The Cultivation of New Zealand Plants
Chapter VII. — Herbs, Semi-Woody Plants and Grasses — Suitable for Cultivation
Herbs, Semi-Woody Plants and Grasses
Suitable for Cultivation.
The following, unless stated otherwise, are perennials:—
Photo. W. D. Reid
Fig. 17. Rough, stony, dry bank in the Wellington Botanic Garden planted with veronicas; in right-hand corner is a hybrid of Veronica speciosa, in centre V. cupressoides, and the dark bushes on left are V. buxifolia
Photo. L. Cockayne
Fig. 18. Veronicas planted on sand-hill in the former garden of the author, New Brighton, Canterbury: on right is Veronica glaucophylla showing the ball-like habit.
Aciphylla (vh.)—Plants of uncommon aspect with usually stiff, sharp leaves in erect rosettes. Hab., many purely subalpine or alpine, rarely confined to lowlands. Cult., the large species in border the small in alpine-garden in more or less shade. Prop., young plants, seed. A. Colensoi (Spaniard) is Agave-like; lvs. very rigid, 12 to 24 in. long, bayonet-like, glaucous; inflorescence massive, 4 ft. or more high, yellowish, S., dioec. A. conspicua, with an orange midrib, is handsomer. A. maxima is a noble plant with inflorescence 10 ft. high, or more (see fig. 8). A. squarrosa (speargrass) has narrower lvs. than any of the above. A. Monroi, with foliage like a miniature palm, and its allies A. similis, A. Spedeni, and A. multisecta, rock-plants, are excellent for alpine-garden. A. pinnatifida, with stolons, and spreading rosettes of narrow, much-cut lvs. with yellowish midribs, forming wide patches, is specially good. Hab., subalpine bogs. Cult., alpine-garden, shade.
Angelica montana (aniseed, vh.) has large aromatic glaucous pinnate lvs. Hab., sea-level to 4,000 ft. Cult., easy. Prop., young plants, seed.
Anisotome antipoda and A. latifolia (vh.), noble plants, have very large, stiff, thick, dark-green, pinnate lvs., and umbels in an immense, showy, purple head, raised high; the first has narrow leaf-segments. Hab., wet sunless climate, Subantarctic Islands. Cult., shade, deep, rich soil. Prop., young plants, seed. A. intermedia (vh.) is somewhat similar, but much smaller, fls. white, S. Hab., rocks, shore, south of S. Island. Cult., easy, good soil. Prop., young plants, seed. A. Haastii and A. capillifolia (vh.), 12 to 24 page 76in., are erect, fern-like. Hab., mountains to 5,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, shade. Prop., young plants, seed. A. brevistylis (vh.) is similar. A. pilifera (vh.) has broader leaf-segments than A. Haastii, Hab., etc, similar.
Arthropodium cirratum (rock-lily, rengarenga, h.) has thick, broad, pale-green lvs., 2 ft. long; fls. white, showy, Sp. Hab., coastal rocks. Cult., border, dry ground. Prop., young plants, seed. A. candidum (vh.) is small, grass-like; fls. pretty, S. Hab., to 3,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Arundo conspicua (toetoe, vh.) is like pampas-grass, but more slender and graceful; fls. straw-coloured, S. Cult., bank of streams and ponds. Prop., pieces of old plant.
Astelia nervosa (vh.), tussock-like, has long, flat, green lvs. and panicles of orange berries. Hab., forest Cult., border, slight shade. Prop., young plants, seed. A. Cockaynei (vh.) is similar, but smaller and lvs. spreading, banded purple on margin. Hab., sea-level to 5,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden.
Brachycome Sinclairii and B. pinnata (vh.) are pretty, little, daisy-like, creeping herbs. Hab., tussock-grassland, to 4,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Carex secta (niggerhead, vh.) has a stout trunk, 2 to 3 ft. high, on which is a great bunch of drooping grassy leaves. Hab., shallow swamp. Cult., margin of ponds, streams, etc. Prop., procure good-sized specimens with trunks, seed, rooted piece of grassy part. Cladium Sinclairii (hh.) is a very handsome tussocky plant with broad, flat, grass-like, green lvs. up to 4 ft. long, and a large showy panicle of reddish-page 77brown fls. The species of Gahnia are effective foliage-plants for a large border.
Celmisia (vh.)—Of the highest excellence; daisylike, of many forms, all suitable for alpine-garden (see fig. 5); except otherwise stated high-mountain species, some reaching 7,000 ft. Prop., young plants, pieces of old plants, seed (often not fertile). There are at least 55 species and a number of distinct, beautiful wild hybrids.
Group 1.—Lvs. large, in erect rosettes; flower-heads very large, or medium-sized, raised high above the foliage.
