Manual of the New Zealand Flora/Caryophylleæ

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1204745Manual of the New Zealand Flora — CaryophylleæThomas Frederick Cheeseman


Herbs, very rarely woody at the base; branches usually swollen at the nodes. Leaves opposite, quite entire or minutely serrulate, often united at the base; stipules scarious or wanting. Flowers regular, hermaphrodite. Sepals 4–5, free or cohering into a tubular calyx, imbricate. Petals 4–5 or occasionally absent, hypogynous or rarely perigynous, entire or lobed. Stamens 8–10, rarely fewer, inserted with the petals. Ovary free, 1-celled or imperfectly 3–5-celled at the base; styles 2–5, free or more or less connate into a single style; ovules 2 to many, attached to a free central or basal placenta. Fruit usually capsular, splitting into as many or twice as many valves as styles, very rarely indehiscent. Seeds few or many; albumen farinaceous, usually more or less surrounded by the narrow curved embryo.

A large and very natural order, found in every part of the world, but most abundant in temperate regions, particularly of the Northern Hemisphere; rare in the tropics, unless on high mountains. Genera about 38; species 1000 or more. The order contains some handsome garden plants, as the various kinds of carnations and pinks, but as a whole the species are insignificant, possessing no important properties or uses. Of the 4 genera indigenous in New Zealand, Colobanthus is confined to the south temperate zone; the remaining 3 occur in both hemispheres. More than 20 naturalised species have become well established, all of them of northern origin.

Sepals united into a tubular calyx (Sileneæ).
Calyx broadly 5-nerved. Styles 2. Capsule deeply 4-valved 1. Gypsophila.
Sepals free {Alsineæ).
Petals 2-fid. Styles 3–5. Capsule globular or ovoid, opening with as many valves as styles. No stipules 2. Stellaria.
Petals wanting. Styles 4–5. Stamens equal in number to the sepals. No stipules 3. Colobanthus.
Petals entire. Styles 3. Capsule 3-valved. Stipules scarious 4. Spergularia.


Annual or perennial herbs, often glaucous, sometimes glandular-pubescent or hispid. Flowers usually small, paniculate or solitary in the forks of the stem. Calyx campanulate or turbinate, 5-toothed or 5-lobed, with 5 broad green nerves separated by membranous interspaces. Petals 5, with a narrow claw; limb entire or notched. Stamens 10. Ovary 1-celled; styles 2; ovules many. Capsule globose or ovoid, 4-valved to or below the middle. Seeds subreniform, laterally attached, embryo curved round the albumen.

A genus of about 50 species, with the exception of the following one all limited to the Mediterranean region and extratropical Asia.

1. G. tubulosa, Boiss. Diagn. Fl. Or. i. 11.—A dichotomously branched erect or spreading annual 2-6 in. high, glandular-pubescent in all its parts, often viscid; stems and branches slender, terete. Leaves linear-subulate. 1/61/2 in., rarely longer. Flowers solitary in the forks of the branches, sometimes appearing axillary from one branch only being developed; peduncles slender, ¼–½ in. long. Calyx tubular, with 5 short teeth. Petals red or whitish-red, linear-oblong, slightly exceeding the calyx. Capsule ovoid-oblong, longer than the calyx, 5-valved at the apex. Seeds black, transversely rugose and pitted.—Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. ii. 325; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 22; Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 155; Kirk, Students' Fl. 54.

North Island: East Coast, from Ahuriri to Cape Palliser, Colenso! South Island: Nelson—Tarndale, Travers. Marlborough, Buchanan. Canterbury—Lake Forsyth, Lake Lyndon, Kirk! Rangitata Valley, Sinclair and Haast; Mackenzie Plains and Lake Tekapo, T. F. C.; Lake Ohau, Haast. Otago—Common in the interior. Hector and Buchanan, Petrie! Altitudinal range from sea-level to 3000 ft. November–January.

Also widely diffused in Australia, but found elsewhere only in South Europe and Asia Minor, from whence it was originally described. Several botanists have suggested that it has been introduced both into Australia and New Zealand, but so far as the latter country is concerned no evidence has ever been obtained in support of such a view.


