Manual of the New Zealand Flora.
6. Lepidium, Linn
6. Lepidium, Linn.
Erect or spreading, glabrous or pubescent, annual or perennial herbs, sometimes almost shrubby. Leaves entire or divided. Flowers small, white, ebracteate. Sepals short, equal at the base. Petals short, equal, sometimes wanting. Stamens often reduced to 4 or 2. Pods variable, oblong, ovate, obcordate, or orbicular, much page 38compressed laterally, notched at the summit or entire, winged or not; septum narrow, membranous. Seeds one in each cell, suspended from the top of the septum; cotyledons incumbent.
A large genus of nearly 100 species, found in most temperate or warm climates. The New Zealand species are highly variable, and several are very difficult of discrimination. All are endemic.
A. Leaves undivided; serrate, crenate, or quite entire; never pinnate or pinnatifid.
Stout, erect or diffuse, 12–24 in. high. Leaves sharply serrate. Pods entire, not winged 1. L. oleraceum. Slender, flexuous, suberect, 12–18 in. Leaves spathulate, serrate above. Pods winged and notched above 2. L. Banksii. Slender, decumbent, 9–12 in. Leaves long-petioled, crenate. Pods ovate, winged and notched above 3. L. obtusatum. Stems prostrate, filiform, 2–5 in. Leaves linear-spathulate, ⅓–1 in., entire. Pods ovate-orbicular, notched 4. L. Kirkii. B.
Lower leaves pinnate or pinnatifid.
* Flowers hermaphrodite.
Procumbent, glabrous. Leaves pinnatifid, segments toothed at the tips. Racemes short, lateral. Pods ovate 5. L. flexicaule. Procumbent or suberect, hairy. Leaves pinnate, segments finely serrate on the upper edge. Racemes long, terminal. Pods minute, orbicular 6. L. tenuicaule.
** Flowers diæcious.
Almost glabrous. Erect, leafy, 6–12 in. high, paniculately branched above. Pods ovate 7. L. Kawarau. Hoary and scabrid. Erect, strict, 2–5 in. high. Leaves almost all radical, coriaceous. Racemes short, dense. Pods ovate 8. L. Matau. Hairy. Suberect, 2–5 in. high. Root very long and stout. Leaves all radical. Racemes lax, open. Pods ovate-rhomboid. 9. L. sisymbrioides.
|1.||L. oleraceum, Forst. Prodr. n. 248. — Stout or slender, erect or diffuse, perfectly glabrous, 10–24 in. high. Stem branched, leafy above, often naked and woody below, scarred. Leaves 1–4 in. long, obovate-or oblong-spathulate to narrow-spathulate, narrowed into a short flat petiole, sharply serrate or incised; upper smaller and narrower, more entire, toothed at the tip only. Flowers numerous, in terminal simple or branched racemes, in large specimens often corymbosely arranged at the ends of the branches-Stamens 4. Pods ovate or ovate-oblong, subacute, wingless, entire' at the tip, ⅙ in. long; pedicels slender, spreading.—Forst. Pl Esc. 30; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 628; Raoul, Choix de Plantes, 47; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 15; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 14; Kirk, Students' Fl. 34.
Var. frondosum, Kirk, l.c.—Stout, fleshy, much branched. Leaves large, 2–5 in., broadly oblong or cuneate-oblong, serrate.
Var. acutidentatum, Kirk, l.c.—Branches slender, leafy. Leaves 1–2 in., oblong-or linear-spathulate, acutely toothed towards the tip.page 39
North Island: Var. frondosum: Banks and Solander; Three Kings Island, Little Barrier Island, Cuvier Island, T. F. C. Var. acutidentatum: Shaded and rocky places near the sea; once plentiful, but now fast becoming scarce. South Island: Queen Charlotte Sound, Banks and Solander! Nelson Harbour, Kirk! Banks Peninsula, Armstrong; Oamaru, Port Chalmers, Catlin's River, Petrie! Stewart Island: Kirk. Auckland Islands: Bolton, Kirk! Chatham Islands: H. H. Travers, Cox! Nau. November–March.
Best known as "Cook's scurvy-grass." The entire plant has a heavy disagreeable smell and hot biting taste. It was originally discovered by Banks and Solander during Cook's first voyage, and at that time must have been abundant, for Dr. Solander speaks of it as "copiose in littoribus marinis," and Cook states that boat-loads of it were collected and used as an antiscorbutic by his crew. It is now quite extinct in several of the localities he visited, and is fast becoming rare in others. Its disappearance is due to cattle and sheep, which greedily ear it down in any locality they can reach. The figure in the unpublished Banksian plates represents var. frondosum; but the specimens in the set of Banks and Solander's plants presented to the colony by the Trustees of the British Museum all belong to var. acutidentatum.
|2.||L. Banksii, T. Kirk, Students' Fl. 35.—Perfectly glabrous. Stems slender, flexuous, branched, suberect, 12–18 in. long. Leaves 1–2 in., distant, oblong-or linear-spathulate, sharply serrate or toothed above, below gradually narrowed into a short petiole or almost sessile. Racemes terminal. Flowers small. Stamens 4. Pods ovate, cordate at the base, slightly winged, broadly notched above; style equal to or slightly exceeding the notch.—L. oleraceurn, A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 310, t. 35 (non Forst.).
