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Pimelea virgata (The Twiggy Pimelea).

A small erect shrub, 1ft. -2 ft. in height. Leaves spreading Jin.- 1 in. long,
narrow, oblong, silky or shining. Floral leaves similar. Flowers in a small
head, 8-10 together, Jin. long, silky; lobes broad. Nut dry or pulpy. Both
islands : common.

The genus Pimelea is exclusively Australasian. It consists
of a number of Yeronica-like shrubs. The species are very
variable, and pass into each other. P. arenaria is a halophyte
(v. p. 42) of the sand-dunes, which has a clothing of wool and
sunk stomata, for the purpose of hindering transpiration. The
cell-structure is similar on both sides of the leaf, which hangs
down more or leas, vertically. A similar arrangement of leaf-
cells is found in other plants of the sand-hills. In such
situations they are exposed to much wind, fierce and long-
continued sunshine, and extremes of drought. Special
adaptations are clearly required in order to enable a plant to
exist under such conditions. P. arenaria, like most of the
sand-dune plants, has long roots. Other species are found in
the heaths, and some reach sub-alpine elevations.



Distribution. A large family of about 2000 species, chiefly tropical.
Many of them abound in aromatic oils, while others furnish gums.

The flowers of this family are very similar to those of the Rosaceae, the
main distinction between them being that the carpels are more or less free,
particularly in the stigmatic region, in the Rosaceae ; whilst in Myrtaceae, the
carpels are completely united, the union extending to the stigmas. Many of the



Fig. 84. Pimelea virgata (3 nat. size).


myrtles, also, have glands in all their parts, which secrete ethereal oils that give
the plants an aromatic odour. This is, perhaps, the most striking character of
the family. The corolla is usually white, and the filaments, which are often a
bright red, serve as the chief organs of attraction for insects. Cloves are the
flower buds of a species of Eugenia. Another species of the same genus
furnishes the fruit from which allspice is obtained. The guava is the fruit of
Psidium guava. The only European species is the well-known Myrtle.

The oil of eucalyptus, obtained from E. globulus, is antiseptic in its action.
This tree is often planted, on account of its rapid growth, for the purpose of
drying up swamps, and thus keeping off malarial fevers.

Key to the Genera.

1. Fruit a capsule.

Fruit a berry or drupe. 3

2. Leaves alternate. Leptospermuni, p. 272.
Leaves opposite. Metrosideros, p. 278.

3. Seeds solitary. Eugenia, p. 288.
Seeds 2 or more. Myrtus, p. 288.

Genus Leptospermum.

Shrubs or trees, with alternate, entire leaves. Flowers regular, white or
pink. Calyx 5-lobed, petals 5 ; stamens numerous. Capsule woody. About 28
species, of which 3 belong to New Zealand, and 20 to Australia.

Leptospermum scopanum (The Manuka).

A shrub or tree, sometimes 30 ft. in height. Leaves leathery, hard, with
harp points. Flowers scentless, on very short stalks, white or rosy, J in.-f in.
-across. Capsule bursting by 4 or 5 valves, very woody. Maori names Manuka,
Kahikatoa. Colonists' name, Tea-Tree. Both islands. Fl. Nov. -April.

This is the most abundant of New Zealand shrubs. It is
the colonial counterpart of the English broom and gorse, and
is as beautiful as either of these One of the loveliest sights
of the land is a great valley at Christmas-time, clad with
Leptospermum in full flower. From the distance of a mile or
two, the country seems to be spread with a sheet of snow, so
profusely does the plant flower. A variety is known which
lias the petals splashed with deep crimson. It is often
cultivated in gardens, and vies in beauty with many more
pretentious blooms.

To the Maoris the tree was known as the manuka. By the
settlers it is generally called tea- tree. It has acquired this
name because early voyagers and colonists sometimes used its



Fig. 85. Leptospermum scoparium.



pungent leaves in place of tea. Indeed, the whole plant,
including leaves, flowers, fruit, and young shoots, is highly
aromatic, and the oil which it contains, will perhaps, in future,
be put to some useful purpose.

The flowers are generally hermaphrodite, but are sometimes
imperfect or unisexual. A branch may occasionally be found
bearing flowers which are staminate only, while on the lower
portion of the same branch last year's seed capsules are borne.
The capsule is hard and woody, of a reddish-brown colour.
Very small specimens occasionally bear flowers. A plant
was once observed, not more than half-an-inch in height,
which bore a flower and duly developed seed. The flower
appeared to be actually lying upon the ground.

The wood of this tree is largely used for fences and
firewood. The Maoris made use of it for their paddles and
spears, and a bunch of the twigs makes an excellent broom.

