Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants
Above 300-400 m in altitude the shrubland gives way to a grassland dominated by the large yellow-green tussocks of Chionochloa antarctica. It seems probable that a similar grassland originally occupied the 'lanes' within the shrub zone, but these have been greatly modified by the activities of wild pigs.
Several large herbs were a conspicuous feature of the tussock grass-page 209land particularly at lower elevations and this is still the case in 'Fairchild's Garden' near sea level on Adams Island, where pigs are not present. Cockayne162 describes the area as 'a wonderful collection of stately herbs with immense leaves, and in some cases masses of showy flowers'.
Anisotome latifolia has large, dark green dissected leaves and broad, pink to purple flower heads. Stilbocarpa polaris, already described for Macquarie, may also be common. Two species of Pleurophyllum are conspicuous — P. speciosum (Fig 117) with rosettes of almost circular, pale green longitudinally pleated leaves up to 30 cm in diameter and P criniferum with even longer, but ascending, leaves up to 1 m long. The former has quite large flowers with purple centres and pinkish 'petals', while the latter, although its flower heads may be 1.5 m high, has red, dome-shaped button flowers similar to those of Pleurophyllum hookeri. Towards the upper limits of the garden Pleurophyllum speciosum and Bulbinella rossii become particularly abundant. Bulbinella rossii is much larger than its mainland relatives and has broad arching leaves and large orange-yellow flower heads.
Figure 117 Close up of large herbs on the Auckland Islands. The plants in flower with broad ribbed leaves are Pleurophyllum speciosum. The dissected leaves on the left are Anisotome latifolia and the rounded leaves with toothed margins centre and right are Stilbocarpa polaris. A flower head of the latter appears in the left background. Photo: D. J. Campbell.