(a) Lvs. lanceolate to broadly lanceolate; heads very large. Hab., rather deep soil in herb-field, also fairly stony ground. Cult., deep soil, sufficient sun.
C. coriacea has lvs. up to 2 ft. long, above covered with a silvery pellicle and beneath silvery-tomentose; heads up to 4 in. diam. C. Monroi, rock-plant, is much smaller; lvs. narrow; descends to sea-level. C. Mackaui has no tomentum, and heads 2 in. diam. C. Hookeri, splendid, grows readily, has soft lvs., sage-green above, white-tomentose beneath; heads 3 in. diam. with long narrow rays. C. verbascifolia is similar but smaller and with smaller heads. There are wild hybrids between the last two, C. coriacea and C. petiolata; also various garden hybrids.
(b) Lvs. more or less oblong, soft, green above; heads rather smaller. Cult., slightly more shade. Distinct and excellent.
C. petiolata has heads up to 2½ in. diam.; leaf-stalk purplish. Hab., wet ground. C. rigida has darker green, thicker, glossy lvs. Cult., almost the easiest species to grow. Hab., sea-cliffs. Stewart Island. C. mollis is a cross between C. petio-page 78lata and C. spectabilis. C. Rutlandii has the tomentum satiny. C. Traversii has lvs. beneath, and on margins, rusty-tomentose; C. Morrisonii is a very handsome hybrid between this and C. coriacea, and C. Christensenii is another cross with C. spectabilis. C. cordatifolia has darker tomentum than C. Traversii and a heart-shaped leaf-base.
(c) Lvs. narrow, pungent or acute, stiff; heads smaller. Cult., much as for (a). Hab., as for (a) but C. Lyallii in tussock-grassland and stony ground.
C. Armstrongii, very striking, has dagger-like lvs., white satiny tomentose beneath, and a broad yellow midrib above. C. lanceolata is equally fine, but lvs. are broader. C. Petriei has also dagger-like lvs., but shining-green above, and ridged each side of midrib and margins recurved. C. Lyallii is less pleasing; lvs very narrow, very stiff, grooved beneath and thinly-tomentose at most; C. pseudo-Lyallii is a cross between this and C. spectabilis; also it crosses with C. coriacea, and such is rather like C. Petriei.
Group 2.—Herbs, or semi-woody plants forming broad circular mats, or open cushions, of shorter rosettes than in group 1. Cult., alpine-garden in slight shade. Prop., small rooted pieces, seed.
- (a) Lvs. up to 6 in., or more long, green above, semi-erect.—C. Dallii, a striking species; lvs. buff-tomentose beneath; heads 2½ in. diam. Hab., 3,000 to 5,000 ft, N.W. Nelson. C. holosericea is larger, lvs. white-tomentose beneath. Cult., best in a moist climate. C. spectabilis has lvs. linear-oblong, thickly buff or white-tomentose beneath; heads 1½ in. diam. (See fig. 7).
(b) Mats denser; lvs. rather shorter.
C. Haastii has lvs. oblong, 2 to 3 in. long, dull-green, thinly white-tomentose beneath. Hab., page 79hollows where snow lies long. C. hieracifolia is a striking plant with broad lvs. up to 5 in. long, buff-tomentose beneath, and abundant heads, 1½ in. diam. C. Lindsayi is one of the easiest to cultivate; forms very large mats; lvs. up to 8 in. long; heads 2 in. diam. Hab., seaeliffs, S.E. Otago. C. prorepens is without tomentum; lvs. linear-oblong, longitudinally wrinkled, rather thin, toothed, darkish-green, up to 3 in. long; there is more than one var. C. densiflora has longer, narrower, not wrinkled lvs., white-tomentose beneath. C. viscosa, very distinct, has linear, leathery lvs. up to 5 in. long, longitudinally grooved, dark-green above, white-tomentose beneath. Hab., found only where snow lies long.
(c) Rosettes small, open; flower-stems slender; heads rarely much more than 1 in. diam.
C. discolor has lvs. oblong-spathulate, up to 2 in. long, white-tomentose beneath. C. angustifolia is similar but lvs. narrower. C. Sinclairii can hardly be distinguished from C. discolor. C. incana is more or less covered with white wool on both sides of the leaf; there are many vars.; when pure white the mats are wonderful. C. intermedia is a hoary, not woolly C. incana. C. Walkeri forms very large, far-extending mats; it is almost a shrub; lvs. linear, the blade about 1 in. Long. C. rupestris is smaller; lvs. narrower. C. Gibbsii is smaller still; lvs. ½ in. to ¾ in. long, linear-lanceolate, covered beneath with scurfy scales. C. glandulosa, a bog-plant, has small obovate, acute, toothed lvs., 1 to 1½ in. long, green both surfaces; heads small; there are 3 vars. C. glabrescens is somewhat similar, but considerably larger. C. vernicosa is one of the gems of the New Zealand flora; lvs. page 80linear, about 2 in. long, dark-green, glossy like polished greenstone; heads 1 to 1½ in. diam., numerous, held well above the foliage, bright-purple in the centre, and rays white, or all may be purple, S. Hab., peat, sodden with water, very little sunshine, almost daily rain, temperature low all the year round, but rarely more than one or two degrees of frost; Lord Auckland and Campbell Islands. Cult., well-drained soil in shade, alpine-garden. C. campbellensis is similar but lvs. lanceolate. Hab., as for C. vernicosa.
