The Vegetation of New Zealand
3. The Botanical Districts
3. The Botanical Districts.
The Kermadec District.
This corresponds with the Kermadec Province. The flora and vegetation have been dealt with in Part II.
The Three Kings District.
This includes the Three Kings group of small islands1. The flora numbers 143 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Davallia Tasmani, Paratrophis Smithii (near to P. opaca), Pittosporum Fairchildii (near P. crassifolium), Alectryon grandis (a species based only on leaf-form and may be an epharmone of A. excelsum, large leaves being characteristic of the small, outlying islands), Hebe insularis (closely allied to H. diosmaefolia, and Coprosma macrocarpa (close to C. grandifolia but fruit twice as large). Both the flora and vegetation are of a coastal character. On the West King there is a remarkable low forest of tropical aspect with Meryta Sinclairii (an araliad with immense, thick, glossy, smooth, entire, shining, oblong leaves in great rosettes) dominant, together with Cordyline australis and, as the principal constituent of the undergrowth, Macropiper excelsum var. major.
The North Auckland District.
This includes all the North Auckland Peninsula lying to the north of latitude 36°. Much of the district consists of comparatively flat gumlands but there is also a good deal of hilly country rising in places to nearly 800 m. altitude. The extreme north consists of a narrow, much-dissected tableland about 300 m. high, which, at one period, was an island, but is now united to the mainland by a narrow spit about 80 km. long consisting of dune both recent and consolidated.
The climate is the warmest and least disturbed of the main islands. In summer, easterly breezes of a subtropical nature prevail. Winter is decidedly the rainy season. The mean temperature is 16.2° C., the mean of the absolute maxima of the year being 4.5° above this and the mean of the minima 4.1 ° below, showing a mean daily range during the year of only 8.6°. Frosts occur inland at times but are extremely light. Snow is altogether absent. The mean annual rainfall is about 151 cm. its distribution being as follows; spring 22.7%, summer 13.1%, autumn 29.4%, winter 34.6%. In the west, from Herekino Harbour southwards the rainfall is higher.
The flora numbers about 630 species of which the following rather large number are locally endemic (but not of necessity so for the region): — Diplazium japonicum, Todaea barbara, Microlaena Carsei, (very close to M. avenacea), Cladium complanatum, Lepidosperma filiforme, Hydatella page 381inconspicua, Xeronema Callistemon (Poor Knights only), Thelymitra intermedia, T. Matthewsii, Pterostylis Matthewsii, Chiloglottis formicifera, Cory-santhes Matthewsii, C. Carsei, Cassytha paniculata, Phrygilanthus Raoulii, Tillaea pusilla, Pittosporum pimeleoides, P. reflexum, (and a great hybrid swarm with P. pimeleoides), Ackama rosaefolia, Hibiscus diver sifolius, Halorrhagis cartilaginea (North Cape only, may be an epharmone of H. erecta), H. incana, Pseudopanax Gilliesii, (probably P. Lessonii × Nothopanax arboreum), Leucopogon parviflorus (also in Chathams), Hebe brevifolia, H. Bollonsii (Poor Knights, Hen and Chickens), H. ligustrifolia, Coprosma neglecta, Olearia albida, Celmisia Adamsii var. rugulosa, and Cassinia amoena (North Cape Peninsula only).
The most striking features of the vegetation are kauri-dicotylous forest with Beilschmiedia taraire frequently dominant; extensive areas of Leptospermum shrubland and Gleichenia bog; Avicennia salt-forest or salt-scrub; and in places Vitex lucens forest.
Farming is making considerable headway, so that in alluvial valleys there are many fine dairy farms with meadows of Paspalum dilatatum. Lotus hispidus is also used for pastures, but it spreads naturally. Certain exotic species are restricted, so far, to the district, e. g. Kyllinga brevifolia, Carex Brownii, Panicum Lindheimeri, Polygala virgata, Lantana camara, Helenium quadridentatum, Erechtites valerianaefolia and E. atkinsoniae.
The South Auckland District.
This is divided, more or less naturally, into the 3 subdistricts dealt with below. The district, as a whole, is distinguished by, (1.) the extension southwards of those species peculiar to the Northern Province which reach their southern limit in the neighbourhood of lat. 38°, or a little beyond, (2.) the coming in, especially from the south, of a number of species absent in the North Auckland district, (3.) the continuation of kauri-dicotylous forest, but with Beilschmiedia tawa and Weinmannia sylvicola dominant and not B. taraire, and (4.) the presence of a number of local endemics.
The Kaipara Subdistrict embraces that portion of the North Auckland Peninsula lying between lat. 36° and 37°, but excluding Little and Great Barrier Islands and the Coromandel Peninsula. Generally, the surface is flat but there are some isolated low hills and, in the south-west, the Waitakerei Hills which exceed a height of 400 m.
The average rainfall is 110 cm., or more in some parts, distributed over 184 days. Cumulus clouds frequently gather on summer afternoons, but generally disperse without rain. The climate is mild, frost is almost unknown. The maximum temperature rarely exceeds 26° C.; the absolute daily range is 7.4°; toe mean of the maxima is 3.6° above and the mean of the minima 3.8° below the average mean of 15.2° C. The rainfall is distributed as follows: — spring 24.1%, summer 18.7%, autumn 24.9%, and winter 32.3%.page 382
The flora numbers about 580 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Thelymitra aemula, T. caesia and Hebe obtusata. The following species, which also belong to the North Auckland district, reach their southern limit: Ranunculus Urvilleanus, Mida myrtifolia, Alseuosmia Banksii, A. linarifolia.
A large part of the district is occupied by the gumlands' communities. Originally there were considerable kauri-dicotylous forests, especially on the Waitakerei Hills. Farming is similar to that described for the preceding district.
The Thames Subdistrict includes the area between the River Thames and the east coast, together with the Coromandel Peninsula, the two Barrier Islands and the small islands lying off the coast. On the south, it is bounded by the line shown on the map, which commences a little to the South of Tauranga and obviously is a quite arbitrary boundary. The landsurface is much broken and mountainous, some of peaks rising to 900 m. and more. There is a considerable coast-line much of which is rocky.
The mountainous character of the district leads to various local climatic differences. In summer, the temperature frequently exceeds 27° C. and in winter — 4° C. is not uncommon. The mean annual rainfall is 165 cm. which is distributed as follows: — spring 24.2%, summer 18.2%, autumn 26.8% and winter 30.7%.
The subdistrict is distinguished by, (1.) the presence originally of extensive kauri-tawa forests, (2.) the commencement of the real high-mountain flora, (3.) the first appearance in the northern province of true Nothofagus forests — not merely isolated trees or small groups, (4.) the possession of a distinct locally-endemic element, and (5.) the large number of southern species which extend no further north, a matter, in part, depending upon the fairly high continuous mountain range.
