Manual of the New Zealand Flora/Rhamneæ

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Manual of the New Zealand Flora by Thomas Frederick Cheeseman
Order XV: Rhamneæ

Order XVIII. RHAMNEÆ.

Trees, shrubs or woody climbers; branches sometimes spinescent. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite, entire or toothed. Stipules small, often caducous, sometimes metamorphosed into thorns. Flowers regular, hermaphrodite or unisexual, small and inconspicuous, usually arranged in axillary or terminal cymes or panicles. Calyx 4–5-cleft, valvate. Petals 4–5, rarely wanting, inserted on the throat of the calyx-tube, small, usually hood-shaped or involute. Stamens 4–5, perigynous, inserted with the petals and opposite to them; filaments short; anthers often concealed within the involute tips of the petals. Disc perigynous, adnate to the calyx, of very various shape. Ovary free or immersed in the disc, altogether superior or more or less adnate to the calyx-tube, 3-celled, rarely 2- or 4-celled; style short; ovules solitary in each cell, erect, anatropous. Fruit free or girt by the persistent calyx-tube, drupaceous or capsular, 1–4-celled. Seed solitary, erect sometimes arillate; albumen fleshy, rarely wanting; embryo large, erect, radicle inferior.

A well-marked order, distributed over most parts of the world. Genera about 40; species under 500. The jujube (Zizyphus) produces a wholesome and agreeable fruit, but as a rule most of the species possess bitter or astringent properties, and some are purgative. The 2 genera found in New Zealand both extend to Australia, and 1 of them (Discaria) is found in South America as well.

Tomentose, unarmed. Leaves alternate. Ovary inferior 1. Pomaderris.
Glabrous, spiny. Leaves opposite or wanting. Ovary superior 2. Discaria.


1. POMADERRIS, Labill.

Shrubs, more or less covered with hoary or ferruginous stellate tomentum. Leaves alternate. Flowers pedicellate, in small cymes usually forming terminal or axillary corymbs or panicles. Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, limb 5-toothed to the base, deciduous or reflexed. Petals 5 or wanting. Stamens 5; filaments longer than the petals; anthers oblong. Disc inconspicuous, surrounding the top of the ovary at the base of the calyx-lobes. Ovary more or less inferior; style 3-fid. Capsule small, upper part protruding above the calyx-tube, 3-valved; endocarp separating into 3 cocci, which either split down the inner face or open by an oblong lid. Seed on a thickened funicle.

A genus of about 22 species, restricted to Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. Three of the New Zealand species are also found in Australia; the fourth is endemic.

 * Flowers with petals.
Leaves 2–3 in., elliptic-oblong, obtuse, entire 1. P. elliptica.
 ** Flowers without petals.
Leaves 2–4 in., oblong-ovate, crenulate; tomentum white or grey 2. P. apetala.
Leaves 34–2 in., oblong or oblong-lanceolate; tomentum often ferruginous 3. P. Edgerleyi.
Leaves small, linear or oblong, 1814 in., margins revolute to the midrib 4. P. phylicæfolia.

1. P. elliptica, Lab. Nov. Holl. Pl. i. 61, t. 86.—A sparingly branched shrub 4–8 ft. high; young branches, petioles, leaves beneath, and inflorescence densely clothed with fine white or buff stellate tomentum. Leaves shortly petiolate, 2–3 in. long, elliptic-oblong or ovate-oblong, obtuse or acute, quite entire, glabrous above, veins and midrib prominent beneath. Cymes numerous, terminal, forming large much-branched corymbose panicles. Flowers bright-yellow, 1514 in. diam. Calyx covered with stellate tomentum mixed with long silky hairs. Petals with a broad blade with crisped margins and a long slender claw. Capsule small, the free portion shorter than the calyx-tube. Cocci opening bv an oblong lid on the inner face.—Bot. Mag. t. 1510; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 46; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 43; Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 417; Kirk, Students' Fl. 91. P. Kumeraho, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 577; Raoul, Choix, 50.

North Island: North Cape to Tauranga Harbour, on open clay hills. Kumarahou. September. Also in south-east Australia and Tasmania.

2. P. apetala, Lab. Nov. Holl. Pl. i. 52, t. 87.—A shrub or small tree 6–15 ft. high, rarely more; branchlets, undersurface of leaves, and inflorescence covered with dense white or greyish stellate tomentum. Leaves petiolate, 2–4 in. long, oblong-ovate or oblong-lanceolate, obtuse or subacute, irregularly crenulate, glabrous and wrinkled above, veins prominent below. Flowers small, numerous, in terminal and axillary panicles 3–7 in. long. Calyx-tube short, clothed with stellate hairs. Petals wanting. Anthers tipped by a minute gland. Style 3-fid to the middle. Capsule obtuse, sparsely covered with stellate hairs. Cocci opening by a valve on the inner face.—Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 419; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 8; Students' Fl. 92. P. Tainui, Hector in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xi. (1879) 429. P. mollis, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxv. (1893) 327.