South Island: Queen Charlotte Sound and Astrolabe Harbour, A. Richard; Pelorus Sound, J. Rutland! Kenepuru, J. Macmahon.
Mr. Kirk appears to have founded this species on A. Richard's plate, quoted above, and on a single specimen collected by Mr. Rutland in Pelorus Sound. Judging from this scanty material, there appears to be little to separate it from L. oleraceum var. acutidentatum, except the slightly winged pod notched at the summit. But some of Mr. Petrie's Otago specimens of L. oleraceum show a minute notch, as also do those collected by Mr. Cox on the 'Chatham Islands. I much fear that the species is of doubtful validity.
|3.||L. olbtusatum, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxiv. (1892) 423.—Stems leafy, branched, prostrate or suberect, 6–12 in. long. Lower leaves on broad flat petioles, sometimes 2 in. long; blade 1–2 in., oblong or oblong-spathulate, gradually narrowed into the petiole, obtuse, coarsely crenate or serrate. Cauline leaves sessile or nearly so, obovate or oblong-spathulate. Racemes numerous, terminating small leafy branches. Flowers small, white. Stamens 4. Fruiting pedicels slender, ⅕ in. long. Pods broadly ovate, slightly winged above, with a broad shallow notch; style short, stout, about equalling the notch.—Kirk. Students' Fl. 35.
North Island: Auckland—Sea-cliffs to the north of the Manukau Harbour, rare, T. F. C. Wellington—Maritime rocks at the entrance to Port Nicholson, Miss Kirk! October–February.page 40
This is allied to L. oleraceum, but can be readily distinguished by the slender often prostrate habit, the long petioles of the radical leaves, their crenate margins, and by the notched pods. My specimens from the north of the-Manukau Harbour are suberect; Mr. Kirk's are mostly prostrate.
|4.||L. Kirkii, Petrie in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxii. (1890) 439.— Small, prostrate, glabrous or nearly so. Stems many from the top of a short stout rootstock, prostrate, branched, flexuous, almost filiform, 2–4 in. long. Radical leaves entire, narrow-linear or linear-spathulate, ⅓–1 in. long, sheathing at the base, obtuse at the tip; cauline similar but smaller. Racemes short, elongating in fruit. Flowers minute. Sepals ovate, concave. Petals narrow, slightly shorter than the sepals. Stamens 4. Pods on slender pedicels about their own length, ovate-orbicular, minutely notched at the tip; style short, exceeding the notch.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 37.
South Island: Otago—Saline situations in the Maniototo Plains, Petrie! December–January.
An exceedingly well marked little plant, not closely allied to any other.
|5.||L. flexicaule, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xiv. (1882) 380.— Perfectly glabrous, smooth and fleshy. Stems numerous, branched, flexuous, procumbent; branches ascending at the tips. Lower leaves 2–3 in. long, petiolate, linear-oblong, pinnatifid; lobes 2–6 pairs, entire or toothed at the tips. Cauline leaves smaller, sessile or shortly petiolate, linear-spathulate or cuneate, coarsely toothed towards the apex. Racemes 1–2 in. long, lateral or terminal, leaf-opposed. Flowers small. Petals linear, obtuse. Stamens 2. Fruiting pedicels rather longer than the pod. Pod broadly ovate, slightly winged above, notched at the apex; style not exceeding the notch.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 35. L. incisurn, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 15; Randb. N.Z. Fl. 14 (not of Roth).
North Island: Auckland—Mercury Bay, Banks and Solander! shores of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, kirk! T. F. C.; Rangitoto Island,. T. F. C. South Island: Near Westport, W. Townson! November–January.
This appears to be an exceedingly local plant, and is fast becoming extinct in the few habitats at present known. It is well characterized by the procumbent habit, lateral racemes, and diandrous flowers.
|6.||L. tenuicaule, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xiv. (1882) 381.—More or less clothed with minute soft whitish hairs, rarely glabrous. Stems numerous, slender, branched, procumbent or suberect, 6–12 in. long. Radical leaves numerous, thin, 1–4 in. long, linear-oblong, pinnate or pinnatifid; leaflets sometimes stalked, finely and sharply serrate or laciniate on the upper edge; teeth irregular, sometimes piliferous; petiole sheathing at the base. Cauline leaves usually few, sometimes absent, oblong-spathulate to linear, sessile or shortly petiolate, entire or serrate. Flowers very numerous, minute, in long and slender terminal racemes. Petals wanting. Stamens 4. Pod very small, orbicular, shorter than the page 41slender pedicel, winged above, minutely notched; style scarcely longer than the notch.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 37. L. australe, Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xiv. (1882) 381.