Annual or perennial herbs of very various habit, usually low-growing and diffuse, glabrous or pubescent. Flowers white, solitary or cymose, terminal or lateral. Sepals 5, rarely 4. Petals the same number, 2-cleft, rarely wanting. Stamens 10 or fewer by abortion, hypogynous. Ovary 1-celled; styles 3, or rarely 2, 4, or 5; ovules few or many. Capsule globose to oblong, few or many-seeded, dehiscing to below the middle into twice as many valves as styles. Seeds granulate, tuberculate, or pitted.

A genus of about 75 species, dispersed over the whole world, but most abundant in cold and temperate regions. The 6 indigenous species are all endemic, but 3 others from the Northern Hemisphere have become naturalised. One of these, S. media, Linn., the common chickweed, is now so well established and has penetrated into such remote localities (it has been gathered in Macquarie Island) that a beginner will be certain to consider it indigenous. It has flaccid procumbent much-branched stems 6 in. to 2 ft. long, marked by an alternate pubescent line; ovate acuminate leaves, the lower on long ciliate petioles; and flowers both axillary and in terminal cymes.
Creeping and matted. Leaves orbicular. Sepals subulate-lanceolate, acute 1. S. parviflora.
Creeping and matted. Leaves orbicular, ovate, obovate, or lanceolate. Sepals oblong-ovate, obtuse 2. S. decipiens.
Small. Leaves soft, ovate. Sepals oblong, obtuse 3. S. minuta.
Creeping or suberect. Leaves linear-oblong. Flowers almost sessile. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, acuminate 4. S. elatinoides.
Glaucous, erect, dichotomously branched. Leaves linear. Flowers large, green, ¾ in. 5. S. Roughii.
Tufted, suberect, rigid and wiry. Leaves acerose, linear-subulate 6. S. gracilenta.

1. S. parviflora, Banks and Sol. ex Hook f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 25.—A slender pale-green flaccid herb with creeping stems rooting at the nodes, often much branched and forming broad matted patches 6-12 in. diam. or more, glabrous or with a few weak hairs on the petioles. Leaves membranous, ¼–½ in. long, orbicular or broadly ovate, acute or mucronate, rarely cordate at the base; blade usually longer than the petiole. Peduncles solitary, axillary, usually much longer than the leaves, 1–3-flowered; a pair of bracteoles at the fork of the peduncle, and another pair on one and sometimes on all the pedicels. Flowers minute, 1/12 in. diam. Sepals subulate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, acute, with white scarious margins. Petals wanting or 5, 2-cleft to nearly the base, shorter than the sepals. Styles 3. Capsule longer than the sepals, deeply 6-valved. Seeds 4–12, red-brown, deeply pitted.—Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 23; Kirk, Students' Fl. 57. S. oligosperma, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xviii. (1886) 257. S. pellucida. Col. l.c. xxvii. (1895) 383.

North and South Islands, Stewart Island, Chatham Islands: Abundant throughout in both lowland and mountain districts, ascending to over 4000 ft.

Mr. Colenso's herbarium contains numerous examples of his S. oligosperma and S. pellucida, but I can find no characters to distinguish them from the ordinary form of the species, even as varieties.

2. S. decipiens, Hook. f. Fl. Antarct. i. 7.—A pale-green much and loosely branched decumbent herb, forming matted patches. Leaves ¼–⅔ in. long, orbicular or orbicular-ovate or broadly obovate, rather fleshy, acute or apiculate, with a callous tip, narrowed into a broad and slightly ciliate petiole. Peduncles axillary, usually 2-flowered, generally longer than the leaves; a pair of bracts at the fork of the peduncle and another on one of the pedicels. Flowers small, rather larger than those of S. parviflora. Sepals 5, oblong-ovate, obtuse or subacute. Petals 5, 2-cleft to the base, shorter than the sepals, often wanting. Capsules 13 longer than the sepals, oblong-ovoid, deeply 6-valved. Seeds dark red-brown, tuberculate.—Hook. f. Ic. Plant, t. 680; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 23; Kirk, Students' Fl. 57.