The flora numbers about 652 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Elytranthe Adamsii, Pittosporum virgatum var. Matthewsii, P. Huttonianum, Pomaderris rugosa, Hebe pubescens, Veronica irrigans, Olearia Allomii (Great Barrier Island only), and Senecio myrianthos. The following are specially important members of the group of species having its northern limit in the subdistrict: — Hymenophyllum pulcherrimum, H, peltatum, Blechnum penna marina, Polystichum vestitum, Lycopodium fastigatium, L. varium, Libocedrus Bidwillii (and with it Hymenophyllum Malingii), Dacrydium Bidwillii, Podocarpus nivalis, Phyllocladus alpinus, Carpha alpina, Oreobolus pectinatus, Vncinia ferruginea, Cordyline indivisa, Arthropodium candidum, Enargea parviflora, Nothofagus Menziesii, N. fusca (the species further north is N, truncata), Metrosideros Parkinsonii (at a high elevation on Great Barrier Island, 697 km. distant from its nearest station in the south!), Nothopanax Sinclairii, N. simplex, N. Colensoi, Gaultheria rupestris, Penta-chondra pumila, Cyathodes empetrifolia, Dracophyllum strictum, Pimelea page 383Gnidia, Ourisia macrophylla, Coprosma Unariifolia, C. foetidissima, C. Colensoi, Olearia virgata, Celmisia incana and Raoulia tenuicaulis.
The Waikato subdistrict extends from lat. 37° on the north to the southern boundary of the Northern Province and eastwards to the River Thames. Much of the district is quite flat and situated but little above sea-level. To the north, west, and south there are low hills, while out of the low country rise the extinct volcanic cones Mount Pirongia (860 m.) and, near the west coast, the rather lower Mount Karioi.
The range of temperature, especially in summer, is greater than in the Kaipara subdistrict, January having a mean maximum of 24.1° and a mean minimum of 11.4°. The mean-annual temperature is 14.2°, the mean maximum 19.7°, the mean minimum 8.7° and the mean daily range 11°. The winds are possibly more steady and less variable in direction than in the surrounding districts. Dews are heavy but frosts are not often experienced until at the junction with the Volcanic Plateau. The average annual rainfall is 140 em. distributed as follows: — spring 26.8%, summer 17.1%, autumn 25.2%, winter 30.9%.
The main feature of the vegetation was originally the far-spreading swamps grading, in places, into sphagnum bog, an important feature of such swamp the abundance of Sporodanthus Traversii (also characteristic of the Chathams). Kauri-dicotylous forest occupied only a small area but the hills were forest-clad with an association containing the usual northern species. On Mount Pirongia, however, in its uppermost belt the following southern species appear: — the trunkless var. of Dicksonia lanata, Poly-podium novae-zelandiae (central North Island, not southern), Cordyline indivisa, Enargea parviflora, Weinmannia racemosa, Nothopanax Sinclairii, N. Colensoi, Coprosma tenuifolia (another central species), C. foetidissima and C. Colensoi. The flora numbers about 600 species. There are apparently no local endemics. Asplenium Trichomanes and Discaria taumatou reach their northern limit in the subdistrict.
Dairy farming is easily the leading branch of agriculture. Some of the highest butter-fat producing farms are in this subdistrict in which is represented the highest grade of grass-farming of the region. Also, the area of supplementary crops grown annually is becoming less and less through the application on all grassland of phosphate top-dressing which reaches as high as 52.6 quintals per year for each cow pastured.
The Volcanic Plateau District.
This district occupies the central portion of North Island. Its boundaries as shown on the map are still provisional. Much of the area is at an altitude of more than 600 m., and consists partly of a tableland and partly of high mountains (the central volcanoes with Ruapehu ice-clad near the summit and the Kaimanawa Mountains). In certain localities, (White Island to Mount Tongariro) many hot springs and fumaroles occur. There is a short strip of sea-coast extending page 384from the mouth of the R. Rangitaiki nearly to Tauranga, and White Island is included. The soil consists of pumice and other kinds of volcanic ash.
The climate of the district is far from uniform extending, as it does, from the coast to the summits of the central volcanoes. Taking Rotorua (altitude 282 m.), as typical of a good deal of the eastern part of the district, the temperature in summer frequently exceeds 26° C. and, in winter, — 6° C. is frequently registered, while in the subalpine and alpine belts frost occurs at all seasons. At from 900 to 1200 m. altitude snow lies in winter, on an average, for a few days only, but near the glaciers of Ruapehu there are perpetual snow-fields. The mean annual rainfall, combining the stations at Rotorua and Taupo, is 137 cm. distributed as follows: — spring 24.9%, summer 22%, autumn 25% and winter 28.1 %. To the west and south of the volcanoes, the climate is far wetter; in fact, it is a rain-forest climate as compared with the tussock-grassland climate of the eastern highlands.
The flora consists of about 726 species, the following of which are locally endemic:—Nephrolepis cordifolia (also Kermadecs, a "hot-water" fern), Gleichenia linearis (another "hot-water" fern), Scirpus crassiusculus, Bagnisia Hillii, Pittosporum Turneri (very close to P. patulum but with a different juvenile form), Utricularia Mairii (originally on L. Rotomahana and not seen elsewhere, but the lake was destroyed by the Tarawera volcanic outburst in 1886), Logania depressa, Veronica Hookeriana and V. spathulata (the last two extend somewhat beyond the eastern boundary). Though not absolutely confined to the district, the following are characteristic: — Polypodium novae-zelandiae, Dracophyllum subulatum, Gaultheria oppositifolia, Hebe laevis, H. tetragona, Ourisia Colensoi, Coprosma tenuifolia (but of fairly wide range) and Raoulia australis var. albosericea.
Much of the area below 600 m. altitude is occupied by Leptospermum shrubland. There are also fine forests, those of the lower montane belt containing much Podocarpus totara but at lower levels Beilschmiedia tawa dominates and Dacrydium cupressinum attains a great size. In the subalpine belt the forests consist of Nothofagus, all the species being present in some part or other. Where the climate is drier, or for edaphic reasons, there is tussock-grassland — tall and low. Above the forest-line, or lower in the drier climate, there is subalpine-scrub, fell-field, shrub-steppe and actual desert.
From the agricultural standpoint the most notable feature is the splendid plantations of exotic forest-trees with which the State has already replaced 27,442 hectares of Leptospermum shrubland and Pteridium heath, which was mostly unsuitable for ordinary farming purposes. All the same much pumice land, considered worthless a few years ago, is now well clothed with grass and a good many dairy farms have been established. But in order that really profitable live-stock farming can be carried out it is essential that heavy applications of phosphate fertilizers be made in order to page 385produce permanent pastures. Also transportation over the area is difficult and, lacking this, intensive farming is impossible.
The East Cape District.
This includes all the area lying to the east of the R. Rangitaiki and thence southwards to the northern extremity of the Ruahine Mountains, together with the East Cape semi-peninsula, and bounded on the south by a line extending from a little to the south of Cape Kidnappers to about Kuripaponga. As far as my experience goes the Rangitaiki boundary seems fairly satisfactory, but the extension of the western boundary and the position of the southern boundary is little better than a guess; probably the latter should extend further to the south.
Much of the country, especially inland, is mountainous and much broken with narrow valleys containing torrents in time of flood, but near the coast the land, though hilly, presents gentler contours. Both pumice and calcareous soils are common.