Leptospermum ericoides (The Heath-like Manuka).

A larger tree than the preceding. Leaves narrow, acute, glabrous or silky,
fascicled. Flowers J hi. across, white, very fragrant. Maori name Manuka-
rauriki. Both islands. Fl. Nov. -Jan.

This is nearly, but not quite as common a plant, as the
previous one. Like the former species, at high levels, in
wind-swept localities, it becomes prostrate, and is reduced to a
few inches in height. In suitable positions, however, it grows
to be a larger tree than L. scoparium, sometimes attaining a
height of sixty feet, and a diameter of one to three feet. Its
timber is hard and durable, and is used for jetty piles, spokes
of wheels, fence-rails, and other purposes. It is also much
sought after for firewood, and this has led to the cutting out
of all the larger trees over wide areas, so that in many places
it is now impossible to procure it. To many old settlers,
however, the odour of burning manuka logs brings memories
of the pleasant winter evenings of times long past.



Fig. 86. Leptoepermttm scoparium (life size).


Older trees of both species have their trunks covered with a
light brown bark, that readily strips off, and is frequently
used for fire-kindling. For the camper-out, Leptospermum
provides fragrant bedding, easily collected, and not readily
surpassed for comfort.

There is little undergrowth in the manuka copse, and the
ground below it becomes carpeted with dead leaves, almost as
in a pine forest. There are, perhaps, several reasons for this
lack of undergrowth. The plant often grows on poor ground ;
the resinous leaves may, like the pine needles, make bad
mould ; and the shrub itself probably exhausts the soil. Yet
sometimes certain orchids are found below it, which are rare
elsewhere, and various other plants seem to prefer the manuka
grove as a habitat.

Mr, G. M. Thomson has discussed the probable origin
of the New Zealand species. L. scoparium, with sharp
leaf tips, is found abundantly in south-eastern Australia ;
but L. ericoides, with less pungent points to its leaves, is
endemic. Mr. G. M. Thomson states that the rigid,
sharp-pointed leaves of the former indicate that the species
originated in a land, where there were herbivorous mammalia,
for he considers that " such sharp-pointed leaves are
probably so developed in order that they may be as
obnoxious as possible to grazing animals."" As the genus
has come to us from a northern land, where possibly
marsupials and other grass-eating animals were abundant,
this explanation seems feasible. It also appears to receive
confirmation from the fact that the endemic species has
less prickly leaf-tips than the one with wider distribution.
However, there is another, and, perhaps, simpler interpre-
tation of such sharp-pointed leaves. They may be due
merely to leaf-reduction, produced as a means of protection
against excessive transpiration (v. Aciphylla, Veronica,
Discaria). Indeed, that the modification, in the case of

*New Zealand Journal of Science, Vol. II., p. 371.



Fig. 87. Leptoapermiim ericoides (life size).



Leptospermum scoparium, is climatic rather than defensive,
is shown by the fact, that, in certain mountain localities,
the leaves become less rigid, more rounded, and less acute.
(See, however, under Entelea for a further discussion of the

Fig. 88. Metrosideros robusta, showing encircling roots.

Genus Metrosideros.

Shrubs or trees, often climbing. Leaves opposite, leathery. Flowers in
terminal cymes, umbels, or racemes, white, pink, or scarlet, often very showy.
Calyx 5-lobed ; petals 5, small. Stamens numerous, very long, white or scarlet.
(Name from the Greek, meaning iron-hearted, in allusion to the iron-like
hardness of the timber). Plants of the genus are usually known to the colonists
by the Maori name Eata. 11 sp.



Fig. 89. Metrosideros hypericifolia ( nat. size).


Metrosideros florida (The Flowery Bata).

A shrub, or lofty climber. Leaves l in. -3 in. long, oblong, obtuse, entire,
shining. Flowers in large terminal cymes. Petals yellowish, or pale pink,
inconspicuous. Stamens 1 in.-l^ in. long ; filaments orange-red to crimson,
anthers golden. Fruit a woody capsule, half the length of the calyx-tube. Both
islands : common on forest trees. Fl. Nov. -April. Maori names : Aka,
Akatawhiwhi, Pua-tawhiwhi. English name Rata-vine.

The rata-vine is one of the most remarkable climbers of the
New Zealand forest. The stem is sometimes six inches in
diameter, and climbs to the tops of the highest trees. It is
often confused with Metrosideros robusta, but it is the latter,
not the former, which strangles its support.