Var. angustata. Kirk, l.c.—Leaves narrower than in the type, linear-lanceolate, acute or acuminate.

Auckland and Campbell Islands: Woods near the sea, not uncommon. Hooker, Kirk! Chapman! Macquarie Island, A. Hamilton. Var. angustata: Antipodes Island, Kirk!

A larger plant than the preceding, with more fleshy stems and leaves, larger flowers, and larger and more coarsely tuberculate seeds. It much resembles the European S. media, but can always be distinguished by the less developed inflorescence and by the absence of the pubescent line on the branches.

3. S. minuta, Kirk, Students' Fl. 57.—"Annual. Stems ½–1 in. high, narrowly winged, branched, glabrous, ciliate. Leaves ovate, acuminate or acute, narrowed into a short broad petiole; apex callous. Peduncles axillary, 1–2-flowered, with a pair of bracts at the base of the naked pedicels, not diverging. Sepals broadly oblong, obtuse. Petals 5, shorter than the sepals, 2-fid nearly to the base. Stamens 8, rarely 10. Capsule not seen."

South Island: Mount Stokes, 3000 ft., J. Macmahon! Westport, on the sea-beach, Dr. Gaze (a scrap only).

The specimens of this in Mr. Kirk's herbarium are few and imperfect, and I have consequently reproduced his description. He remarks that it is "distinguished from all forms of S. parviflora, S. decipiens, and S. elatinoides by the broadly obtuse sepals, and from S. media by its solitary or geminate flowers and the absence of the hairy line on the stems and branches." It looks to me much like a reduced form of S. parvifiora.

4. S. elatinoides, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 25.—A small glabrous pale-green herb; stems 1–3 in. long, branched, decumbent at the base, ascending or suberect at the tips. Leaves 1/101/5 in. long, linear or linear-oblong, acute or subacute, narrowed into a short flat petiole. Flowers small, 1/10 in. diam., axillary and solitary, sessile or on short peduncles. Sepals ovate-lanceolate or subulate-lanceolate, acuminate, with white scarious margins. Petals absent in all the flowers examined. Stamens 5 or 10. Capsule ovoid, as long as the sepals, 6-valved to the middle. Seeds 6–12, red-brown, covered with large rounded tubercles.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 23; Kirk, Students' Fl. 58.

North Island: Hawke's Bay—Lake Rotoatara and Cape Kidnappers, Colenso. South Island: Otago—Duntroon, Sowburn, Tuapeka Mouth, Speargrass Flat, Petrie! November.

Easily recognised by the small size, narrow leaves, acuminate sepals, almost sessile flowers, and coarsely tubercled seeds. The above description is drawn up from Mr. Petrie's Otago specimens, the plant not having been seen in the North Island since Mr. Colenso's original discovery of it more than fifty years ago. It is very closely allied to the Tasmanian S. multiflora, if indeed not a form of that species.

5. S. Roughii, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 23.—An erect or straggling much-branched glabrous and succulent glaucous-green herb 2–6 in. high. Leaves ½–1 in. long, linear, acuminate, fleshy, 1-nerved. Flowers large, green, ½–¾ in. long, ½ in. diam., on short stout terminal peduncles. Sepals very large, almost foliaceous, lanceolate, acuminate, with 3 stout nerves. Petals much shorter than the sepals, cleft almost to the base. Stamens 10. Styles 3. Capsule about half as long as the sepals, 6-valved to the base. Seeds 12–20, red-brown, covered with large projecting papillae.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 58.

South Island: Nelson—Dun Mountain, Rough! T. F. C.; Wairau Gorge, Travers; Mount Captain, Kirk! Clarence Valley and Lake Tennyson, T. F. C. Canterbury—Mount Torlesse, Haast, Petrie, T. F. C.; Broken River and Upper Waimakariri, Enys! Kirk! T. F. C. Altitudinal range 3000 to 6000 ft. December–February.

One of the most distinct species of the genus, remarkable for its fleshy glaucous habit, large green flowers, and the large papillæ on the seeds. It appears to be confined to bare shingle-slopes on the mountains.