Owing to the hilly nature of the area there is much modification of climate. The littoral is sheltered from westerly winds. East to south-easterly winds in cyclones bring heavy rains and occasional floods, 20 cm. falling in a day. In the southern part of the district, even on the coastline, there is frequently a temperature over 26°C. from December to the end of March. Frost is only of moment in the upper montane and subalpine belts. The mean annual rainfall is 108 cm. and, except in the forested parts, the number of rainy days is small (± 110). The rain is distributed as follows: — spring 20.1%, summer 19.5%, autumn 29.7% and winter 30.7%.
The flora consists of about 734 species, the following of which are locally endemic: — Lemna gibba (possibly a mistake), Danthonia nuda, Peperomia tetraphytta, Edwardsia tetraptera (in a narrow sense), Myosotis saxosa, M. amabilis, Hebe Darwiniana (perhaps hybrid), H. macroura, H. Cookiana, Jovellana Sinclairii, Utricularia Colensoi, Olearia pachyphylla and Senecio perdicioides. Pittosporum Ralphii, which extends into the Egmont-Wanganui district, is a characteristic species. Many common northern species reach their southern limit in the nortn of the district so that the forests of the East Cape semi-peninsula have a facies very similar to those of the Auckland districts.
Extensive forests still remain in the northern part of the district, both dicotylous-podocarp and Nothofagus, the former the southern limit for a number of northern trees. Further south, forest is rare, except on the mountains, the climate being dry, so that possibly the present covering of Pteridium and Leptospermum is more or less primitive. On the coast, there is a characteristic rock association of Phormium Colensoi and Hebe macroura, and, on river-banks, in the south-east of the district, Pittosporum Ralphii, Edwardsia tetraptera and Hoheria sexstylosa are greatly in evidence. On the high mountains there is a small subalpine flora.page 386
With regard to farming sheep are depastured in large numbers on the rich artificial pastures the raising of fat lambs being all-important. Thus, in the Gisborne land district, a part of the area, the number of sheep in 1926 was 1,582,521 and in Hawkes Bay, which however extends for a considerable distance into the Ruahine-Cook district the number was 1,660,556, the total for all New Zealand being nearly 25,000,000. The greater part of the undulating hilly "bush-burn" pastures have danthonia dominant and they support far more sheep per hectare than apparently similar grassland elsewhere. The southern limit of maize, as a grain crop, is in the neighbourhood of Gisborne, though as a forage crop it is grown as far south as Cook Strait, In gardens, subtropical plants, similar to those cultivated in the Auckland districts grow vigorously. The vine is grown to some extent for wine making.
The Egmont-Wanganul District.
Here again the, boundaries, as shown on the map are quite uncertain, but this district embraces the Wanganui coastal plain which gradually rises, on proceeding inland, from sea-level to 600 m. altitude. The plain is everywhere deeply cut by rivers and streams which flow far below the apparently hilly suface of the plain. Mount Egmont and the adjacent Pouakai Range come into the district.
The district has a westerly aspect and most of the rain comes from that quarter. The rainfall on Mount Egmont must be very high, judging from the rich bryophyte content of its forests. Taking a number of stations there is a mean maximum temperature of 18.4°C, a mean minimum of of 8.3° and a mean daily range of 10.1°. In New Plymouth during summer the maximum rarely exceeds 24° and in winter the actual freezing point is rarely reached. The mean annual rainfall is 118 cm., and its distribution is as follows: — spring 25.1%, summer 21.8%, autumn 25.4% and winter 27.7%. In certain localities the westerly winds carry salt spray inland for several kilometres and are hurtful to many species of plants.
The flora consists of about 630 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Carmichaelia australis var. egmontiana, Hebe salicifolia var. longeracemosa, and perhaps the narrow-leaved var. of Egmont, Coprosma egmontiana, Plantago Masonae, Celmisia glandulosa var. latifolia, Olearia Thomsonii (perhaps hybrid), and Senecio Turneri.
Excepting where the full force of the sea wind struck, Beilschmiedia tawa forest originally occupied most of the district. Cliff vegetation of the deep, river-gorges is a characteristic feature with Blechnum procerum, Cladium Sinclairii, Senecio latifolius &c., as described in Part II. About 100 high-mountain species occur on Mount Egmont and Ourisia macrophylla and Ranunculus nivicola are particularly abundant.
As farmland the soil grows grass amazingly, so that certain areas produce almost unbelievable amounts of butter and cheese. At the Kaupo-page 387kanui cheese factory, for example, 2,730,000 kg. of cheese are produced yearly from the milk of 10,000 cows grazed on 10,000 hectares. Near the coast, the immense hedges of Lycium horridum are physiognomic.
The Ruahine-Cook District.
This comprises the area east of the Rangitikei and Hautapu Rivers and bounded on the north by a line passing from a little to the north of Taihape to a little to the south of Cape Kidnappers. The other boundaries are Cook Strait and the Pacific Ocean. The Ruahine-Tararua-Rimutaka wall of mountains extends through the district, dividing it into eastern and western parts. Much of the area is flat, embracing, as it does, the Manawatu and Wairarapa fluviatile plains. There is an extensive coast-line, rocky on the east and south but with extensive dunes on the west.
Much of this district has a climate considerably affected by the proximity of Cook Strait. The predominant weather is westerly but not infrequently it falls under the influence of subtropical disturbances. The Dividing Range distinctly influences the climate, so that the plain on its eastern side receives less rain than other parts of the district. It is also hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. The mean maximum temperature for the lowland belt is 17.5°C, the mean minimum 8.9° and the mean daily rang 8.6°. In the subalpine belt snow lies from about 1 to 3 months and frosts oecur at all seasons. The mean annual rainfall for the lowlands is 108 cm. and distributed as follows: — spring 22.6%, summer 23.3%, autumn 26% and winter 26.7%. Much more rain, however, falls on the mountains and in certain lowland localities. High winds of considerable duration are characteristic.
The flora consist of about 805 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Gahnia robusta, Carmichaelia odorata (according to T. Kirk, it extends to the Marlborough sounds), Epilobium Cockaynianum, Aciphylla intermedia. Anisotome dissecta, Myosotis Astoni (close to, if not identical with M. petiolata), Hebe evenosa, H. Astoni, H. elliptica var. crassifolia, Coprosma Buchanani (possibly a hybrid), Craspedia maritima, Abrotanella pusilla, Senecio Greyii and S. compactus.
Originally, there were extensive dicotylous-podocarp forests, and there are still wide breadths of Nothofagus forest which ascend to the timber-line. The high-mountain flora contains nearly all the North Island species of that class and, excluding local endemics, the following nave not been recorded elsewhere for North Island: — Deschampsia tenella, Triodia australis, Uncinia fuscovaginata, Drosera stenopetala, Aciphylla conspicua (unless it is the A. Colensoi of various records), Dracophyllum pronum (if it be that species which — D. rosmarinifolium of Cheeseman &c., but not D. rosmarinifolium (Forst. f.) R. Br. of which D. politum (T. Kirk) Ckn. is a syn.), Epilobium pernitidum, Olearia lacunosa, Celmisia hieracifolia, C. oblonga and Senecio Adamsii.page 388
Dairy farming and grazing are the chief agricultural pursuits, the Manawatu area being particularly fertile. There are permanent pastures of Lolium perenne on rich soil — an uncommon occurrence elsewhere in New Zealand. Large areas of indigenous-induced Phormium tenax are an important feature. Danthonia grassland replacing artificial meadow of European grasses is a common occurrence.