Bushmen quench their thirst with the juice of the rata-vine.
A slit is cut in the wood, and the bark left hanging, when a
clear juice drops freely from the cut. A piece of rat a- wood
four feet in length, and three inches in diameter, was kept in
a workshop for three weeks, until apparently quite dry. Then
a cut was made lengthwise in it, and it yielded a gallon
and a half of liquid. This juice was of a clear, bright, pinkish
hue, and tasted somewhat like dry cider. The inner rata-bark
is used to heal sores, and to stop bleeding. It is sometimes
boiled with the bark of the rimu and the kauri, to make a
lotion for the sore backs of horses. According to the Maori
tradition, the bark of this, as of other trees, when required for
healing purposes, should be cut from the side upon which the
sun rises.

Metrosidenos hypericifolia (The Hypericum-leaved Bata).

A straggling climber. Bark ragged ; branches 4-angled. Leaves sessile,
J in.-f in. long, oblong, shining, rather membranous. Flowers small, in lateral
cymes or racemes. Petals white or pink, in.- in. long. Capsule J in. long.
Damp bush, in both islands. Fl. Nov. -Jan.

Metros! deros lucid a (The Shining Bata).

A shrub or tree, 40-60 ft. high. Leaves 1 in. -3^ in. long, silky when young,
shining when mature, pointed at both ends. Flowers in short terminal cymes.
Petals small, scarlet. Stamens nearly an inch long, scarlet. Both islands ;
Lord Auckland's group. Fl. Dec. -Jan. A variety with yellow flowers has been
found on Arthur's Pass.


Metrosideros lucida, the rata of the South Island, is known
as the iron- wood in Otago. It grows in masses on the slopes
of the Southern Alps, and in a good rata year, adds much to-
the beauty of the scenery New Zealanders speak of the
Otira Gorge at such a time as one of the sights of the world,
but their patriotism has perhaps led them to overpraise it a-
little. Yet, when in January, the flanks of a great mountain
range are ablaze with

" Flowers, that with one scarlet gleam
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem
To set the hills on fire ! "

the sight is one which many would travel far to see. In
Canterbury, on the eastern slopes of the Alps, this rata is rare.
It apparently cannot stand a dry climate. It is much more
common on the east coast of Otago, south of Dunedin, where
it frequently overhangs the sea-cliffs, though it does not root in
the same fantastic manner as the pohutukawa.

In the Auckland Islands, it is the chief component of a
forest, as fantastic as any that was ever goblin haunted.
It reminds one of the sunless forest of Undine, or of the still
more terrible forest of the Seventh Circle of the Inferno :

" Where no track

Of steps had worn a way, not verdant there
The foliage, but of dusky hue, not light
The houghs and tapering, but with *knares deformed,
And matted thick : fruits there were none, but thorns
Instead, with venom filled."

The rata, as its common name, ironwood, suggests, produces
an extremely hard timber, with qualities similar to those of
other members of the genus.

Metrosideros albiflora (The White- flowered Rata).

A climbing shrub. Leaves shining, 1 in. -3 in. long, narrowed at both ends.
Mowers in terminal cymes. Petals small, white. Stamens very slender.
Capsule i in. long. North Island : in forests. Fl. Dec.-Jan.

'Knares, gnarled branches.


The long twining stems of the rata vines were used by the
Maoris for various purposes ; and references to them appear in
several legends. Metrosideros albiflora (the Akatea) gives rise
to the Maori equivalent of Nil desperandum. Thus an ancient
proverb runs :

" Rangitihi upoko i takaia ki te akatea."
Rangitihi's head was bound up with the akatea.

Rangitihi was a hero of old who had his head split by his
enemy's club. With splendid courage he bound the broken
skull round with akatea, and, encouraging his fleeing men, led
them on again. This time it was to victory.

Metrosideros robusta (The North Island Rata).

A tree, 50 ft. -100 ft. in height. Trunk sometimes 10 ft. in diameter.
Leaves lin.-ljin. long, oblong, obtuse, leathery, shining. Flowers in large
terminal cymes. Petals small, scarlet. Stamens 1 in. long, scarlet. Capsule
J in.-J in. long. North Island and northern extremity of South Island.
Fl. Dec. -Jan. Maori name Rata.

This is the North Island rata. It is often described as
twining round some forest tree, ensheathing it, and finally
killing it by a close embrace; this account, however, misrepre-
sents, if it does not traduce, M. robusta. It does not begin
life as a climber, though there are species which do so, e.g.,
Metrosideros florida ; but it very often germinates as an
epiphyte high up in the forks of a tree. The seeds are
minute, and readily blown about by the wind, so that they
may thus be driven to a considerable elevation. As the
young plant develops, it sends down roots towards the ground.
These roots inosculate, and slowly enclose the stem of the
supporting tree, which at last is crushed by the grip of the
rata (v. Fig. 88). This, at least, is the generally accepted
explanation. It must, however, be confessed that the details
of the process have hitherto escaped observation. Apparently
the only tree which can resist this iron hug is the puriri the
strongest and toughest of all New Zealand trees. It may
sometimes be seen bursting the encircling roots of the



Fig. 90. Metrosideros robusta Buds and flowers (f nat. size).