6. S. gracilenta, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. ii. 326.—A loosely tufted rigid and wiry yellow-green herb 1–5 in. high; stems suberect, slightly scabrid, often matted and interlaced. Leaves opposite, glabrous, 1/61/4 in. long, linear-subulate, curved, concave above, smooth and convex below when moist, when dry grooved on each side of the stout midrib; tip rigid, terete, acute; margins thickened, slightly ciliate at the base, not revolute; each stem-leaf with a small fascicle of leaves in its axil. Peduncles springing from the axils of the uppermost leaves, 1–3 in. long, solitary, strict, erect, 1-flowered, 2-bracteolate about the middle. Flowers ⅓ in. diam., greenish-white. Sepals oblong, acute, with broad membranous margins. Petals 5, rather longer than the sepals, 2-cleft almost to the base. Stamens 5–10. Styles 3. Capsule ovate-oblong, 6-valved; seeds pale-brown, papillose.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 24; Kirk, Students' Fl. 58.

South Island: Not uncommon in mountain districts, ascending to 5000 ft. Descends to sea-level at the mouth of the Waitaki River. November–February.

Easily recognised by the strict wiry habit, subulate leaves, and very long erect peduncles.

3. COLOBANTHUS, Bartling.

Small densely tufted usually rigid glabrous herbs. Leaves opposite, narrow-linear or subulate, usually imbricate, rigid, cartilaginous, rarely fleshy. Flowers green, solitary, on short or long peduncles. Sepals 4–5, coriaceous, erect. Petals wanting. Stamens 4–5, alternating with the sepals, slightly perigynous. Capsule ovoid or oblong, opening by as many valves as sepals.

A small genus of about 15 species, most numerous in New Zealand, but found also on the mountains of South America, in Australia and Tasmania, and in the Antarctic islands. Of the 9 species found in New Zealand, all but 3 are endemic. The species are highly variable, and most of them extremely difficult of discrimination.
Colobanthus repens, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xix. 261, and C. cæspitosus, Col. l.c. xxvii. 384, are respectively Sagina procumbens, Linn., and S. apetala, Linn., as proved by the type specimens in Mr. Colenso's herbarium. It is curious that such an acute observer as Mr. Colenso should have overlooked that the stamens are opposite to the sepals in both these plants, and not alternate, as is the case in all true Colobanthi. Both the above species of Sagina are now copiously naturalised throughout the colony.
* Flowers tetramerous.
Soft, bright-green. Leaves 1/101/4 in., linear, obtuse, almost fleshy. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, obtuse 1. C. muscoides.
Branched, leafy. Leaves flaccid, ¼–⅔ in., acute or mucronate, but not acicular. Sepals ovate, obtuse 2. C. quitensis.
** Flowers pentamerous.
Leaves grassy, often flaccid, acicular. Sepals ovate, acute or acuminate, but slightly exceeding the capsule 3. C. Billardieri.
Leaves rigid, usually spreading, acicular. Sepals acicular, much longer than the capsule 4. C. Muelleri.
Leaves densely imbricate, small, 1/101/5 in., obtuse at the tip, with a short acicular point. Sepals about equal to the capsule 5. C. brevisepalus.
Leaves densely imbricate, 1/61/4 in., strict, narrowed into short acicular points. Sepals about equal to the capsule 6. C. Benthamianus.
Leaves densely imbricate, ¼–¾ in., curved, narrowed into very long acicular points. Sepals much longer than the capsule 7. C. acicularis.
Leaves loosely imbricate, 1/81/4 in., spreading or recurved, chaffy, acute or shortly acicular. Sepals 5, ovate, acute, about equal to the capsule 8. C. canaliculatus.
Leaves barely imbricate, loosely spreading, membranous, ¼–½ in. long. Peduncles axillary. Sepals linear-subulate, much longer than the capsule 9. C. Buchanani.