South Island: Otago — Usually near the sea; Oamaru, Hampden, Awa-moko, Weston, Orepuki, Petrie! Stewart Island: Dog Island; Ruapuke, Kirk! November–January.
A distinct but highly variable species, easily recognised by the minute orbicular pods. Mr. Kirk's L. australe is a state with the stems more erect than usual, and with more numerous cauline leaves.
|7.||L. Kawarau, Petrie in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xvii. (1885) 270.— Diæcious, erect or diffuse, glabrous or slightly hairy, 6–12 in. high or more. Stems leafy, much branched above. Radical leaves numerous, 3–5 in. long, linear-oblong, pinnatifid or pinnate with a broad rachis; leaflets rather distant, linear, entire or with 1–3 linear lobes on the upper edge, rarely on the lower as well; petioles sheathing at the base. Cauline leaves many, lower like the radical but sessile, gradually passing into the uppermost, which are narrow-linear, entire. Racemes very numerous at the ends of the branches, forming a much-branched panicle. Flowers small. Petals apparently wanting in both sexes. Stamens 4–6. Fruiting pedicels spreading or ascending, rather longer than the pods. Pods ovate or ovate-oblong, notched at the apex; style slightly exceeding the notch.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 36.
Var. dubium, Kirk, l.c. — Taller, much more hairy, almost scabrid; branches few, long, lax. Cauline leaves shorter and broader, pinnatifid. Petals present in the male flowers.
South Island: Otago—Kawarau River, Cromwell, Petrie! Var. dubium: Near Duntroon, Petrie! November–December.
Allied to L. Matau, with which it entirely agrees in the flowers and pods. It differs in the greater size, branched leafy habit and almost glabrous leaves, which are much larger and have long and narrow toothed pinnse. The var. dubium has a distinct appearance, but barely seems entitled to specific rank.
|8.||L. Matau, Petrie in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xix. (1887) 323.— Diæcious, erect, hoary with short scabrid hairs, 2–5 in. high. Root stout, woody. Stems one or several from the root, stout, somewhat strict, branched above. Radical leaves numerous, coriaceous, scabrid, 1–2 in. long, linear or linear-oblong, deeply pinnatifid or almost pinnate; segments rounded or oblong, rarely linear, entire or lobed on the upper edge. Cauline leaves oblong or ovate, sessile, usually entire. Flowers small, in short and dense racemes at the ends of the branches. Petals wanting in both sexes. Stamens 4. Fruiting pedicels patent or slightly decurved, rather longer than the pods. Pods ovate, not winged, shortly notched above; style short, slightly exceeding the notch.—Kirk, Students Fl. 36.
South Island: Otago—Alexandra South, Gimmerburn, Petrie! November–December.
Best recognised by the strict habit, scabrid and coriaceous leaves, short dense racemes, and apetalous dicecious flowers.
|9.||L. sisymbrioides, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 14.—Diæcious, pubescent or almost glabrous, suberect, 2–5 in. high. Root stout and woody, often as thick as the finger, very long and tapering, much divided at the top. Leaves nearly all radical, numerous, crowded, spreading, 1–2 in. long, linear or linear-oblong in outline, deeply pinnatifid; segments many, small, short, entire or lobulate on the upper edge; petioles flat, often dilated at the base. Flowering - stems numerous, slender, branched, spreading or suberect, usually with a few small entire cauline leaves below, sometimes naked. Flowers small, in terminal racemes; males with 4 narrow petals or apetalous; females always apetalous. Stamens 4. Pods, about half as long as the slender spreading pedicels, ovate-rhomboid, acute at both ends, slightly winged above, minutely notched; style exceeding the notch.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 37. L. Solandri, Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xiv. (1882) 380.
South Island: Canterbury—Broken River district, Haast, Enys! Kirk!' T. F. C.; Mackenzie Plains, J. F. Armstrong; Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, T. F. C.; Lake Ohau, Haast. Otago - Waitaki Valley, Lake Wanaka, Buchanan! Kurow, Petrie! Altitudinal range 800–3000 ft. December–January.
A distinct species, at once separated from the two preceding by the more depressed habit, lax racemes, and ovate-rhomboid pods. The stout cylindrical root often descends for distances altogether out of proportion to the short stems. Mr. Enys on one occasion showed me specimens nearly 4 ft. in length.