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Chapter XIII. — The Ferns of Tutira

page 110

Chapter XIII.
The Ferns of Tutira.

The ferns of Tutira deserve special attention—a chapter, albeit a brief one, to themselves. Out of the 135 species enumerated by Cheeseman in his ‘Manual of the New Zealand Flora,’ or 134 if the very doubtful Davallia Forsteri be disallowed, more than one-half grow on Tutira. It is a remarkable record for one station—a record which, I am confident, can never be exceeded. Variations of altitude, large rainfall, range of climatic conditions, dissimilarity of geological formations, and careful search have each in its degree contributed to this result. The main cause, however, has been the wild and rugged nature of the country, its enormous quantity of gorges and ravines, its hundreds of miles of precipice and crag. Species ousted elsewhere maintain themselves in such spots—they afford a last foothold to fugitives; thus, clinging to the base of a low conglomerate cliff, survives a patch of Gleichenia circinata. Twice have fires almost blasted the plant to death; twice has it reappeared. A dripping precipice, otherwise usurped by Polypodium Billardieri, shelters Lindsaya viridis, crannies in a single mass of broken limestone rock high on Heru-o-Tureia afford foothold to Cystopteris fragilis; the concave base of a series of high, dry conglomerate rock-faces safeguards Doodia media; though nibbled and brushed by stock, and though endangered during every flood by land-slips, it survives. The low rims of a tumbled mass of conglomerate boulders offer a last foothold to Adiantum diaphanum. It has climbed by an athletic feat from its own natural habitat—the forest floor. Asplenium Trichomanes survives on a single limestone rock broken from one of the ancient sea-floors of eastern Tutira and deeply set in the turf of the green hillside. Each of the above species has been found but on page 111 one small spot on Tutira. Another fern only to be found on rock is the slender, beautiful annual, Gymnogramme leptophylla. Thrice since 1882 it has been exceedingly plentiful on the conglomerates of central Tutira. On each occasion the plant has shown itself after periods of remarkable drought and heat, germination of its spores seeming only to happen at a temperature above normal. Except under such conditions not a single specimen has been found. It is absent or abundant, very plentiful or undiscoverable, appearing or reappearing at intervals of years. Asplenium flabbelifolium also chiefly abides on the rocks. I have got specimens of many others—burnt up, starved, depauperated—on cliffs. Their names need not, however, be given, as they grow also on sites where they thrive and which they adorn by happy growth. One other fern—Gleichenia Cunninghamii, a forest species normally—has once only been found on Tutira.

I can say of the ferns as of the grasses and orchids of the station, that they have been sought for with special care. Appended are the names of species:—
  • Hymenophyllum rarum.
  • Hymenophyllum polyanthos, var. sanguinolentum.
  • Hymenophyllum pulcherrimum.
  • Hymenophyllum dilatatum.
  • Hymenophyllum demissum.
  • Hymenophyllum scabrum.
  • Hymenophyllum flabellatum.
  • Hymenophyllum Tunbridgense.
  • Trichomanes reniforme
  • Trichomanes humile.
  • Trichomanes venosum.
  • Cyathea dealbata.
  • Cyathea medullaris.
  • Hemitelia Smithii.
  • Alsophila Colensoi.
  • Dicksonia squarrosa.
  • Dicksonia fibrosa.
  • Cystopteris fragilis.
  • Lindsaya viridis.
  • Adiantum affine.
  • Adiantum diaphanum.
  • Adiantum Æthiopicum.
  • Hypolepis tenuifolia.
  • Cheilanthes Sieberi.
  • Cheilanthes tenuifolia.
  • Pellæa rotundifolia.
  • Pteris aquilina, var. esculenta.
  • Pteris scaberula.
  • Pteris tremula.
  • Pteris macilenta.
  • Pteris incisa.
  • Lomaria Patersoni, var. elongata.
  • Lomaria discolor.
  • Lomaria vulcanica.
  • Lomaria lanceolata.
  • Lomaria alpina.
  • Lomaria capensis.
  • Lomaria filiformis.
  • Lomaria fluviatilis.
  • Lomaria membranacea.
  • Doodia media.
  • Asplenium flabbelifolium.
  • Asplenium Trichomanes.
  • Asplenium falcatum.
  • Asplenium lucidum.
  • Asplenium lucidum var. anomodum.
  • Asplenium Hookerianum.
  • Asplenium bulbiferum.
  • Asplenium flaccidum.
  • Aspidium aculeatum.
  • Aspidium Richardi.page 112
  • Aspidium capense.
  • Nephrodium decompositum.
  • Nephrodium glabellum.
  • Nephrodium velutinum.
  • Nephrodium hispidum.
  • Polypodium punctatum.
  • Polypodium pennigerum.
  • Polypodium australe.
  • Polypodium grammitidis.
  • Polypodium serpens.
  • Polypodium Cunninghamii.
  • Polypodium pustulatum.
  • Polypodium Billardieri.
  • Gymnogramme leptophylla.
  • Gleichenia circinata.
  • Gleichenia Cunninghamii.
  • Todea hymenophylloides.
  • Ophioglossum lusitanicum.
  • Botrychium ternatum.