1. C. muscoides,Hook. f. Fl. Antarct. i. 14.—A soft almost flaccid perfectly glabrous densely tufted bright-green plant, forming large irregular patches. Stems numerous, branched, densely matted and compacted. Leaves closely imbricated, connate at the base, spreading or ascending, 1/1014 in. long, linear from a broad base, obtuse at the tip. Flowers minute, on short peduncles which are sunk amongst the uppermost leaves or shortly exserted in fruit. Sepals 4, ovate-lanceolate, obtuse, concave, obscurely keeled at the back. Capsule shorter than the sepals.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 25; Kirk, Students' Fl. 62; Homb. and Jacq. Voy. au Pôle Sud, Bot. t. 17.

The Snares, Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes, and Macquarie Islands: Common on rocks near the sea.

Forms rounded patches sometimes 18 in. across, although usually much smaller, the inner part composed of the decaying foliage and stems of old plants, the outside thickly covered with the compacted stems and branches, clothed with bright-green leaves.

2. C. quitensis, Bartl. in Presl. Reliq. Haenk. ii. 13, t. 49, f. 2.—A small densely tufted much-branched plant 1–2 in. high, forming rather soft rounded patches. Leaves variable in size, lower sometimes over ½ in. long, upper often very small, 1/81/4 in., narrow-linear or linear-subulate, acute or mucronate but not acicular at the tip, connate at the base, flat or concave above, convex beneath; texture soft. Peduncles short, stout, terminal. Flowers 1/81/6 in. long. Sepals 4, ovate, broad at the base, obtuse at the tip, rather thick. Capsule ⅓ shorter than the sepals.—Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 24; Kirk, Students' Fl. 60.

South Island: Nelson—Dun Mountain Range, Mount Arthur, Raglan Mountains, T. F. C.; Wairau Mountains, Travers. Canterbury—Kowai River, Haast. Otago—Buchanan! Altitudinal range 1500 to 4500 ft. Also in South America, from Mexico to Cape Horn.

A well-marked species, at once recognised by the soft leaves, which never have acicular points, by the tetramerous flowers, and by the broad obtuse sepals.

3. C. Billardieri, Fenzl. in Ann. Wien Mus. i. 49.—A small densely tufted perennial ½–1½ in. high, rarely more. Leaves in crowded tufts, usually grassy, often flaccid, very variable in length, sometimes 1 in. long, very narrow linear or filiform, at other times shorter, ¼ in., linear-subulate; broad and membranous at the base and sheathing the stem, gradually narrowed upwards, acute or acicular at the tip. Peduncles springing from the centre of the leaf-tufts, longer or shorter than the leaves, usually elongating in the fruiting stage. Sepals 5, ovate, acute or acuminate, as long as or rather longer than the capsule. Capsule broadly ovoid, obtuse.—Hook. f. Fl. Antarct. i. 14; Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 27; Fl. Tasm. i. 45; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 25; Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 161; Kirk, Students' Fl. 60.

Var. alpinus, Kirk, l.c.—Larger, forming tufts sometimes 4 in. diam. Leaves 1–2 in., with acicular tips. Peduncles 2–4 in. long in fruit. Sepals ovate, acuminate, rather longer than the capsule.

North Island: Mount Hikurangi, Adams and Petrie! Ruahine Mountains, Colenso; Tararua Range, Buchanan; Mount Egmont, T. F. C. South Island, Auckland and Campbell Islands, Antipodes Island, Macquarie Island: Abundant throughout. Altitudinal range from sea-level to 4500 ft. November–February. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania.

Separated from C. quitensis by the different habit, acicular tips to the leaves, pentamerous flowers, and pointed sepals. From C. Muelleri it can be distinguished by the grassy and often flaccid leaves and shorter sepals, which last are not acicular; but some forms are very difficult to place.

4. C. Muelleri, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxvii. (1895) 356.—A small densely tufted perfectly glabrous plant, ¼–1½ in. high. Leaves rigid, cartilaginous, spreading, often recurved, ¼–¾ in. long, linear-subulate, broadly channelled above, convex below, narrowed into short acicular tips. Peduncles terminal or lateral, ¼–¾ in. long, stout, often hidden among the leaves. Sepals 5, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, suddenly narrowed into cartilaginous points with acicular tips, about ⅓ longer than the capsule.—Students' Fl. 60. C. Billardieri var. brachypoda, F. Muell. Veg. Chath. Is. 11.