The Sounds-Nelson District.
This includes that portion of the north of south Island bounded by the river Wairau on the south up to nearly Tophouse and, on the west, by a line denoting the average limit of the westerly rainfall. Most of the district is hilly and part is occupied by lofty mountains. In the Marlborough Sounds portion of the district the sea fills many valleys, but others are well sheltered and their floors rich alluvial soil. The celebrated Mineral Belt extends as a narrow band throughout much of the district, ascending in some places to the subalpine belt and in others descending to sea-level.
Near the coast and in the valleys the climate is mild, as testified by the numerous subtropical garden plants. The average annual rainfall for the city of Nelson (coastal) is nearly 95 cm. with 122 rainy days, but it is higher in the Marlborough Sounds. As for the temperature, the average maximum for January (the hottest month) at Nelson is nearly 24°C. and the average minimum for the same mouth is 12.2°. For July (the coldest month) the average maxima and minima are respectively 12.5°C. and 3.1°. In the high-mountains there are frequent frosts and much snow.
The flora consists of at least 700 species of which the following are locally-endemic: — an unnamed var. of Poa acicularifolia (Mineral Belt), an unnamed Festuca (probably confined to the Mineral Belt), Notothlaspi australe var. stellata, Poranthera microphylla (also Australian), Pimelea Suteri, Myosotis Monroi, Scutellaria novae-zelandiae, Hebe rigidula, H. divaricata, H. Gibbsii, Olearia serpentina, Celmisia Rutlandii, C. cordatifolia, C. Macmahoni and Cassinia Vauvilliersii var. serpentina.
In the Sounds portion of the district there was originally much forest, both Beilschmiedia tawa - podocarp and Nothofagus, the two almost identical with those of the southern part of the Ruahine-Cook district. Southwards and westwards from Nelson City, the lowland-montane belt is occupied in large part by Leptospermum shrubland — mostly induced. On coastal rocks, Astelia Solandri, Phormium Colensoi, Arthropodium cirrhatum (absent in Ruahine-Cook) and Griselinia lucida are characteristic. On tidal mud-flats, there fire wide carpets of Salicornia australis (Fig. 2).
The mountainous nature of so much of the land-surface militates strongly against agriculture. Sheep grazing and dairy forming, especially in the Sounds area, are of considerable importance. In the Nelson area, fruit-growing is of prime moment, much Leptospermum - clad country having been utilized for that purpose, the area in orchards — 2700 hectares — page 389being the largest in New Zealand. Hops are cultivated to a small extent (241 hectares), the district being the only one in the region where they are grown commercially.
The North-eastern District.
This is bounded on the east by the coast-line from the mouth of the River Wairau on the north to the mouth of the River Hurunui on the south; on the west by a line, denoting the average limit of the western rain, extending northwards from near the source of the Hurunui till near Tophouse where it joins the boundary between this and the Sounds-Nelson district; and, on the south, by the R. Hurunui.
The surface consists largely of lofty mountains composed chiefly of greywacke, but in places limestone is abundant. As for flat ground, there is the gravel-plain south of the R. Weirau, the small Kaikoura gravel-plain and the basin-plains of Hanmer (montane in character) and Culverden.
The climate throughout much of the district is dry and of a semi-continental character, particularly in the Awatere and Clarence basins, but, in the west and south, it is wetter. Rain frequently comes from the east, hence the forest-climate of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains. The mean annual rainfall in the lower part of the Awatere Valley, at 7.2 km. from the coast, is 61.7 cm., and for the upper part of the valley, 72 km. from the coast, 72.7 cm., but in the extreme western part of the district more than 100 cm. is not uncommon. Droughts of considerable duration occur, as in 1914 at Seddon, when only 6.2 cm. of rain fell from July to December inclusive, and the drought extending into 1915, some trees of Eucalyptus globulus were killed thereby.
With regard to temperature, 33°C, or rather more, are occasionally registered during summer and at Hanmer (alt. 368 m.) — 8°C. is not unusual in winter while frosts (mostly light) may occur on 106 days distributed over 7 months. High winds are frequent, and the north-west is much as that described in Part I.
The species number about 715 of which the following large number are locally endemic: — Ranunculus lobulatus (perhaps a jordanon close to R. Monroi), Geum divergens, Carmichaelia Monroi (the type), C. juncea var. or undescribed species (Cockayne, L., 1918 b: 165), Notosparfium Carmichaeliae, N. glabrescens (perhaps identical with N. Carmichaliae), Chordospartium Stevensoni, Epilobium Wilsoni (probably identical with the next, but uphel by Cheeseman — 1925: 608), E. chloraefolium var. kaikourense, E. rostratum var. pubens, E. brevipes, Schizeilema Roughii, Gentiana Astoni, Convolvulus fracto-saxosa, Myosotis Laingii, M. Cockayniana, M. saxatilis, Hebe rupicola, H. Hulkeana, Wahlenbergia Matthewsii, W. cartilaginea, Pachystegia insignis, Shawia coriacea, Celmisia Monroi, Haastia pulvinaris (may extend for a short distance into SN. and NW.), H. pulvinaris var minor, H. recurva var. Wallii, Gnaphalium nitidulum, Ewartia Sinclairii, Raoulia cinerea. Heli- page 390chrysum coralloides, Cassinia albida vars. typica and canescens, Abrotdnella Christensenii, Senecio Monroi, and S. lapidosus.
Ranunculus crithmifolius, Gunnera densiflara and Angelica trifoliolata have each been noted only in one locality in this district and in one locality far to the south in the Eastern district.
By far the greater part of the vegetation is low tussock-grassland forest usually being present — but much has been destroyed in the west — in gullies or shady slopes. There was, however, luxuriant dicotylous-podocarp forest on the east side of the Seaward Kaikouras, thanks to the moistureladen east winds. This forest was of a semi-North Island character, as shown by the presence of Rhopalostylis sapida, Melicope ternata — absent further south but here meeting M. simplex and × M. tersimplex appears — and Coprosma grandifolia. Also, Corynocarpus forest follows the coast-line. A striking feature of the district is the cliff vegetation with Pachystegia insignis dominant and abundance of Hebe Hulkeana and Senecio Monroi. Fell-field, usually most open, and shingle-slip, reach their maximum development for the Region.
With regard to agriculture, sheep are depastured on all the open mountains and the most extensive sheep-runs of New Zealand occur in this district. In the districts already dealt with the dominant breeds of sheep have been of the coarse long-wool types but from the R. Wairati southwards throughout South Island it is the fine-wool sheep, largely of merino origin which are used. It is also rapidly becoming of peculiar agricultural importance through the ease with which Medicago sativa (lucerne, alfalfa) can be established, there being no need for special effort to keep down weeds. Malting barley is grown to a fair extent. Oat chaff is harvested earlier than in any other part of New Zealand. Indigenous-induced danthonia pasture is common but unlike that of the wetter districts it is not suitable for ewes with lambs. Eschscholzia californica is common on the Blenheim gravel-plain.