Group 3.—Dense cushion-plants.
C. argentea makes silvery cushions of densely-compacted small rosettes. Head sunk amongst the lvs. Hab., wet peat in exposed position to 6,000 ft. C. sessiliflora is similar but larger in all its parts. Cult., for both, well-drained shady part of alpine-garden. Prop., small rooted pieces. Seed difficult to collect. C. linearis has much longer, narrow-linear lvs.; there are two vars. Cult., as for the last. C. bellidioides forms glossy green cushions on wet rocks in shade. Cult., not difficult in well-drained soil, in slight shade. C. Thomsoni is smaller and dull-green. C. dubia has small oblong lvs., white-tomentose beneath. Prop., seed, young plants; there are always seedlings in abundance. C. Hectori is a charming plant with small, silvery, linear-spathulate lvs.; very floriferous; heads 1 in. diameter. Cult., not easy, except where abundant rain, ascends to 7,000 ft. C. laricifolia, has tiny needle-like, silvery lvs. Hab., stony ground at a high altitude. Cult., not particularly difficult, slight shade. C. Macmahoni is charming, with the small lvs. densely covered with long silky buff hairs. Hab., summit of Mt. Stokes, Marlborough, 3,800 ft., probably difficult to establish. C. parva is quite small; lvs. linear-page 81lanceolate to oblong, ⅓ to 1 in. long, white-tomentose beneath.
In addition to the species dealt with before there is the narrow-leaved, small-flowered, tufted C. gracilenta and its allies; it gives rise to various wild hybrids with C. coriacea, and the larger flowered of these are good aline-garden plants. A form of bogs (C. alpina) has the spreading leaves mottled brown and white.
Chrysobactron Rossii (vh.) gorgeous, growing in a mass, has hyacinth-like lvs., and dense racemes 4 in. long by 2 in. diam. of orange-coloured dioec fls. (male the most showy). Hab., as for Celmisia vernicosa. Cult., similar. Prop., seed, rooted pieces. C. Hookeri (vh.), yellow, is not nearly so showy, but will grow under dry conditions C. Gibbsii, dioec., is much smaller.
Claytonia australasica (vh.) has far-spreading underground stems, fls. Sp., rather pretty, close to ground, white. Hab., sea-level to 6,000 ft., where it can get water at growing season. Cult., alpine-garden, moist part. Prop., pieces of plant, seed.
Colensoa physaloides, (hh.), 3 ft. high, rather straggly; lvs. very large, thin; fls. 2 in. long, pale-blue, beautiful. Hab., shady forest where moist, to lat. 36°. Cult., shade, rich soil. Prop., rooted pieces, cuttings, seed.
Coriaria angustissima has beautiful feathery lvs., fts. black, abundant. Hab., mountain river-bed. Cult., good, deep soil. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. C. lurida, of many forms, has broader leaves.
Cotula (vh.).—There are a number of species worth growing as mat-plants; lvs. much-cut, small; flower-heads small, dense, yellow, no rays. C. potentillina, C. pulchella, C. squalida and C. Traillii make page 82pretty green mats. Cult., almost anywhere. Prop., small pieces, seed. C. plumosa, coastal, Subantarctic Islands, is erect, 6 in. or more high, graceful, feathery. C. lanata, a companion-plant, is somewhat similar. Cult. (both), see Celmisia vernicosa, but easier. C. pyrethrifolia grows in subalpine belt of S. Island, on large stony débris, forming circular green patches from which arise numerous, stalked, cream-coloured fls. Sp., S. ¾ in. diam. Cult., alpine-garden, slight shade. Prop., rooted pieces (easy to establish), seed.
Danthonia Cunninghamii (vh.) is a very ornamental tussock-grass, up to 5 ft. high, with abundant, graceful, open panicles. Hab., to 3,500 ft., in rather stony ground. Cult., border, good soil, sun. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Dianella intermedia (turutu, h.) has flat, grass-like lvs. and tall panicles of blue berries. Hab., lowland forest. Cult., border, good or medium soil. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Drapetes Dieffenbachii (vh.) forms small, dense, green mats; fls. white, numerous, on surface of mat, S. Hab., stony ground, 1,000 to 4,500 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, fairly easy. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. D. Lyallii and D. villosa are similar, but from higher altitude, and more difficult.
