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The King Country; or, Explorations in New Zealand. A Narrative of 600 Miles of Travel through Maoriland.

Flora of Tongariro and Ruapehu

Flora of Tongariro and Ruapehu.

The flora of Tongariro and the surrounding region partakes of an alpine character, and is both varied and beautiful. Indeed, not only are many of the mountains forming the group clothed with a dense and attractive vegetation, but where the forests spread down to the page 358plains, the trees and shrubs are often so disposed by Nature as to form perfect gardens, which appear to have been artificially planted. During the exploration of both Tongariro and Ruapehu, I had an opportunity of examining the varied growth of trees, shrubs, and plants; and although I was unable, under the circumstances, to make a very extensive botanical collection, I secured some of the choicest specimens of mountain plants, and afterwards obtained their native names from the Maoris.

  • Houhou.—Panax Colensoi is an abundant plant in hilly districts.
  • Huripo.—A tall shrub, common around Tongariro, and remarkable for its fœtid smell.
  • Manao.—Pittosporum fasciculatum is found in both islands.
  • Monao.—Cyathodes acerosa is plentiful throughout the whole country.
  • Papauma.—Griselima littoralis is a plentiful tree, especially in the high interior districts.
  • Patotara.—Leucopogon Colensoi is a common mountain plant found in both islands.
  • Peki Peki.—Clemisia spectabilis is an alpine plant, abundant on the open mountains of the South Island, but is seldom found in the north.
  • Purea.—Cassinia fluvida is a plentiful mountain plant on both islands.
  • Rimu.—Dacrydium laxifolium is abundant on the high mountains. It is the smallest known pine in the world.
  • Taubinu.—Olearia nummularifolia is plentiful on the mountains of the South Island, but is found less frequently in the north.
  • Toatoa.—Phylloctadus Alpinus is a sub-alpine tree, frequently met with in both islands.
  • Towai.—Fagus fusca. This is the largest and by far the most attractive tree growing in the vicinity of the high mountains of this portion of the island. It is somewhat stunted around Tongariro, but attains to colossal size on the western slopes of Mount Ruapehu.
  • Tumigi.—Leucopogon fasciculatus is a shrub having small, thick leaves, with white underneath. It is very plentiful at Tongariro.
  • Tutu.—Coriaria mystifolia is common in mountains and dry places
  • Waewaekohu.—Gleichenia dicarpa is a widely-distributed mountain plant.

The Gnaphalium bellidioides is a mountain plant met with in both islands. This plant was the last sign of vegetable life on Tongariro, where it grew up to an altitude of 6000 feet. I also found it growing on Ruapehu, with the Ligusticum aromaticum, at an -page 359tude of 7000 feet, where both these plants likewise formed the last sign of vegetation. It is worthy of remark that the natives could give no names for these latter species.