North Island: Formerly abundant at Kawhia, but now extinct; between Kawhia and Mokau, Gilbert; between the Mokau and Mohakatina Rivers, Hector! Kirk! Chatham Islands: F. A. D. Cox. Also naturalised in Hawke's Bay, and at Geraldine, Canterbury. Tainui. October–November.

A common Australian plant. The Maoris assert that it sprang from the rollers or skids that were brought in the canoe "Tainui" when they first colonised New Zealand.

3. P. Edgerleyi, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 43.—An erect or spreading shrub, variable in habit and size, 2–8 ft. high; branchlets, undersurface of leaves, petioles, and inflorescence densely clothed with soft loose whitish or ferruginous stellate tomentum. Leaves shortly petioled, 34–2 in. long, oblong linear-oblong or lanceolate-oblong, obtuse at both ends, rarely acute, glabrous or scabrid above, with impressed veins; midrib and principal veins prominent beneath. Cymes axillary and terminal, usually broad and corymbose, more rarely lax and racemose. Flowers small, yellowish. Calyx-lobes large, ovate, acute, reflexed, midrib prominent. Petals wanting. Ovary entirely sunk in the calyx-tube; style 3-cleft almost to the base.—Kirk, Students Fl. 91. Pomaderris (?) sp. Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 46.

North Island: North Cape to Mercury Bay, but often local. Sea-level to 1500 ft. October–November. Endemic.

There are two forms of this species — one a small shrub with straggling or procumbent branches, and small oblong leaves scabrid above and clothed with bright ferruginous tomentum beneath; the other taller and fastigiately branched, with longer and narrower leaves, glabrous above and with paler tomentum beneath.

4. P. phylicæfolia, Lodd. Bot. Cab. t. 120.—A small heath-like shrub 1–4 ft. high; branches densely villous, spreading or erect, fastigiate. Leaves small, of very young plants 1234 in. long, oblong or ovate, obtuse, flat, hairy on both surfaces; of older plants 1613 in. long, nearly sessile, spreading, linear or linear-oblong, grooved down the middle and scabrid with short white hairs above, margins revolute to the midrib, concealing nearly the whole of the villous undersurface. Flowers minute, in small axillary cymes slightly longer than the leaves, very abundantly produced. Calyx small, densely pubescent, lobes spreading. Petals wanting. Capsule ovoid, hirsute; cocci opening along the whole length of the inner face.—Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 422; Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 43; Kirk, Students' Fl. 92. P. ericifolia. Hook. in Journ. Bot. i. (1834) 257; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 578; Raoul, Choix, 50; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 46. P. amoena, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xvii. (1886) 258.

North Island: North Cape to Otaki and Gape Palliser, plentiful in open country, ascending to over 2000 ft. Tauhinu. November-Decenaber. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania.

2. DISCARIA, Hook.

Much-branched rigid shrubs or small trees, with opposite often spinous branchlets. Leaves opposite or fascicled, sometimes wanting. Flowers axillary. Calyx membranous, free or adnate to the ovary at the base; limb campanulate, 4–5-lobed. Petals 4–5, hooded, often wanting. Stamens 4–5; filaments short. Disc adnate to the base of the calyx-tube, annular. Ovary more or less sunk in the disc, 3-lobed, 3-celled; style slender; stigma 3-lobed. Drupe (or capsule) dry, coriaceous, 3-lobed, endocarp separating into 3 2-valved crustaceous cocci. Seeds with a coriaceous testa.

Species about 16, mostly natives of extratropical and alpine South America, with 1 species in Australia and another in New Zealand.

1. D. Toumatou, Raoul, Choix de Plantes, 29, t. 29.—A much-branched thorny bush or small tree 2–15 ft. high or even more, glabrous or slightly puberulous. Branches divaricating, flexuous; young ones green, terete; branchlets reduced to opposite distichous or decussate rigid spines 1+12–2 in. long. Leaves often wanting, fascicled below the axils of the spines or opposite on short shoots, 1234 in. long, linear-obovate or oblong-obovate, obtuse. Flowers small, 16 in. diam., greenish-white, fascicled with the leaves below the axils of the spines; pedicels short, puberulous. Calyx-lobes 4–5, reflexed. Petals wanting. Capsule 15 in. diam., globose, deeply 3-lobed.—Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 44; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 136; Students' Fl. 93. D. australis, Hook., var. apetala, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 47. Notophoena Toumatou, Miers in Ann. d Mag. Nat. Hist. Ser. iii. v. (1860) 371.

North and South Islands: Waikato River to the Bluff, common. Ascends to 3500 ft. Tumatukuru. November-January.

Can only be distinguished from the Australian and Tasmanian D. australis by the absence of petals. It attains a large size in the cool mountain-valleys of the South Island, but near the coast is usually low and scrubby.