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Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants

Epiphytes Growing on Rocks

Epiphytes Growing on Rocks

As has already been mentioned, epiphytes sometimes grow on the ground and in some circumstances may be important components of terrestrial communities For example on Rangitoto Island, a volcanic cone only a few centuries old in Auckland Harbour, the epiphytes northern rata (Metrosideros robusta), puka (Griselinia lucida)Brachyglottis (Senecio) kirkii, Astelia solandri and Collospermum hastatum are common on dry sunny mounds of scoria. Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) is also present and it hybridises freely with northern rata. Further to the south near Wellington there is a remarkable series of raised beaches where on rocky outcrops a number of normally epiphytic orchids are to be found — Earina autumnalis, E. mucronata, Dendrobium cunninghamii, and Bulbophyllum pygmaeum. Drymoanthus adversus was also recorded early this century, but seems to have disappeared. The ferns Asplenium flaccidum and Pyrrosia serpens are also present.