The crimson stamens of the rata give to it, as to ether
species of the genus, a most attractive appearance when in
flower. Though not so gorgeous as the pohutukawa, it is,
perhaps, brighter in colour than the more southern M. lucida.

The Maoris have a proverb about the flower, which is a
curious commentary upon their ideas of truthfulness.

Keiwhawhati noa mai te ran o te rata !
Don't pluck and fling about to no purpose the blossoms of the rata I

According to Colenso, this means :

Don't become ashamed when your lying is detected.

The timber of the rata is hard and durable, but scarcely so
valuable as that of the pohutukawa. Like other species of the
genus, it makes excellent firewood ; and a green rata tree once
kindled in the bush will sometimes smoulder for months.

Metrosideros tomentosa (The Downy Rata).

A handsome tree, sometimes 70 ft. in height, with spreading branches.
Branchlets and under surfaces of leaves covered with short, dense white hairs.
Leaves 1 in. -3 in. long, variable in shape, with recurved margins. Flowers in
large terminal cymes, brilliant scarlet. Buds snow-white, woolly, petals small,
scarlet, stamens lin.-ljin. long, scarlet. Capsule woody, 3-lobed and 3-valved.
North Island : cliffs on the sea-coast. Fl. Dec. -Jan. Maori name

M. tomentosa rarely grows far from the sea or an inland
lake. It finds a foothold in all sorts of impossible looking
places. Often it clings to the side of a cliff, and puts forth
long twisted roots that attach it to the rocky wall. Specimens
may frequently be found hanging from the top of a bank,
with the roots above, and the branches almost dipping into
the sea below. Oysters may sometimes be gathered from
these pendent branches. When growing on level ground,
great bunches of red, fibrous rootlets may occasionally be seen
hanging from the boughs. These do not reach the ground,
and their function is unknown.



Fig. 91. Metrosideros tomentosa (% nat. size).


The usual habitat of the pohutukawa is well described in
the following lines :

' ' The stony faces of the cliffs thus rent
Showed twisted strata, strangely earthquake bent,
Running on each side circularly up
A great grey hollow like a broken cup !
From crest and crevice, tortuously flung
Those monstrous iron-hearted myrtles hung
Stiff snaky writhing trunks, and roots that clave
And crawled to any hold the ramparts gave."

" Ranolf and Amohia," p. 474.

Thus Domett, with his affluence of epithet, describes the
tree as it clings to its rocky stronghold. Surely it was some
vague perception of its fantastic shape and ocean-loving
nature, that led the Maoris to think that a bough of
pohutukawa was the last earthly hand-hold of the spirit when
it leapt off from the world above into Keinga (the under-
world). For it was believed by them in olden times, that the
ghosts of the dead travelled northward along the mountain
ranges, until they came to the ridge of " wild rocks " running
out to sea in the extreme north, known as Cape Keinga.
Passing along this to the very extremity of the land, they
came at last to the giant pohutukawa, with a great limb
overhanging the rocks of ocean. To this branch the spirits
hung for some time, reluctant to leave the upper world. At
length, through a sea-weed fringed cavern, they plunged into
the gloomy realms of Po. But time changes all things. So
many were killed in the wars of Hongi, that the great branch
became bent downwards by the number of spirits who
thronged it. When Mr. Cheeseman visited the Reinga in
1895, the famous " Spray-sprinkled " * tree was still to be
seen. It however bore marks of extreme old age, and the
projecting branch had long before been broken off. Only its
whitened stump remained. And little wonder, for though the
wars of Hongi killed their thousands, European customs and
European civilization have killed their tens of thousands.

*Pobutukawa is said to mean spray-sprinkled. The name thereforeristeingularly-apt.



Fig. 92. Metrosideros scandens (life size).


By the settlers, the tree is often known as the Christmas
Tree, because it flowers about the end of the year. Kirk
considers it to be " perhaps the most magnificent plant in the
New Zealand Flora." The timber of the pohutukawa is
extremely hard and durable.

Metrosideros scandens (The Climbing Bata).

A climbing shrub. Leaves Jin. -Jin. long, sessile, broadly oblong, obtuse,
shining, the under-surface covered with glandular dots. Flowers in cymes,
3-fl"owered, axillary. Petals small, white. Stamens J in. long, white. Capsule
in. long. Both islands. Fl. Feb. -March. Maori name Aka.

