Manual of the New Zealand Flora/Saxifrageæ

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Trees, shrubs, or herbs. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple or compound, stipulate or exstipulate. Flowers usually regular and hermaphrodite. Calyx free or adnate to the ovary, lobes 4–5, imbricate or valvate. Petals 4–5, rarely wanting, imbricate or valvate. Stamens as many or twice as many as the petals, rarely more, perigynous or epigynous, very rarely hypogynous. Disc usually present between the stamens and the ovary, very various in shape. Ovary free or more or less adnate to the calyx-tube, usually 2–5-celled with 2–5 axile or parietal placentas; styles as many as the cells, free or more or less united; ovules numerous, anatropous, erect or pendulous. Fruit usually capsular, more rarely succulent and indehiscent. Seeds usually small, numerous; albumen generally copious, rarely absent; embryo terete, usually small.

A large and polymorphous order, very difficult to define. The herbaceous genera are mainly found in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, or on the mountains of the tropics; the arborescent ones have their headquarters in South America or Australia, with a few outlying species in Africa or Asia. Genera about 75; species under 600. The properties of the order are unimportant. Of the 6 genera found in New Zealand, Carpodetus and Ixerba are monotypic and endemic; Ackama and Quintinia extend to Australia; Donatia has one species in New Zealand and Tasmania, and another in Fuegia; while Weinmannia has a wide distribution in warm climates.

* Herbs, forming compact patches. Leaves densely imbricate. Flowers solitary, sessile.
Flowers white, ⅓ in. diam. Calyx-lobes and petals 5. Stamens 2. Ovary inferior, 2–3-celled 1. Donatia.
** Trees. Leaves alternate, simple, exstipulate. Stamens usually as many as the petals.
Flowers racemose, small. Petals imbricate. Ovary inferior 2. Quintinia.
Flowers panicled, large. Petals imbricate. Ovary superior 3. Ixerba.
Flowers panicled, small. Petals valvate. Ovary inferior 4. Carpodetus.
*** Trees. Leaves opposite, stipulate. Stamens usually twice as many as the petals.
Flowers panicled. Calyx valvate 5. Ackama.
Flowers racemose. Calyx imbricate 6. Weinmannia.

1. DONATIA, Forst.

Small densely tufted herbs, forming hard compact masses. Leaves densely imbricated, linear, coriaceous, quite entire. Flowers terminal, solitary, sessile, white. Calyx-tube adnatae to the ovary, obconic; lobes 5–7, equal or unequal. Petals 5–10, linear or ovate. Stamens 2 or 3, inserted on the middle of an epigynous disc, and adnate to the base of the styles; filaments subulate or filiform; anthers didymous, extrorse. Ovary inferior, 2- or 3-celled; styles 2 or 3, short and thick or subulate, recurved; stigmas simple or capitellate; ovules numerous, affixed to placentas which are pendulous from the inner angle of the cells. Capsule turbinate, indehiscent, 2- or 3-celled. Seeds few in each cell, pendulous, obliquely ovoid; testa membranous; albumen fleshy; embryo small, remote from the hilum.

A genus of two species, one found in New Zealand and Tasmania, the other a native of Fuegia. Its exact systematic position is very doubtful; it was referred to Saxifrageæ by Hooker, who, however, also pointed out its affinity with the Stylidieæ, with which it agrees in the stamens being placed on the centre of an epigynous disc, in the extrorse anthers, and in the placentation. It was removed to that order by the late Baron Mueller ("Nuovo Giornale Botanico Italiano," xi., July, 1879). On the other hand, both Baillon and Engler retain it among the Saxifrages, the latter ("Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien," Teil iii. Abt. ii.a, p. 67) constituting it a new subsection of the order.

1. D. novæ-zealandiæ, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 81, t. 20.—Stems short, 1–3 in. high, densely tufted, forming broad compact masses in mountain-bogs. Leaves very numerous, imbricated in many series and clothing the entire stem and branches, erect, appressed, ⅓ in. long, subacute, shining, veinless, very thick and coriaceous, villous at the base. Flowers ⅓ in. diam., sunk amongst the uppermost leaves. Calyx-lobes 5, ovate, acute. Petals 5, quite free, ovate-oblong, obtuse, thick and fleshy. Stamens 2. Styles 2, short and thick, recurved. Capsule 1/5 in. long.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 58; Benth. Fl. Austral. ii. 450; F. Muell. Fragm. viii. 41.