The North-western District.
This lies to the west of the Sounds-Nelson and North-eastern districts extending to the coast-line of the Tasman Sea and is bounded on the north by the sea-coast from near Motueka to C. Farewell and on the south by the R. Taramakau. It is essentially an area of high mountains, but it contains a number of rather broad valleys. he extensive coast-line is frequently rocky or precipitous.
The climate is humid and the rainfall heavy. Much of the district is fully open to the prevailing westerly winds, those from the north-west bringing rain but, as they change to the south, the weather rapidly clears. Both frost and snow are abundant on the mountains in winter, but they occur to some extent at all seasons. Near the coast, the climate is mild and almost frostless and there the mean annual rainfall is 188 cm. and it is distributed as follows: — spring 25%, summer 22.6%, autumn 26.2% page 391and winter 26.2%. On the mountains the rainfall must be considerably higher, and near the southern boundary it is much higher than as given above.
The flora consists of at least 905 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Carex trachycarpa, Gaimardia minima, Townsonia deflexa, Colobanthus caniculatus, Ranunculus verticillatus, Nasturtium Gibhsii, Wintera Traversii, Tillaea Helmsii, Pittosporum Dallii, Carmichaelia Fieldii, Poranthera alpina, Aciphylla Hookeri, A. indurata, A. trifoliolata, A. Townsoni, Anisotome diversifolia, Dracophyllum Townsoni, D. pubescens, D. palustre, Myosotis angustata, M. condnna, Mitrasacme montana var. Helmsii,. Gentiana filipes, G. gracilifolia, G. vernicosa, G. Townsoni, G. Spenceri ("perhaps in F.), Hebe salicifolia var. serrulata,. H. coarctata, Euphrasia Cheesemanii, Celmisia rupestris, C. Gibbsii, C. Dallii, C. semicordata, C. parva, C. dubia, C. lateralis, Senecio glaucophyllus and S. Hectori,
A number of North Island species reach their southern limit in this district, many of which are absent in other parts of northern South Island: the following is a list, those coming into the last class are marked with an asterisk: — Adiantum aethiopicum*, Pteris macilenta, Blechnum Fraseri*, Athyrium australe, Lycopodium cernuum*, Bromus arenarius*, Eleocharis neo-zelandica*, Cladium capillaceum*, Astelia Banksii*, Pterosiylis puberula*. Acianthus Sinclairii, Calochilus paludosus*, Corysanthes Cheesemanii*, Nothofagus truncata, Peperomia Urvilleana*, Ranunculus insignis*, Laurelia novae-zelandiae, Lepidium flexicaule*, Hibiscus trionum* (only recorded from specimens collected by Lyall and may be an error), Pimelea longifolia, Metrosideros Parkinsonii*, (only elsewhere on Great Barrier Island), M. Colensoi, M. robusta, Myriophyllum robustum, Epacris pauciflora*, Dracophyllum latifolium*, Suttoniasalicina, Coprosmaretusa, Nertera Cunninghamii*, Gnaphalium subrigidum* and Brachyglottis repanda. Also some southern plants attain their northern limit in this district e. g. Blechnum durum, Microlaena Thomsoni (absent from lat. 46° to lat. 42°), Pittosporum patulum (absent from lat. 44° to lat. 42° 30'), Ranunculus Lyallii, Gunnera albocarpa, Pseudopanax lineare, Anisotome Haastii, Actinotus suffocata (absent form lat. 46° to lat. 42°), Gentiana montana (this may not be identical with the Dusky Sound plant), G. saxosa (extends a short distance into W.), Coprosma serrulata, Celmisia Traversii (absent from lat. 46° to lat. 42° 30') and Senecio rotundifolius (absent from lat. 44° to lat. 42°).
Forest, except on the particularly sour soils and certain broad, windswept valleys, covered the surface up to the timber-line, at the higher levels Nothofagus, and, at lower levels all grades from pure dicotylous-podocarp forest with a North Island facies of Nothofagus forest (N. fusca, N. truncata, N. Menziesii and N. cliffortioides and many hybrids). The high-mountain flora is rich and herb-field abundant. Notwithstanding the wet climate tussock-grassland occurs in the broad, montane valleys.
There is some dairying in the lowland alluvial valleys and flats and page 392a good deal of Nothofagus forest has been felled and burned and the land grassed, but frequently with disappointing results. Various exotic species of Rubus, belonging to the great linneon, R. fruticosus, form far-extending thickets on cleared land.
The Eastern District.
This is the continuation southwards of the North-eastern district. On the west, it extends to the average line reached by the westerly rain (Fig. 89) and on the south is bounded by the irregular line, shown on the map, which commences at the mouth of the River Waitaki. It is naturally subdivided into two subdistricts as below.
The Banks Subdistrict is restricted to Banks Peninsula. This is an oval-shaped mass of hills of volcanic origin about 56 km. long by 32 km. broad, pierced by several narrow arms of the sea and with the highest peaks from 600 to 900 m. altitude. The soil is partly loess partly volcanic the latter particularly "fertile".
The climate is equable, the difference in average winter and summer temperature being possibly about 8° C, and the maximum 33° C. or rather more. Compared with the Canterbury Plain the amount of frost in winter is trifling, so that early crops of potatoes and tomatoes can be readily grown. On the summits, snow may lie in winter for a few days at a time. The annual rainfall apparently ranges from about 75 to 112 cm. The winds are similar to those of the Canterbury Plain, but the contour of the land leads to far more shelter.
The flora consists of about 472 species of which the following are possibly locallv endemic: — Anisotome sp. (Laing-and Wall consider this identical with A. Enysii — 1924: 442 to 43 — but I still look upon it as distinct), Myosotis australis var. lytteltonensis (almost certainly none of the New Zealand plants belong to M. australis R. Br.), Hebe leiophylla var. strictissima, H. Lavaudiana, Celmisia Mackaui, Cotula Haastii and Senecio saxifragoides. There is also a distinct form of Anisotome belonging to the linneon A. aromatica, and possibly Gunnera monoica does not occur elsewhere in New Zealand proper. The following species have their southern limit on Banks Peninsula: — Adiantum fulvum, Polypodium dictyopteris, Pteris tremula, Mariscus ustulatus, Rhopalostylis sapida, Spiranthes australis, Macropiper excelsum, Rhagodia nutans, Corynocarpus laevigata, Dodonaea viscosa, Alectryon excelsum, Tetrapathaea tetrandra (also in swamp forest on Canterbury Plain), Angelica rosaefolia, Griselinia lucida, (am not sure of the identification), Coprosma grandifolia.
