Title: Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Author: F. Bruce Sampson

Publication details: Reed Methuen, 1985, Auckland

Digital publication kindly authorised by: F. Bruce Sampson

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

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Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Botanical results of the voyage

Botanical results of the voyage

Overall, according to J. R. Forster, 260 new plants and 200 new animals had been discovered; some 785 different plants had been collected and thousands of herbarium specimens had been made, as several duplicate sets were prepared; 119 different plants were collected in New Zealand. Thomas Cheeseman has stated: "their collections were by no means so large as might have been expected, considering what a productive locality Dusky Sound has proved to be in later years." It had not been a good time of year to find flowers and mature fruits and there would have been little advantage page 42 for the Forsters to collect sterile specimens, in those days particularly, because of the near impossibility of classifying them. Cheeseman, while noting that the only other locality the Forsters visited was Queen Charlotte Sound, already explored by Banks and Solander, commented that "a much longer period was spent in harbour and on shore than during the previous voyage, and the collections ought to have been quite as extensive. Instead of this, they were much smaller." However, as J. R. Forster noted in the preface to Characteres Generum Plant arum (1776):

It must be remembered that we landed in New Zealand in the late autumn of the year 1773 and stayed there throughout the winter and a second time in early spring at a very cold time when there were few species flowering. A third time in early spring we made a very short stay there.

No one could accuse them of laziness, and, as J. R. Forster's Journal records, they often had to work when in ill health. Johann noted that sometimes they worked all night before the specimens perished and that he kept awake by plunging himself to the waist in a barrel of sea water!