Enargea parviflora (vh.) is a pretty liliaceous, slender, creeping plant, a few inches high, with solitary white fls., ¾ in. diam., and large white berries. Hab., forest, to 4,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, shade, Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Photo. W. D. Reid
Fig. 19. Low, dense cushions of Raoulia lutescens growing on the dry soil of the Dunstan Mountains, Central Otago, with an annual rainfall of about 14 ins.
Photo. G. L. Adkin
Fig. 20. Olearia lacunosa in bloom, growing just above the forest-line on the Tararua Mountains, Wellington
Euphrasia (vh.)—There are about 10 species, several of which are charming, but whether they can be permanently established is not certain. The attempt can be made by taking up the plant with a sod of earth, and putting the latter with its contained plant into a shady part of the alpine-garden. The gems are:—E. cuneata, E. Monroi, E. tricolor; also the allied lovely Siphonidium longiflorum.
Forstera sedifolia, var. oculata (vh.) has white fls., ¾ in. diam., with a dark eye; plant 6 in. high, hardly branched; lvs. very small overlapping. Hab., fairly moist ground to 5,000 ft. Cult., a gem for alpine-garden in shade, but a large clump required. Prop., collected plants, seed; there are the type and two other species, all are pretty.
Gentiana (vh.)—There are about 20 species, all most difficult to grow. G. corymbifera, 2 ft. high, is very fine with many-flowered umbels of white fls., ¾ in. diam., late S., raised high above the small leaf-rosette. Nearly all the other species are beautiful (see fig. 6). The subantarctic G. cerina, with fls. of many shades, ranging from white to crimson and fleshy, varnished lvs. is easily the queen. G. divisa var. magnifica forms globose masses so densely covered with white fls., 1 in. diam., as to justify Cheeseman's comparison with snowballs. Cult. (for all), possibly raise from seed, and when seedlings are of a fair size, put them soil and all into a moist shady part of the alpine-garden. Most likely pot-culture in a cool house would be best.page 84
Geranium Traversii var. elegans (vh.) forms spreading, open mats of somewhat silvery, deeply-lobed, circular lvs.; fls. pink, 1 in. diam.; the type has smaller white fls. Hab., sea-cliffs, Chathams. Cult., sunny part of border. Prop., small pieces, seed.
Geum divergens (vh.) has fls. white, over 1 in. diam. on short, 1 to 5-flowered stalks from small small rosettes of lvs. Hab., rocks, 4,000 to 5,000 ft. Prop., collected plants, seed. G. uniflorum (vh.) is similar, but forms wide patches and there is only one flower on each stalk; a beautiful species. Cult., both require moist position in alpine-garden. G. parviflorum (vh.), easy to grow, has much smaller fls.; early S.
Gnaphalium keriense, G. Lyallii, and G. trinerve (vh.), naturally trailing, rooting plants of moist, shady banks, are pretty floriferous everlastings, differing chiefly in length and breadth of leaf, which may be used to drape shady part of alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. G. Mackayi (vh.) makes pleasing, small, circular patches of small white lvs. G. Traversii (vh.) has larger lvs. and more open patches; will grow in drier ground. Cult., both in alpine-garden. Prop., small pieces, seed. G. subrigidum (h.), related to G. keriense, has very narrow lvs., white beneath. Cult., rather drier ground than its allies.
Gunnera (vh.).—There are 10 species, all small herbs. G. dentata, of wet ground, has short spikes of red drupes resembling a grape-hyacinth. G. Hamiltonii makes patches of flat rosettes, 4 in. diam. G. albocarpa and its allies are excellent carpet-plants for the moist, shady alpine garden. Prop., all gunneras from small pieces, rosettes, seed.
Haastia recurva and H. Sinclairii (vh.), extremely difficult, are trailing and rooting plants, naturally of page 85stony débris in alpine belt, with short, broad, greyish, woolly lvs. and curious rather large, rayless, pale flower-heads (see fig. 10). Cult., moist stony part of alpine-garden in shade. H. pulvinaris (vegetable-sheep) is perhaps impossible in the open and so, too, Raoulia eximia (vegetable-sheep), and its allies, but the author has seen the former growing in a pot in a fairly warm glass-house. Certainly large pieces of either vegetable-sheep will live for a considerable time on their own dead parts, but they eventually die, though there is little difference in appearance between a dead and a living plant!
Helichrysum bellidioides (false edelweiss, vh.) has various distinct forms differing in silveryness of lvs.; it forms beautiful close mats from which rise abundantly slender, cottony stalks bearing the pretty flower-heads. H. prostratum (vh.) is similar, but lvs. broader and flower-stalks much shorter, or wanting. Cult., very easy, ordinary border in sunny spot. Prop., small pieces, seed; various forms may be selected from wild plants. H. Sinclairii (vh.), a beautiful everlasting, makes a dense, white-woolly bush, 2 ft. high, and as much through; fls. in close masses, S. Hab., shady rocks, 3,000 to 4,000 ft., E. Marlborough. Cult., alpine-garden, sun. Prop., small pieces, cuttings, seed. H. Fowerakeri (vh.) is a cross between the last and H. bellidioides.