Originally the area, except where struck fairly by the strongest or most persistent wind, was forest-clad with dicotylous-podocarp forest containing a good deal of Podocarpus totara and P. spicatus in the lowland-lower montane belt and at a higher altitude P. Hattii and higher still some Libocedrus Bidwillii. At the present time, there is a good deal of tussock-grassland but how far primitive or induced it is no longer possible to say. page 393So, too, with the colonies of high-mountain plants, few of which, however belong to the true high-mountain element.
Early on in the history of settlement, the rich lands and excellent climate attracted the settler and by degrees almost all the forests were replaced by artificial meadows in which Dactylis glomerata is dominant. This grass is harvested yearly for its seed, but less land is used for this purpose than formerly. Long before cheese and butter factories were established Banks Peninsula was celebrated for its dairy produce. At the present time dairying and grazing are the main branches of agriculture.
The Canterbury subdistrict, with the exception of the Canterbury Plain, is exceedingly mountainous including as it does the eastern extension of the Southern Alps, many of the peaks exceeding 1800 m. in altitude, while some reach more than 2400 m. Shingly river-beds formed of greywacke debris, 1 km. wide or considerably more with their accompanying high terraces, and fans terminating torrents, are features of the land-surface rather more fully developed than in South Island generally, the rivers coming from glaciers of great extent. There is a long coast-line which is mostly sandy or shingly.
The climate is semi-continental in character. The hot wind, described in Part I, though not peculiar to the district, is an important climatic feature. Extremes of climate constantly occur and a sudden change of the wind to a southerly direction brings a rapid decline in temperature. These southwesters are frequently accountable for heavy showers and thunderstorms, but the most generous rains are from the south-east. The mean temperature is 11.5° C, the mean maximum 16.4°— but over 32° is occasionally recorded in summer — and the mean minimum 6.6°. Frost is frequent and more severe close to the coast than in any other part of the Region at that altitude and a temperature of —8° C. is not unusual.
The rainfall differs greatly in different parts. At about sea-level in the extreme east of the subdistrict it averages 62.5 cm., near the base of Mount Torlesse — 70 km. inland, altitude 360 in. — 100 cm. and, in the extreme west, at least 130 cm., while for the subalpine belt 170 cm. is not an unreasonable estimate. Near the coast the rainfall is distributed as follows: — spring 24.3%, summer 23.8%, autumn 25.9% and winter 26%.
The flora numbers about 750 species of which the following are locally-endemic: — Botrychium lunaria, Carex cirrhosa, Korthalsella clavata (may be epharmonic K. Lindsayi), Ranunculus Enysii (apparently a linneon made up of 2 species and their hybrids), R. Monroi var. dentatus, R. pauciflorus (may be R. chordorhizus), R. rivularis var. glareosus, Carmichaelia robusta, Hoheria Allanii, Pimelea Haastii (may be P. aridula), Epilobium gracilipes, Dracophyllum acicularifolium, Gentiana serotina, Myosotis Colensoi (= M. decora T. Kirk), Hebe anomala (a doubtiful species), H. amplexicaulis and its vars., H. Allanii, H. Armstrongii and Brachycome pinnata.page 394
The subdistrict, as a whole, even from sea-level, up to the lower subalpine belt was occupied by tussock-grassland (mostly low). There is a rich development of fell-field vegetation, much of which is modified. Shingleslip vegetation is a common feature.
Agriculture on nloughable land consists principally of rotation farming in which wheat plays an important part, A conspicuous feature of distribution from the agricultural standpoint, is the inability to successfully grow hard turnips every season owing to the ravages of aphides and diamond-backed moths, and consequently winter catch-cropping with forage oats is practised. Dairying is practised on the drained swamp-land of the plain. The mountainous area and the stony parts of the plain are devoted to sheep-farming, the raising of fat lambs being an important branch. Owing to the somewhat severe winters many garden plants, which succeed well further south, cannot be successfully grown.
The Western District.
This extends from the R. Taramakau on the north to a line passing from the north end of Big Bay and extending by way of the sources of the Rivers Cascade and Arawhata in a straight line to a spot on the east of the Divide marking the average limit of the westerly rainfall and from this point northwards to the junction with the Northeastern district the line denoting the above limit forms the eastern boundary.
The district includes the highest part of the Southern Alps, their western foothills and the narrow Westland coastal plain. Really it should be subdivided into 2 subdistricts, eastern and western, distinguished in part by the preponderance of rain-forest proper on the west of the Divide and of Nothofagus forest on the east, but I have quite insufficient data for such treatment. The district is superabundantly watered and is traversed by numerous, torrential glacial rivers. The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers descend far into the lowland belt (211 m. and 204 m., respectively).
The climate is extremely wet, the average rainfall at Hokitika — almost the driest locality in the west — being 290 cm. on 187 days; and, on the east, that of the old Bealey township — only just in the district — being 257 cm. on 174 days. In the mountains the rainfall cannot be less than 500 cm. On the high mountains the snow-fall is extremely heavy, as demonstrated by the size, number and low altitudes of the glaciers. Not-withstanding the excessive precipitation there is an average of 1,915 hours of sunshine per year at Hokitika. The temperature is without extremes the average maximum and minimum at Hokitika being respectively 16° and 8°, while the frost is not sufficiently severe to kill garden plants which cannot be grown for any length of time at Christchurch (E.).
The flora consists of about 755 species of wich the following are locally endemic: — Deyeuxia Youngii, Danthonia oreophila var. elata, Colobanthus monticola, Ranunculus Godleyanus, R. Grahami, R. sericophyllus, Epilobium westlandicum, Aciphytta divisa, A. similis, Myosotis explanata, M. suavis, page 395Nertera ciliata, Hebe macrocalyx, H. Treadwellii, Brachycome polita and Leucogenes Grahami (possibly L. grandiceps × Helichrysum Selago).
The lowlands and mountains up to a height of about 1200 m. are densely clothed with forest (dicotylous-podocarp except in the south and Nothofagus in the east). Characteristic of lowland forest are Quintinia acutifolia, Ascarina lucida and the lianes, Freycinetia Banksii, Metrosideros scandens and M. perforata. Subalpine-scrub is richly developed and allied shrub associations descend to the lowlands. The most extreme xerophytes are absent; herb-field of a luxuriant character is characteristic with Ranunculus Lyallii, Ourisia macrocarpa var. calycina, Celmisia Armstrongii, C. coriacea and Senecio scorzonerioides in abundance.
Owing to the wet climate it is difficult to bring in pasture by bushburning. Some dairying is carried out on the river-flats and sheep are pastured on river-beds. Saw-milling is an important industry and will remain so for a considerable time. After the forest is felled, in many places indigenous-induced bog is the first succession.
The North Otago District.
This forms the southernmost portion of the South Island tussock-grassland area and it includes the driest and hottest part of New Zealand proper. It is bounded on the west by the line marking the average limit of the north-westerly rain, and, on the south by a much more irregular line which denotes the average limit reached by the south-westerly downpour. Also, the northern boundary is most irregular in shape and designed to separate the dry area from one rather wetter, but its position is merely a guess based on insufficient investigation. Really the district is not quite as shown upon the map, for it extends along the Kaiwarau valley almost to L. Wakatipu, but the upper parts of Mount Cardrona, Mount Pisa, the Carrick Range and the Dunstan Mountains clearly belong to the South Otago district. The northern part of the district includes part of the Mackenzie plain — a basin-plain — but most of the remainder is occupied by a series of straight, wall-like block mountains, up to 2100 m. high, composed of mica-schist or greywacke, as the case may be, while between these mountains are large or small depressions, the former forming basins or plateaux (Maniototo; Plain, Ida Valley, Manuherikia Valley &c).
