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Nikau in Punakaiki
February 21, 2012

Despite the island locale, nikau (Rhopalostylis sapida) is New Zealand's only native palm. This could be due to the varying climates that would make the growth of most tropical palms quite difficult. Before the Oligocene epoch, the fossil record suggests a number of palm species grew here, as temperatures were much warmer. Fossil pollen of Seaforthia, the ancestor of nikau, was found in Eocene coal deposits. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Life in Extreme Environments, West Coast

location: Punakaiki, West Coast, New Zealand

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fancy

Red Beech
February 2, 2012

This red beech (Nothofagus fusca) stands not in the midst of a beech forest but a podocarp-broadleaf forest on a bank several meters above the Hutt River. Unlike many other species of beeches, the red beech has a low tolerance for cold temperatures and poor soils and therefore grows in more fertile soils, such as those found in river valley floors. This isolated beech is slightly odd given the dogma that beeches don't disperse. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand

location: Pakuratahi Forks, Wellington, New Zealand

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fancy

Kidney Fern
February 2, 2012

Seen here is the kidney fern on the beech forest floor in Kaitoke Regional Park. When observing podocarp-broadleaf forests and beech forests, we noted that the ground covering was made up primarily of filmy ferns such as these, particularly in the beech forest. The fact that they are so widespread is unsurprising given their method of dispersal, tiny spores flung from sori (seen here on the edges of the frond) into the wind to spread and grow where they can. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand

location: Pakuratahi Forks, Wellington, New Zealand

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