devastated Ireland in the mid-19th century.

Robert Brendel, Solanum tuberosum (potato) infected with Phytophthera infestans (blight). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Model, Botany Department, University of Otago

Ribes grossularia or uva-crispa (Gooseberry)

Ribes grossularia or uva-crispa (Gooseberry)

Native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, the gooseberry or Ribes grossularia (now uva-crispa), was cultivated in England from the 13th century. The flowers grow singly or in pairs and from each a berry develops. Gooseberry bushes can tolerate a cold climate but prefer full sun and they fruit in New Zealand from November to February.

Robert Brendel, Ribes grossularia or uva-crispa (Gooseberry). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

Equisetum arvense (common horsetail)

Equisetum arvense (common horsetail)

Equisetum arvense or common horsetail is a plant native to the Northern Hemisphere which was accidentally introduced to New Zealand in the early 1920s. It is listed on the Ministry of Primary Industries Biosecurity website as an ‘unwanted organism’ and is poisonous to livestock. This model shows one of the plant’s fertile shoots with a spore cone or strobilus at the top.

Robert Brendel, Equisetum arvense (common horsetail). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

Lythrum salicaria (Purple loosestrife)

Lythrum salicaria (Purple loosestrife)

These pretty flowers belong to the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) plant. The flowers are reddish-purple with five or six petals and twelve stamens and there are three different types – short, medium and long, as depicted in this Brendel model. Introduced to New Zealand in the 1950s as an ornamental, these plants are now considered a threat to the wetland areas, which is their habitat, because they grow in clumps and crowd out other species.

Robert Brendel, Lythrum salicaria (Purple loosestrife). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

Marchantia polymorpha (umbrella liverwort)

Marchantia polymorpha (umbrella liverwort)

Marchantia polymorpha (umbrella liverwort) grows worldwide. It is dioecious which means that the plant has separate male and female parts and this model depicts the female reproductive organ which can grow up to 10 centimetres in length; the ‘spokes’ of the umbrella-like structure house the egg-producing organs. The University of Cambridge hosts a website exclusively devoted to the liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha.

Robert Brendel, Marchantia polymorpha (umbrella liverwort). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Model, Botany Department, University of Otago

Drosera rotundiflora (Common sundew)

Drosera rotundiflora (Common sundew)

Look a little closer and you will see the fly trapped within the leaf of this carnivorous plant, Drosera rotundiflora or common sundew. These plants are found in the wetland areas of Europe, Siberia, Japan, North America and the island of New Guinea. The top of each leaf is covered in tiny red hairs that secrete a sweet, sticky mucus which attracts insects. Studies have shown that extracts of the plant exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-angiogenic (useful in the treatment of cancer) properties.

Robert Brendel, Drosera rotundiflora (Common sundew). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

Salvia officinalis (common sage)

Salvia officinalis (common sage)

Salvia officinalis or common sage has been used for centuries to flavour food and as a medicinal remedy. It has been used in the past to ‘ward off evil’ and the Plague; as a cure for snakebites; a diuretic; a treatment for asthma; to stop bleeding; and more recently has ‘shown promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease’ (Perry, et al. 2005). Sage flowers are edible and come in the late spring and through the summer months.

Robert Brendel, Salvia officinalis (common sage). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Model, Botany Department, University of Otago

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Bearded iris (Iris germanica), a native of Europe, was first recorded in New Zealand (according to George Malcolm Thomson) by Thomas Kirk in 1869. In New Zealand it flowers in November and there are many different cultivars of the species ranging in colour from jet black to bright purple to golden yellow.

Robert Brendel, Iris germanica (Bearded iris). ___, c. 1890. Historical Brendel Plant Models, Botany Department, University of Otago

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Oenothera biennis (Common evening primrose)

Oenothera biennis (Common evening primrose)

Botanical teaching chart.

Heinrich Jung, Oenothera biennis (Common evening primrose). Darmstadt, Germany: Frommann & Morian, c. 1900 (?). Botany Department, University of Otago

Plants=Life

Plants=Life

Leading botanical research and botanical study

Botany Department, Plants=Life. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Milkcap mushroom

Milkcap mushroom

The milkcap mushroom (Lactarius hauroko ined.) is produced by a fungus that grows on the roots of southern beech (Nothofagus) trees. The mushroom is distinctive because it produces a milky latex on the gills and cap when damaged. The fungus benefits trees growth by enhancing phosphate nutrition.

Botany Department, Milkcap mushroom. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Pond water

Pond water

Every drop of pond water is teeming with life and many of the organisms found living there are able to fix carbon via photosynthesis. For this reason they are often studied by botanists. Can you identify some of the photosynthetic organisms in this image?

Botany Department, Pond water. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Gunnera prorepens

Gunnera prorepens

Gunnera prorepens typically grows on boggy ground near streams. Like all gunneras it hosts intracellular cyanobacteria that fix atmospheric nitrogen. This unique symbiosis may help this species grow in low fertility soils.

Botany Department, Gunnera prorepens. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Calystegia

Calystegia

Calystegia is a genus of flowering plants in the bindweed family, Convolvulaceae. In New Zealand they are often found growing near the coast or along lake shorelines. Some species are serious weeds as they are difficult to control and can grow more quickly than many native and crop plant species.

Botany Department, Calystegia. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Lettuce shoots in culture

Lettuce shoots in culture

The ability to grow whole plants from individual plant cells using cell culture techniques has become a useful tool to help botanists study key biochemical, genetic and physiological processes associated with plant development. This image, obtained using a scanning electron microscope, shows lettuce shoots (Latuca sativa) developing in culture.

Botany Department, Lettuce shoots in culture. Botany Department, 2014. University of Otago

Reverend Dr John Ernest Holloway

Reverend Dr John Ernest Holloway

John Ernest Holloway (1881-1945) was heavily influenced by his father who was a keen naturalist and amateur microscopist. Early in his theological career, 1909-11, Holloway spent time in Barnsley, Yorkshire which was where it is thought he purchased a large microscope. On his return to New Zealand, Holloway was a Minister in Canterbury and on the West Coast of the South Island. He clocked up many miles on his motorbike in search of the ferns and mosses which formed the basis of his botanical research.

Unknown, Reverend Dr John Ernest Holloway. Unpublished, c. 1900s. Botany Department, University of Otago

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Meterosideros robusta - Northern rata; Meterosideros scandens (fulgens) - Scarlet rata; Meterosideros parkinsonii - Parkinson's rata.

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Maire tawhake - Eugenia Maire (Syzygium maire - Swamp maire)

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Meterosideros tomentosa (excelsa) - Pohutukawa.

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Kowhai Ngutu-kaka - Clianthus puniceus (Kaka beak)

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Karaka - Corynocarpus loevigata (laevigatus) - New Zealand laurel

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

The Art Album of New Zealand Flora

Leptospermum scoparium - Manuka

E. H. Featon, The Art Album of New Zealand Flora. Wellington: Printed and published at the Office of Messrs Bock and Cousins, 1889. Special Collections QK463 F892