The district is far and away the driest in the Region. The effect of such drought is plainly visible in the rocks weathered into fantastic shapes by blown sand &c. and by the present state of the vegetation described in Part III. The average annual rainfall in the upper Clutha Valley is some 35 cm., and the average number of days on which rain — usually very hight — falls is 60. Droughts extending over 2 months or more are common. Even at Kurow on the Waitaki, far from the centre of aridity, the rainfall in 1907–8 (March to Febr., inclusive) was only 36 cm. and the rainy days 94. On the Maniototo Plain, too, as low as 32.2 cm. in 94 days has been registered, and that area is far from having reached any-page 396thing like the depletion (Raoulia lutescens colonies) of the upper Clutha. The low rainfall of the district is accompanied by a clear sky day after day, a burning sun, and frequent violent hot winds with clouds of dust or sand. In summer and early autumn, a shade temperature of 32° C. is common and even over 38° not infrequent. The cold of winter, too, attains its maximum for New Zealand and —16.6° has been registered for the Maniototo Plain.
The flora numbers about 480 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Carex decurtata, Colobanthus Buchanani, Lepidium Kirkii. L. Kawarau (possibly an epharmone of the next), L. matau, Acaena Buchanani (apparently extends some distance into the South Otago district), Carmichaelia Petriei, C. compacta, C. curta, Pimelea aridula, Halorrhagis depressa var. spicata, Myosotis pygmaea var. imbricata, M. albosericea, Limosella Curdieana, Hebe pimeleoides var. rupestris.
Except in a few gullies in the east, forest is wanting. Olearia lineata is dominant in certain scrubs. Tussock-grassland with Poa Colensoi or P. intermedia dominant, and Agropyrum scabrum abundant, may ascend to the summits of the mountains but in the driest part of the district it has been replaced by induced-steppe with Raoulia lutescens dominant. Near Lake Wanaka the soft cushions of Pimelea sericeo-villosa are conspicuous in such steppe and green or silvery mats of Acaena Buchanani and Raoulia Parkii respectively are abundant. Carmichaelia Petriei (an extreme xerophyte. now eaten to the ground by sheep and rabbits) was originally abundant throughout. On dry rocks, Hebe pimeleoides var. rupestris and, in sandy ground, Pimelea aridula are characteristic.
For many years the district has been the site of numerous sheep stations, the carrying-capacity of which has been greatly reduced by burning and, at one time, overstocking, and the presence of rabbits in vast numbers. In the valley of the Clutha and some of tributaries fruit-growing is a flourishing industry, thanks to irrigation, stone fruits growing better than elsewhere in the region. Irrigation, too, has led to the cultivation of lucerne (alfalfa) so that now the district comes next to the North-eastern in regard to the area occupied by this important crop. Malting barley is grown to some extent, especially near L. Wakatipu. With irrigation, both vegetables and flowers are grown to perfection, the latter, roses for instance, being most brilliant in hue.
The South Otago District.
This occupies the south and south-eastern portion of South Island subject to frequent south-west gales accompanied by rain. The boundary between this district and the Fiord district is, as yet, problematical, since it is not easy to fix an average limit for the north-western downpour for, in the south, continuous forest extends from the one district to the other, and most of the transitional area is unexplored. The irregular northern boundary is shown on the map. This boundary is well-defined in many places by the sudden incoming of induced steppe. At Deep page 397Creek, in the Taieri Gorge, Leptospermum scoparium and the exotic Digitalis purpurea suddenly give out, thus marking exactly the junction of the two districts. So, too, at a certain point on the Palmerston South-Central Otago road, Carmichaelia Petriei comes to a stand, and another species (perhaps unnamed) takes its place eastwards — a remarkable fact first noticed by J. S. Thomson and G. Simpson.
In general, the surface is hilly and, in the west, mountainous, but there is the flat Taieri Plain — liable to floods — and the extensive Southland Plain. Rivers and streams are abundant. The long coast-line is frequently rocky and precipitous, but along Foveaux Strait there are sand-dunes of considerable extent.
Owing to the frequency of cold rain-bearing south-west winds with cloudy sky and the comparatively low summer temperature, the climate of this area approximates more to the subantarctic type than that of any other of the mainland botanical divisions, except the Fiord district. At the same time, it must be pointed out that there is much bright sunshine and cloudless sky, as in New Zealand generally. The north-west wind is dry, its moisture having been lost in passing over the Fiord district. High winds are frequent and at times sweep over the open Southland Plain with fury. In the mountains the winter snow is of comparatively long duration. Snow at sea-level too is not uncommon, but frosts at that altitude are less severe than on the coast of the Eastern district. At Tapanui (alt. 150 in.) the highest and lowest shade temperatures recorded during 15 years were respectively 36° and—10°, but about — 5° was much more common. The average rainfall for Dunedin (about sea-level), Tapanui (150 m.), Queenstown (L. Wakatipu, about 300 m.) and Invercargil (about sea-level) is respectively: 100 cm., 90 cm., 76 cm. and 146 cm. and the average number of rainy days 159, 155, 91 and 189. Apparently the distribution of the rainfall is highest in spring and autumn, but least in summer and winter, but the differences are not great.
The flora consists of about 775 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Poa pygmaea, Agrostis Petriei (extends into NO. for a short distance), Triodia australis, Carex Hectori, C. pterocarpa, Centrolepis strigosa, Luzula micrantha, L. crenulata, L. triandra (the three last perhaps epharmonic forms of one species), L. leptophylla, Gastrodia minor (may be stunted G. Cunninghamii), Ranunculus Berggreni, R. novae-zelandiae, R. Scott-Thornsonii, Nasturtium Wallii, Corallospartium racemosum, Carmichaelia virgata and probably an undescribed species of that genus allied to C. robusta, Gunnera mixta, Aciphylla simplex, A. Spedeni, A. Scott-Thomsonii, Anisotome lanuginosa, A. imbricata, Tetrachondra Hamiltonii, Hebe Biggarii, H. Poppelwellii, H. annulata, Lagenophora purpurea (probably L. petiolata) Celmisia Lindsayi, Helichrysum Selago var. tumida (probably better treated as a species near to H. coralloides), Cotula Willcoxii, C. obscura, C. sericea, and Senecio southlandicus.page 398
The following species occur also in the Fiord district: — Deschampsia pusilla, Poa exigua, Ranunculus Buchanani, R. pachyrhizus, Schizeilema exigua, Aciphylla multisecta, A. pinnatifida, Anisotome intermedia (the type), A. capilifolia, Myosotis pulvinaris, Hebe dasyphylla, H. Petrieii, Celmisia Bonplandii, C. verbascifolia, C. lanceolata, C. Petriei, C. ramulosa and Senecio revolutus.