Genus Eugenia.

Shrubs or trees. A genus very similar to Myrtus. The only New Zealand
species is endemic. Calyx 4-5-lobed ; petals 4-5, often deciduous. Stamens
numerous. Fruit a berry. 1 sp.

Eugenia Mai re (The Maire).

A tree, 20 ft. -50 ft. high. Bark white; branchlets 4-angled. Leaves
1 in. -2 in. long, oblong, lanceolate, pointed at the tip. Flowers in axillary or
terminal corymbs. Calyx 5-toothed; petals 5. Berry red. North Island and
north of South Island. Fl. June-July. Maori name, Maire Tawhaki.

Genus Myrtus.

Shrubs or trees. Leaves opposite, evergreen, dotted with glands. Flowers
axillary, solitary, or in small cymes. Calyx-lobes 4-5 ; petals 4-5 ; stamens
numerous. Fruit a berry. A chiefly tropical and sub-tropical genus. The four
New Zealand species are all endemic.

Myrtus bullata (The Embossed Myrtle).

A shrub or small tree. Leaves reddish-brown, swollen between the veins,
| in. -2 in. long. Calyx 4-lobed. Flowers Jin. -fin. across. Petals white,
berry red. Both islands : rare in the South. Fl. Dec- Jan. Maori name
Ramarama. The leaves of this plant are very beautiful, and much used by
florists in making nosegays and button-holes.

Myrtus obcordata (The Obcordate-leaved Myrtle).
Leaves ^ in. -Jin. long ; flowers jk in. -Jin. across. Calyx 4-lobed. Berry red,
black, or violet. Both islands, rather local. Fl. Dec. -Jan.

Myrtus pedunculata (The Pedunculate Myrtle).
Branchlets 4-angled. Calyx and peduncles shining. Leaves rounded at the
tip. Calyx 5-lobed. Berry small, yellow or red. Both islands. Fl. Dec. -Jan.
Maori name Rohutu.



V . h

Fig. 93. Myrtus bullata (I nat. size).





Distribution. A considerable family, chiefly inhabitants of temperate
regions. Some of the species possess slightly astringent properties, and others,
of the genera Fuchsia, Clarkia, and (Enothera, are cultivated for their flowers,

Key to the Genera.

Herbs. Fruit a capsule. Epilobium, p. 294.

Shrubs or trees. Fruit a berry. Fuchsia, p. 290.

Genus Fuchsia.

Shrubs or trees. Bark thin, papery. Leaves alternate. Flowers solitary,
axillary, trimorphic. Calyx with 4 segments ; stamens usually exserted. Fruit
a berry, black or purple. (Named after Fuchs, a German physician). 3 sp.

This well known and closely denned genus is represented in
New Zealand by three species. The flowers of the New
Zealand forms, though not without beauty of their own, have
scarcely the attractiveness of the ordinary garden varieties.
However, Fuchsia procumbens (generally known to gardeners
under the synonym Fuchsia Kirkii) is often to be found in
cultivation in our gardens and greenhouses. It lacks the
graceful, pendulous flower-stalks, which enhance so much the
beauty of the cultivated forms, but it is a very dainty little
species. The sharp contrast between the beautiful waxy
yellow of the calyx, and the intense pure blue of the pollen,
would make it noticeable anywhere. Any other colour but
yellow is rare in pollen, and such a bright hue as this has
probably some definite though unknown significance. It is of
the same colour in the two other New Zealand species. It
is also extremely viscid. This no doubt enables it to cling
readily to any insect which may enter the flower. The tui
and the korimako may sometimes also be seen with their fore-
heads smeared with it, for the flowers are cross-pollinated by
them. The viscidity is due to the development by the pollen
grains, of structureless drops of a glutinous fluid, that very
readily draws out into long fine threads. A similar secretion



Fig. 94. Fuchsia excorticata (I nat. size).


may be found in the pollen grains of the evening primrose,
Godetia, ClarMa, and some species of Epilobium.

All the New Zealand forms of the genus Fuchsia are
endemic, and the only other known species come from South
America and Mexico. Thus our Fuchsias well illustrate the
former connection existing between New Zealand and South
America (v. Introduction p . 36).

But, for botanists, the chief interest of the New Zealand
forms lies in the methods by which cross-pollination is attained
It has long been known that in flowers of certain plants,
dimorphism or trirnorphism exists, i.e., stamens and styles are
found of two, sometimes of three different lengths. It was
not, however, until Darwin had investigated the matter, that
a complete explanation of these variations of form was forth-

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