Herpolirion novae-zelandiae (vh.) is a pretty, grass-like carpet-plant bespangled with short-stalked, starry, blue fls., S. Hab., bogs to 3,500 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, shade. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Hibiscus diversifolius (hh.), 3 to 6 ft., has racemes of large, pale-yellow fls. with dark centre. Hab., coastal, to lat. 36°. Cult., warm part of border. Prop., young plants, seed. H. trionum (hh.), annual page 86or biennial, has somewhat similar fls. Cult., etc., the same.
Jovellana (Calceolaria) repens (vh.), extremely pretty, low-growing, creeping, has oblong to orbicular, thin, coarsely-toothed lvs., 1 in. long; fls. ¼ in. diam., white, spotted purple. Hab., stony banks in drip of water, E. Cape to S. Westland. Cult., alpine-garden, good soil, shade. Prop., rooted stem, seed. J. Sinclairii (h.), erect, 18 in. or more; lvs. ovate, with blade 2 in. long, coarsely toothed, has fls. much like the last. Hab., drip of water, E. Cape district, in shade. Cult., not difficult, even in dry position where climate fairly wet. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Leucogenes grandiceps (South Island edelweiss, vh.) is a most beautiful, glistening, silvery everlasting growing on subalpine and alpine rocks and stones, with large white bracts to the flower-heads. Cult., alpine-garden in more or less shade, rarely flowers in cultivation after the first season. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. L. Leontopodium (North Island edelweiss, vh.) is even more beautiful, with larger bracts. Cult., etc., as for the other species.
Libertia grandiflora (vh.), 2 to 3 ft., is Iris-like; lvs. flat, stiff, 24 in. long, linear; fls. white, 1 in. diam. L. ixioides (vh.) is smaller, otherwise similar; there are several vars., one with far-creeping stolons is apt to be troublesome. Cult., for all, sunny border. Prop., small pieces, seed. L. pulchella (vh.), about 3 in. high, has grass-like lvs. and clusters of small white fls., Sp., S., followed by large, snow-white berries. Hab., mountain forests, sea-level in south. Cult., shade, alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.
Linum monogynum (h.) is a beautiful semi-woody, erect, branching plant, up to 2 ft. high, with white page 87fls., 1 in. diam. in corymbs, Sp. Hab., usually coastal (dunes, rocks, etc.), but ascends to 3,000 ft. Cult., any soil in sunny border. Prop., small rooted pieces, seed; the var. chathamicum has petals flaked, or striped pale blue.
Lobelia linnaeoides (vh.) makes small, open patches; lvs., tiny, purplish, orbicular; fls. solitary on slender stems, 2 in. long, white flushed pink, very pretty. Hab., rather moist banks, 3,000 to 5,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, slight shade, keep away aggressive plants. Prop., small rooted pieces, seed.
Mazus radicans (vh.) is most excellent; forms large patches of obovate lvs., 1 to 2 in. long, brownish, spotted dark-purple; fls. in profusion, on short, 1 to 3-flowered stalks, purple blotch on lower lip, throat yellow, elsewhere white. Hab., wet ground of old river-bed, banks of streams, to 3,500 ft. Cult., rather moist place, alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. M. pumilio (h.), smaller in every way, is nevertheless worth growing. Cult., border or alpine-garden. Mimulus repens (h.), of shallow water in salt-meadows, is pretty with its fls. bright-lilac with orange throat, Sp. Cult., alpine-garden, slight shade.
Mesembryanthemum australe (horokaka, ice-plant, h.) has pink, or white (in one var.), fls., 1 in. or more diam. Hab., coastal rocks. Cult., sandy, warm soil, not particularly easy to grow.
Myosotidium hortensia (Chatham Island lily, h.), better known as M. nobile, is wonderful when growing well (see fig. 12), with its huge rosettes of rather rhubarb-like, shining, bright-green, fleshy, ribbed, reniform, or cordate lvs., over 12 in. long, and great bunches of fls., held well above the foliage, each flower 1 in. diam., blue in the centre, more or less white on the margin. Hab., sandy shore, rocky ground in peat page 88near sea, Chathams. Cult., good loamy soil in border, slight shade; where there is sandy soil near the coast, it can be grown to perfection, but it succeeds well far inland. Prop., seed, young plants; there is a white-flowered var. in cultivation.