? var. strictus, Cheesem.—Larger, sometimes forming patches 2 in. diam. Leaves strict, erect, often more than 1 in. long. Peduncles equalling or exceeding the leaves. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, narrowed into long acicular points, nearly half as long again as the capsule.

? var. multicaulis, Kirk, Students' Fl. 61.—Rigid, much branched, branches naked below. Leaves rather lax, spreading, linear-subulate, ¼ in. long. Peduncles about as long as the leaves. Sepals narrow-ovate, acute or mucronate, equalling the capsule.

North and South Islands, Stewart Island, Chatham Island: The typical form not uncommon from the East Cape southwards, usually on cliffs or shingly beaches. Var. strictus: Mountains of Canterbury and Otago. T. F. C., Petrie! Var. multicaulis: Interior of Otago, Buchanan!

A puzzling plant. As characterized above, it is distinguished from C. Billardieri by the rigid habit, harsh often cartilaginous leaves, and especially by the rigid acicular sepals, which are much longer than the capsule. The two varieties, when better known, may prove distinct.

5. C. brevisepalus, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxvii. (1895) 357, t. 27e.—A small densely tufted much-branched plant, forming compact rounded cushions 1–2 in. diam. Leaves densely imbricated, straight or curved, smooth and shining, 1/81/5 in. long, base broad and membranous, sheathing the stem, suddenly narrowed into the upper part, which is subulate, concave above, convex below, obtuse and almost tumid at the tip, abruptly produced into a short acicular point. Flowers terminal, sunk amongst the leaves. Sepals 5, ovate-subulate, convex or almost keeled, equalling or slightly longer than the oblong capsule.—Students' Fl. 61.

South Island: Marlborough—Mount Mowatt, Kirk! Canterbury—Mountains near Lake Tekapo, T. F. C. Otago—Kurow, Speargrass Flat, Cromwell, Queenstown, &c., Petrie! Ascends to nearly 6000 ft.

This appears to be a well-marked form, recognised without any difficulty by the short densely imbricated leaves with obtuse tips furnished with a fine hairpoint.

6. C. Benthamianus, Fenzl. in Ann. Wien Mus. i. 49.—A small densely tufted moss-like plant, forming small rounded patches about 1 in. high. Leaves densely imbricated, 1/61/4 in. long, subulate, strict and rigid, tapering from the base to a shortly acicular apex, channelled above, convex below, sometimes with a groove between the margin and midrib. Peduncles short; flowers slightly exceeding the uppermost leaves. Sepals 5, ovate-subulate, thickened at the base, acute or very shortly mucronate, equalling or very slightly exceeding the capsule.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 61. C. subulatus. Hook. f. Fl. Antarct. i. 13 and ii. 247, t. 93; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 25; Benth. Fl. Austral. i. 160.

South Island: "Awatere Valley, and rocky places, Sinclair Range, alt. 4000 ft., Sinclair and Haast; Otago—Lake District, Hector and Buchanan." Campbell Island: Hooker, Kirk! Also found in Victoria and antarctic America.
Like Mr. Kirk, I have not seen any South Island specimens that I can refer to this species, although small forms of C. acicularis have frequently been mistaken for it. C. Benthamianus appears to me to constantly differ from C. acicularis in the shorter and more strict leaves, with much shorter acicular points, and in the broader and shorter sepals, which can hardly be called acicular, and barely exceed the capsule. In C. acicularis the sepals are narrower, and have long acicular apices much exceeding the capsule.

7. C. acicularis, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 25.—A perfectly glabrous densely tufted rigid and shining plant, forming green or brownish rounded tufts 3–6 in. diam. and 1–3 in. high. Leaves very numerous, densely imbricated all round the branches, ¼14–¾ in. long, linear-subulate, often curved, broad and sheathing at the base, gradually narrowed into very long acicular points, channelled above, convex and smooth below. Flowers almost sessile amongst the uppermost leaves, than which they are shorter. Sepals 5, narrow linear-subulate, narrowed into long acicular tips, at least ⅓ longer than the capsule.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 62.

