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


This type of alpine vegetation occupies a zone about 500 m wide above the treeline where soils of adequate depth are present. The term 'herb-field' as applied to northern hemisphere mountains is defined as a complete cover of herbaceous alpine plants, but in New Zealand the
Figure 95 Red tussock grassland on Mt. Taranaki (Egmont).Tussocks with seed heads in foreground.Photo: J. W. Dawson.

Figure 95 Red tussock grassland on Mt. Taranaki (Egmont).
Tussocks with seed heads in foreground.
Photo: J. W. Dawson.

page 172modified term tussock herbfield is preferred. This is because the dominant and conspicuous large tussock grasses belonging to the genus Chionochloa (Figs. 95, 96), although they lack woody tissues, are often as tall as or taller than some of the alpine shrubs.