Myosotis (forget-me-not, vh.)—There are about 30 species in New Zealand. Except M. pygmaea, all are most desirable alpine-garden plants with dainty fls.—yellow, blue, bronze, white and white with yellow eye. Unfortunately, some are difficult to maintain in cultivation, and others still more difficult to procure, since apart from many being plants of a high altitude, they are to be met with only occasionally, and then usually only one or two plants together. Here only the more easy to cultivate are dealt with, together with two or three which every ardent alpine-gardener must desire. Cult., usually close up to, and sheltered by, a large stone; when established on no account to be disturbed; must have water where climate is dry. Prop., collected plants, seed. M. australis, short-lived, has habit and appearance of a European species but fls. yellow. M. decora is a beautiful, mat-forming species with hoary lvs. in rosettes; fls. large, white, solitary on short stems. Hab., limestone screes. M. capitata grows alongside Celmisia vernicosa and Veronica Benthami in the Subantarctic Islands, and is undoubtedly one of the most lovely plants in the flora with its fls. ¼ in. diam., of a brilliant dark-blue, crowded into a dense head, and raised well above the green leaf-rosette; the similar M. albida, fls. milk white, of coastal rocks, Southland and Stewart Island, grows well in Wellington in deep loam, shaded by a piece of rock, on a shady bank. M. explanata is 1 ft. or more; fls. pure white, beautiful, ⅔ in. diam. Hab., wet rocks, or shady gorges, 3,000 ft. to 5,000 ft. M. macrantha, page 891 ft. or more, has long, hairy lvs. and large, fragrant bronze fis.; var. pulchra is even finer. M. concinna, similar, has bright, pale-yellow fls. M. saxatile, growing among dry rocks, Marlborough, 3,000 to 5,000 ft., is compact with hoary lvs. in rosettes and showy, white fls. crowded together. M. saxosa, beautiful; culture easy, even under dry conditions, has abundant white fls. Other species the enthusiastic alpine-gardener will wish to possess are:—M. angustata, M. laeta, M. Lyallii, M. Monroi, M. Traversii, M. Cockayniana, the cushion plants M. uniflora (see fig. 22) and M. pulvinaris and the small prostrate blue Campbell Island M. antarctica.
Nertera Balfouriana (vh.) growing in montane bogs and wet coastal peat, is a carpet-plant to be noticed only when covered completely by its pretty orange-coloured pear-shaped drupes. Cult., alpine-garden, shade. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. N. depressa (vh.) has globose, small red drupes in profusion. Cult., etc., similar. N. Cunninghamii (h.) is almost identical.
Orchidaceae—The New Zealand ground-orchids are usually not easy to retain in cultivation, and, unless grown in large patches, are generally of little account. They must have a place in the alpine-garden where they can be undisturbed, and should be collected either when in flower, or the plants marked and dug up when dormant. Those most likely to succeed belong to the following genera:—Caladenia, Chiloglottis, Lyperanthus, Prasophtyllum, Thelymitra; T. pulchella and T. uniflora (vh.) have pretty purplish-blue fls.
Ourisia (vh.) is one of the most beautiful genera of the flora, and especially valuable for alpine-gardens in Great Britain and Ireland. Most of the species are page 90fairly easy to establish. All extend into colonies, large or small, by means of branching rhizomes. O. macrophylla, O. Crosbyi, and O. modesta alone descend to nearly sea-level. Cult., alpine-garden, more or less shade, must not be allowed to get too dry. Prop., rooted pieces, seed (germinates well).
O. caespitosa is indeed a gem (see fig. 14), forming carpets of shining, bright green lvs. and with sheets of fls., ⅔ in. diam., white, with yellow throat, on slender stalks, 1 to 3 in. long. O. modesta, of Stewart Island, is a tiny O. caespitosa, O. glandulosa has white fls., up to ¾ in. diam. Hab., peaty soil, to 6,000 ft, O. prorepens is similar. O. macrocarpa var. calycina is one of the specially high-class plants of the flora; fls. in 4 to 8 superposed whorls on stout stems, 12 to 20 in. high, 1 in. diam., white; lvs. dark-green, ovate-oblong, with blade up to 5 in. long; var. cordata has broader, more or less cordate lvs. Hab., Cult., etc., as for Ranunculus Lyallii, of which it is a companion. O. Cockayniana resembles a stunted O. macrocarpa. O. macrophylla is more hairy than O. macrocarpa, and fls. slightly smaller, but it is the same style of plant; excellent, and readily grown. O. Colensoi is similar, but much smaller, so, too, O, Crosbyi, but it is more slender and lvs. thinner. O. sessiliflora, distinct from all others, has lvs. ovate-spathulate, 1 to 2 in. long, pale-green, densely-hairy, in shapely rosettes; fls. 2 to 8, ¾ in. diam., purple within, white on margin, on stems up to 6 in. high; var. splendens (name not yet published) is even prettier, being larger in all parts and more hairy. Hab., moist, stony ground to 7,000 ft.