The eastern part of the district was occupied originally by dicotylous-podocarp forest composed of few species as compared with the North Island part of the formation, but the western part is still covered with a wide area of Nothofagus forest in the south made up of N. Menziesii and N. cliffortioides and of these together with N. fusca and × N. cliffusca in the north, such forest being far from continuous. A good deal of the lowlands and the montane belt is still clothed with tall tussock-grassland (Danthonia Raoulii var. rubra dominant, or D. flavescens — in a wide sense — in places). On the mountains, there are rich herb-fields and, where flat, herbmoors are characteristic. A good many high-mountain species occur at sea-level. Coastal moor is present at certain places on the shore of Foveaux Strait. Sphagnum bog originally was quite common.
On ploughable land the agriculture of the district consists of rotation farming, in which spring-sown oats and Aberdeen turnips are conspicuous crops. Dairy-farming is a most important industry. Other features of the district are the ridging of turnips and the general application of carbonate of lime, indeed more lime is used than in all the other districts taken together.
The Fiord District.
This district occupies all the area pierced by the Otago fiords and lakes south of L. Wakatipu subject to the excessively heavy north-westerly downpour. Its eastern and northern boundaries, as shown on the South Island map, are merely provisional.
The whole of the district is occupied by lofty, precipitous mountains, which, in the northern part carry large glaciers and many years must go by before the vegetation and flora are fairly well known, for not only is the area difficult to explore, but the botanists available are few in number and with other avocations. Probably it will eventually be shown that there are two subdistricts — northern and southern — distinguished by a number of species peculiar to each.
The district has the maximum rainfall and the greatest number of rainy days in the New Zealand Region. Frost and snow, though frequent in the mountains and occurring at all seasons are probably of little moment at sea-level. Taking the few isolated stations for which records are available there is a mean of 413 cm. distributed as follows: — spring 24.8%; summer 22.4%; autumn 29.5%; winter 23.3%.
The flora consists of about 700 species of which the following are locally endemic: — Agrostis magellanica (also in the Subantarctic province), Danthonia ovata, D. planifolia, Poa oraria, Poa sp. of dripping rock in the page 399Clinton Valley (Fig. 78), Heleocharis acicularis, Uncinia longifructus, Ranunculus Simpsonii, Pimelea Crosby-Smithiana, Epilobium Matthewsii, E. purpuratum (only known from the type at Kew), Aciphylla Cuthbertiana, A. congesta, A. Crosby-Smithii, Anisotome Lyallii, Dracophyllum fiordense (referred by Cheeseman to D. Townsoni), Gentiana flaccida, Myosotis Lyallii, Veronica catarractae, Ourisia macrocarpa var. cordata, 0. Macphersonii, Euphrasia integrifolia, Olearia operina, 0. Crosby-Smithiana (perhaps identical with Senecio bifistulosus), Celmisia holosericea, Raoulia Buchanani (but goes for a short distance in SO.) and Senecio bifistulosus.
The chief characteristics of the vegetation are the dense forests — Nothofagus - podocarp on the west and mostly pure Nothofagus on the east; the well defined coastal-scrub of Olearia operina, Senecio rotundifolius, Hebe elliptica, H. salicifolia and × H. ellipsala; the extensive herb-fields with abundance of Ranunculus Lyallii (absent in some localities), Celmisia Petriei, C. verbascifolia, C. holosericea, Ourisia macrocarpa var. cordata and Dracophyllum Menziesii (also forming scrubs) and Ranunculus Buchanani and R. Simpsonii on stony ground at high levels; and the replacement of forest by sphagnum bogs on which grow Olearia divaricata and various herbfield species.
The district is uninhabited except along two tourist routes, and at Preservation Inlet where there is a lighthouse. Nearly all the district is reserved as a National Park.
The Stewart District.
This comprises Stewart Island, together with all the islands in Foveaux Strait, those adjacent to Stewart Island itself, and the Solanders. Stewart Island is extremely hilly, the highest portion slightly exceeding 900 in. altitude. It is pierced by two arms of the sea which extend far inland. Much of the coast is rocky but, on the west, there is a fine sandy beach (Mason Bay) backed by very high dunes. Much of the surface of the island, even to the high summits, is wet and peaty.
The climate over the greater part of the district is semi-subantarctic in character and this is especially so in the south, south-west, and on the open mountains. The number of rainy days is excessive, even Halfmoon Bay (the driest part of Stewart Island) having a yearly average of 241 days with a maximum of 283 and a minimum of 223. The average annual rainfall (Halfmoon Bay) is 160 cm. and its distribution as follows: — spring 26.7%, summer 22.5%, autumn 27.9% and winter 22.9%. The climate is extremely mild, frost being almost absent on the east coast and the small islands, while snow is generally confined to the subalpine belt. The south-west wind, generally accompanied by rain or, in the mountains, sleet, frequently sweeps over the district in all its fury, except in the sheltered valleys.
The flora consists of about 500 species of which the following are locally-endemic: — Poa Guthrie-Smithiana, Danthonia pungens, Uncinia pedicellata (according to Cheeseman abundant throughout North and South page 400Island, but he had never seen living Stewart Island material), Chrysobactron Gibbsii, Adphylla Traillii, Anisotome flabellata, A. intermedia var. oblongifolia, Schizeilema Cockaynei, Dracophyllum Pearsoni, Hebe Laingii, Abrotanella muscosa and Raoulia Goyeni. The following are extremely rare elsewhere in the Region: — Ourisia modesta, Stilbocarpa Lyallii and Olearia angustifolia. Certain species of the Subantarctic province occur which are absent in either North Island or South Island, e. g. Polypodium Billardieri var. rigidum, Asplenium scleroprium, Poa foliosa, Astelia subulata, Urtica australis, Hebe odora, Senecio Stewartiae and the Stewart Oleuria Colensoi may be O. Lyallii
The most characteristic features of the vegetation are the two types of forest (rimu-kamahi and Dacrydium intermedium swamp-forest); coastal scrubs of Senecio rotundifolius-Olearia angustifolia; lowland Gleichenia-Hypolaena bog; cushion herb-moor; and associations of high-mountain plants at almost sea-level.
Most of the island is uninhabited. Farming is of but little moment, there being only a few hectares of pasture all of which are in the vicinity of Port William, Halfmoon Bay and the Neck.
Certain other Districts.
In addition to the districts defined above are the following: The Chatham, the Snares, the Lord Auckland, the Campbell, the Antipodes and the Macquarie. None of these need detailed description, for their endemic plants and plant-communities have been already dealt with in Part II, Section IV.
1 1) They lie nearly 53 km. W. N. W. of Cape Maria van Diemen in 34° 6' south lat. The Great King, easily the largest island, measures only 2.8 km. long by 1.2 km. broad. The islands rise abruptly from the sea and — leaving the smallest out of consideation — are from 106 to 303 m. high. All that is known of their flora and vegetation is derived from two brief visits of Cheeseman (1888, 1891), but only the two largest islands were visited, so probably the flora is larger than is given here.