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

Tree Ferns

Tree Ferns.


  • Tote.—C. dealbata. The "silver-tree fern;" growth, 10 to 20 feet; trunk slender and black; fronds lanceolate, 8 to 12 feet long, dark green above, silvery white below. Abundant in the interior; finest specimens seen in forests of the Lake Country.
  • Ponga.—C. medullaris. The "black fern;" trunk very stout, 12 to 40 feet high, and covered with matted fibres; fronds very numerous, from 10 to 15 feet long; deep green above, pale below; abundant throughout the interior.
  • C. Cunninghamii. Trunk, 12 to 15 feet high; fibrous at base; fronds, 20 to 30 in a crown, 6 to 9 feet long; bright green; frequent in the Lake Country.

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.


  • Kakaho.—Arundo Australis. A tall grass or reed, very common around Lake Taupo.
  • Karetu.—Torresia redolens. A sweet-smelling grass.
  • Kopoupou.—Scripus lacustrina. A rush, frequent in the Lake Country.
  • Kurikuri.—A grass with a prickly flower-head, Western Taupo.
  • Mata.—A reed-like grass.
  • Matarauriki.—A tussock grass, Rangipo table-land.
  • Mouka.—A wide-leaved grass.
  • Ngawha.—Native bulrush, frequent in Lake Country.
  • Oioi.—Leptocarpus fasciculus. A common rush.
  • Otaota.—A thin grass.
  • Parakerake.—A fine grass, frequent at Taupo and Rangipo table-land.
  • Pouaka.—A fine grass, emitting, when bruised, a fœtid smell; found at Western Taupo.
  • Pureirei.—A swamp-grass.
  • Raupo.—Typha latifolia. A flag-rush, common everywhere in swamps and banks of rivers; used by natives for building.
  • Tarareke.—A flax-grass.
  • Tarapuarere.—A flowering grass.
  • Toetoekiwi.—A low, rush-like grass, frequent in swamps.
  • Toetoe.—Epicacris pauciflora. A handsome cutting grass, common in swampy places.
  • Tupari.—A broad-leaved grass.
  • Tutaikuri.—A swamp-grass, the native couch.
  • Wi.—A fine grass, frequent around Lake Taupo.
  • Wiwi.—A small swamp-rush.

Mosses, Fungi, and Lichens.

  • Hakekakeka.—A brown, edible fungus.
  • Harori.—A white, edible fungus.
  • Haroritui.—A tree-fungus.
  • Hawai.—A tree-fungus.
  • Karerarera.—A slimy plant.
  • Karengo.—A slimy plant, growing on stones in the water.page 360
  • Koukou.—A tree-moss.
  • Kokirikiri wetu,—A globular fungus.
  • Kopura.—A scented moss, frequent in forests of Whanganui.
  • Maru.—Stag's-horn moss.
  • Pukurau.—Lycopodon fontainesii. A fungus,
  • Tikitiwhenua.—A toad-stool.