Oxalis lactea (vh.) is a low creeping herb; fls. delicate, white, ½ in. diam. Hab., moist ground, to page 914,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, shade. Prop., rooted pieces, seed (usually known as O. magellanica).
Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax, h.) needs no description; will grow in all soils and situations; beautiful by water (see fig. 15); makes an excellent breakwind. There are dozens of varieties—variegated, purple-leaved, drooping-leaved, etc. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. P. Colensoi (vh.) is smaller; lvs. thinner; fls. yellow, not lurid-red; pods twisted, point downwards, long; there is a variegated and other vars. Better for small gardens than P. tenax.
Phyllachne (vh.)—The species are small, dense, green cushion-plants of bogs, and wet ground, in the high mountains; completely covered, S., with multitudes of small white fls. Cult., unsatisfactory, will live for a considerable time on their dead, wet, peaty portion, but by degrees die; all the species are similar, e.g., P. clavigera, P. Colensoi, P. rubra. Donatia novae-zelandiae (vh.) and Dracophyllum muscoides (vh.) are similar in appearance and behaviour.
Plantago Hamiltonii (vh.) is worth growing on account of its beautiful, starry, glossy-green rosettes of lanceolate, toothed lvs. with flat, brown stalks. Hab., wet peat, coastal. Cult., alpine-garden, slight shade. Prop., collected rosettes, seed.
Pleurophyllum speciosum (vh.) is a glorious, gigantic, single aster; fls. 2 in. diam., S., dark-purple in centre and rays pale-purple, in about 15-flowered racemes on massive flower-stalk, raised 3 ft. and more, above the great, goblet-like rosette of corrugated lvs., each 2 ft. long by 1 ft. broad, looking like pale-green velvet. Cult., as for Celmisia vernicosa, hut more difficult. P. criniferum (vh.) is larger still, the lvs. thinner, more erect, the flower-stem taller, but the purplish-brown fls. not particularly showy. page 92P. Hookeri (vh.) is much smaller than either, but beautiful through its silvery, flattish rosettes of smaller lvs.
Pratia angulata (vh.) is a pretty creeping mat-plant with white lobelia-like fls. and purplish-red berries. P. arenaria (vh.), of the Chathams, is rather larger. P. macrodon (vh.), of the high-mountains, has fls. tinged yellow and long corolla-tube. Cult., of all, easy, alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. Isotoma fluviatilis (vh.) resembles P. angulata but has pale-blue fls. and capsules not berries.
Ranunculus (buttercup, vh.)—The large-flowered species are a most attractive feature of the flora above the forest-line. Most are difficult to maintain in a condition able to flower properly after the year of their introduction. In the wettest part of the South Island they do best. To obtain the full effect of their beauty they need massing together. Cult., perfect drainage, sufficient moisture, and an open soil are essential; the amount of shade depends upon the locality. Prop., dormant rhizomes, small plants, seed (slow).
R. insignis has golden fls., 2 in. diam. in 10 to 40-flowered panicles, up to 3 ft. high; lvs. large, cordate, covered with brown hairs. Cult., not particularly difficult. R. lobulatus is tall; lvs. more or less rotund; fls. numerous, considerably smaller than in R. insignis. Cult., easy, comes up in alpine-garden from self-sown seeds, even in dry localities. Hab., dry mountains, Marlborough, to sea-level. R. Monroi, very like the last, has larger fls. and fewer together; not quite so easily cultivated; there are several vars. R. Lyallii (mountain-lily) has far-extending, partly-buried, massive, broad, rhizome; fls. 2 to 3 in. diam., page 93white, sometimes semi-double, on stalks 2 to 3 ft. high, arranged in open 10 to 60-flowered panicles, Sp.; lvs. smooth, bright-green, peltate, 12 in. diam., on stalks 6 to 12 ft. long. Hab., loamy or peaty soil, not wet, overlying stony ground, either in full sun, or shelter of shrubs, 3,000 to 4,500 ft., in vast colonies. Cult., dormant rhizomes, collected late autumn to early spring bloom freely the first season. Such might be sent frozen to Great Britain and they would bloom soon after their arrival. In a place it likes, R. Lyallii will bloom occasionally, and even freely, some seasons. R. Godleyanus, rather like R. Lyallii but fls. yellow and lvs. oblong. R. nivicola, of Mt. Egmont and the Volcanic Plateau, is also yellow-flowered. R. Buchanani, of stony ground, 4,000 to 6,000 ft., S.W. Otago, has white fls., 1 to 3 on a stalk, 2 in. diam., or more, and much-cut, reniform, glaucous lvs., 4 in. or more across; it almost equals R. Lyallii in beauty. R. Matthewsii, of various forms, is a series of hybrids between the two. R. sericophyllus grows at a high altitude amongst large stony débris; lvs. very finely-cut, silky; fls. 1½ in. diam., golden, solitary. R. Baughani is similar; there is another allied but unnamed species with pale-yellow fls. Some of the smaller buttercups are worth cultivating, especially: R. Enysii, R. geraniifolius, R. novae-zelandiae, R. pachyrrhizus and R. pinguis.