South Island: Dry rocky places in the mountains, abundant throughout. Altitudinal range from 1500 ft. to 6000 ft.

Well characterized by the robust stems and branches, long leaves with remarkably long acicular points, almost sessile flowers, and long sepals, which much exceed the capsule.

8. C. canaliculatus, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxvii. (1895) 357.—A small densely tufted much-branched plant, forming rounded cushions 3–4 in. diam. and 2 in. high, occasionally more laxly branched and open. Leaves in opposite pairs with broad connate sheathing bases, 1/81/5 in. long, rigid or chaffy, spreading, subulate, gradually narrowed into an acute or shortly acicular tip, deeply channelled above, convex below, margins thickened. Flowers 1/6 in., terminating short lateral branchlets in the axils of the uppermost leaves. Sepals 5, broadly ovate, acute or subacute, margins thin and almost translucent. Stamens 5, longer than the sepals. Hypogynous disc reduced to a thickened line. Capsules equal to or rather shorter than the sepals.—Students' Fl. 61. C. squarrosus, Cheesem. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxviii. (1896) 534.

South Island: Nelson—Mount Owen, on limestone rocks, alt. 4000ft., T. F. C., W. Townson! Otago—Buchanan!

A well-marked plant, the chief characters of which are the short spreading chaffy leaves, either acute or very shortly acicular, the short stout lateral peduncles, and the broadly ovate sepals.

9. C. Buchanani, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxvii. (1895) 358, t. 27d.—Apparently a laxly tufted plant 2–3 in. high, with slender erect stems. Leaves not imbricating, loosely spreading, ¼–½ in. long, linear-subulate, sheathing at the base, membranous, concave above, convex below, gradually narrowed into short acicular points. Peduncles axillary, slender, usually rather longer than the leaves. Flowers 1/51/4 in. long. Sepals 5, linear-subulate, acuminate, half as long again as the short capsule.—Students' Fl. 62.

South Island: Otago—Manuherikia Valley, Buchanan!

A most distinct plant, of which I have only seen three imperfect specimens. The slender stems, loosely spreading membranous leaves, and axillary peduncles give it a very different aspect from that of any other New Zealand species.


Spreading or prostrate herbs. Leaves linear or setaceous, often with smaller ones fascicled in the axils so as to appear verticillate. Stipules small, scarious. Flowers white or pink, pedicelled, in subracemose cymes. Sepals 5. Petals 5, entire, rarely wanting. Stamens 10 or fewer by abortion. Ovary 1-celled, many-ovuled; styles 3. Capsules 3-valved; seeds compressed, often winged.

A genus of 5 or 6 species, widely spread in temperate or subtropical regions, chiefly near the sea-coast or in saline localities. The single New Zealand species has a very extensive range.

1. S. media, Presl. Fl. Sic. 17.—A rather succulent much-branched prostrate or suberect herb, more or less viscid-pubescent; stems 2–6 in. long. Leaves narrow-linear, semi-terete, ⅓–1 in. long, fleshy, quite entire, acute; stipules broadly ovate, acuminate, conspicuous. Flowers many, axillary and terminal, on slender glandular peduncles ⅓–1 in. long. Sepals lanceolate, with a broad white membranous border. Petals usually shorter than the sepals. Capsule exceeding the sepals. Seeds more or less flattened, often surrounded by a broad membranous wing.—Kirk, Students' Fl. 63. S. rubra var. marina, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 25. Arenaria media, Linn. Sp. Plant. 606; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 609; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 26.

North and South Islands, Stewart Island: Common on the coast, from the Three Kings Islands and the North Cape southwards. October–February. An abundant plant near the sea in many parts of the world.

The allied species S. rubra, Presl., which has more slender and flatter leaves, smaller flowers, and seeds not so conspicuously margined, is naturalised in several places in both the North and South Islands, but is usually found in inland localities.