Raoulia (vh.) consists of 2 classes—the shrubby (already dealt with), and the mat-forming. The latter are of high merit for the alpine-garden, and even the border, both for their intrinsic beauty of form and colour, and for the splendid carpets made by some (see fig. 16); the fls. are abundant and fragrant. Cult., most in sunny position. Prop., rooted pieces, seed.page 94
R. australis forms circular, silvery mats on stony river-beds; fls. yellow. R. lutescens is much denser and somewhat resembles a vegetable-sheep (see fig. 19); fls. bright yellow, in profusion. R. Haastii, less easy to cultivate, grows on river-beds in wet districts, forming large, green cushions, warm-brown in winter. R. Hectori, of stony alpine situations, is dense and silvery; not easy to grow. R. Parkii resembles R. australis but the heads have white, petal-like bracts. R. grandiflora, also with showy bracts, recalls Celmisia argentea. Cult., alpine-garden. R. subsericea makes beautiful, dense, green and white carpets; bracts petal-like, white. R. glabra is similar, but greener and looser (see fig. 16). R. subulata, an alpine species, makes close, green mats. R. tenuicaulis, of stony river-beds, forms beautiful, quick-growing silvery mats; fls. cream, fragrant.
Senecio saxifragoides (vh.) is handsome, with large rosettes of broad-oblong, thick lvs., white-tomentose beneath, and branched flower-stalks with 4 to 8 large, yellow heads. Hab., shady rocks, Port Hills, Canterbury. Cult., alpine-garden, shade. Prop., young plants, seed. S. lagopus (vh.) is virtually identical. S. bellidioides (vh.) is a small edition of the last. S. southlandicus (vh.) has rather large thin lvs., reddish beneath and several fls. on a stem. S. Haastii (vh.) is similar, but white-tomentose on both sides of the leaf. S. scorzoneroides (vh.) is a wonderfully beautiful herb with broad, soft, grassy lvs. and flower-heads 2½ in. diam., with long pure white, cream or yellow rays, according to the var. present. Hab., wet ground, but occasionally on rocks, 3,000 to 5,000 ft. Cult., as for Ranunculus Lyallii, but more difficult. Prop., young plants, rooted pieces, seed. S. Lyallii (vh.) yellow, has much smaller fls.page 95
Solanum aviculare (poroporo, h.), 8 ft. high, or more, is almost a shrub; lvs. lanceolate, entire or cut, up to 12 in. long; fls. like those of a potato, purple; berry 1 in. long, yellowish. Hab., lowland forest. Cult., shrubbery. Prop., cuttings, young plants, seed.
Sonchus grandifolius (vh.) is a handsome foliage-plant with very large, pale-green, much-cut, thick lvs., 2 ft. long, glaucous beneath and large flower-heads, purple on the margin, pale-yellow in the centre, S.; dies to the ground in late autumn; increases very rapidly by means of its thick, creeping rhizome. Hab., in sand on flat rocks, coastal, Chathams. Cult., rather light soil, must be kept in check. Prop., pieces of rhizome, seed.
Stilbocarpus Lyallii, S. polaris, S. robusta (vh.) are handsome foliage-plants, with large bright-green, orbicular-reniform lvs., raised high on stout stalks, 2 ft. long; the first spreads by means of arched runners, forming great colonies many square yds in extent; the others have massive rhizomes. Hab., S. Lyallii in peaty ground, coast, Stewart Island; the others in the Subantarctic Islands. Cult., as for other plants of the above islands. Prop., collected plants, seed.
Viola Cunninghamii (vh.) is a pretty little white violet of tufted habit growing both in wet and dry situations. Cult., alpine-garden, anywhere. V. filicaulis (vh.) has creeping stems, fls. striped lilac; grows in shady spots. Cult., alpine-garden in moist shady place.
Wahlenbergia albomarginata (vh.) is a pretty little white or blue bell-flower with short lvs. in rosettes and fls. on slender stalks. Hab., many different situations, to 6,000 ft. Cult., alpine-garden, sun or shade. Prop., rooted pieces, seed. W. congesta page 96(vh.), of stony shore or dune hollows, forms dense patches; fls. on short stalks. W. Matthewsii (vh.) is beautiful; about 10 in. high; lvs. close-set, linear, 1½ in. long; fls. large, pale-lilac. Hab., rock-faces, E. Marlborough. Cult., rather stony ground, alpine-garden. Prop., rooted pieces, collected plants, seed.