North Island: Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Range, W. Townson! South Island: Not uncommon in alpine bogs throughout. Stewart Island: Petrie! Kirk! Most abundant between 3000 and 5000 ft., but descends almost to sea-level on Stewart Island. December–March.


Shrubs or trees. Leaves alternate, coriaceous, exstipulate. Flowers small, in axillary or terminal many -flowered racemes. Calyx -tube obconic, adnate to the ovary; teeth 5, persistent. Petals 5, imbricate, deciduous. Stamens 5, filaments subulate. Ovary inferior, 3–5-celled, the free summit broadly conical, narrowed into a persistent 3–5-grooved style; stigma capitate, 3–5-lobed; ovules numerous. Capsule small, inferior or half-superior, coriaceous, obovoid, 1- celled, 3–5-valved, the valves separating up the furrows of the style. Seeds numerous, ascending; testa loose, winged.

In addition to the two following species, which are endemic in New Zealand, there are three others in Australia.

Leaves 3–6 in., linear-lanceolate to oblong 1. Q. serrata.
Leaves 3–8 in., obovate or elliptic-oblong 2. Q. acutifolia.

1. Q. serrata, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 515.—A small tree 15–30 ft. high; branchlets, leaves, and racemes covered with minute lepidote scales, viscid when young. Leaves coriaceous, yellow-brown or reddish-brown when dry, 2–6 in. long, linear-lanceolate or linearoblong or oblong, shortly petiolate, remotely and irregularly sinuate-serrate, acute or subacute, margins undulate. Racemes 2–4 in. long, erect, strict, axillary, many-flowered; pedicels short, 1/5 in. Flowers pale-lilac, ¼ in. diam. Capsule woody, 1/5 in. long.—Hook. Ic. Plant. t. 558; Raoul, Choix, 47; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 78; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 58; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 125'; Students Fl. 137. Q. elliptica, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 78; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 59.

North Island: Common in forests from Mongonui to Taranaki and Hawke's Bay. Sea-level to 3500 ft. Tawheowheo. October–November.

Very variable in the size and shape of the leaves. On high mountain-ranges they become shorter, broader, and more obtuse, and the plant is then probably identical with Hooker's Q. elliptica. This is said to have elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate entire and obtuse leaves, and was collected in some locality on the East Coast by Colenso.

2. Q. acutifolia, T. Kirk, Students' Fl. 137.—A small tree 20–40 ft. high, with a trunk 1–2 ft. diam. Branchlets, leaves, and racemes viscid and clothed with lepidote scales. Leaves much broader and thinner than in Q. serrata, 3–7 in. long, 1–2 in. broad, obovate or obovate-oblong or elliptic-oblong, rarely oblong- or elliptic-lanceolate, narrowed into a short stout petiole, acute or subacute, remotely and often obscurely sinuate-serrate. Racemes 2–4 in. long, always much shorter than the leaves. Flowers much as in Q. serrata, but filaments usually shorter, Capsule slightly larger.—Q. serrata. var. b, Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 59; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 125, f. 6, 7.

North Island: Little Barrier Island, T. F. C.; East Cape, Bishop Williams! South Island: West Coast, from Collingwood to Hokitika, Travers, Kirk! Helms! T. F. C.

An exceedingly puzzling plant. It is certainly connected by numerous intermediates with the typical state of Q. serrata, but its extreme forms appear much too distinct to admit of the two species being united. It is abundant on the Little Barrier Island, where the leaves attain an extreme length of 8 in. by a breadth of 2½ in. Southern specimens have smaller and more elliptic leaves.

3. IXERBA, A. Cunn.

A small glabrous tree. Leaves opposite, alternate or whorled, exstipulate. Flowers white, in terminal panicles. Calyx-tube short, adnate to the base of the ovary; lobes 5, imbricate, deciduous. Petals 5, inserted beneath a 5-lobed disc, obovate, clawed, imbricate. Stamens 5, alternating with the lobes of the disc; filaments filiform. Ovary superior, conical, 5-lobed, 5-celled, narrowed into a subulate twisted 5-furrowed style; stigma acute; ovules 2 in each cell, collateral. Capsule coriaceous, broadly ovoid, 5-celled, loculicidally 5-valved; valves extending through the style, ultimately recurved, cohering below, 2-partite above. Seeds large, oblong, compressed, shining; funicle thick; embryo large; albumen very scanty.

A well-marked monotypic genus, confined to New Zealand.

1. I. brexioides, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 580.—A small branching tree 20–50 ft. high, rarely more, with a trunk 1–2 ft. diam. Leaves 3–6 in. long, ⅓–1 in. broad, linear or linear-lanceolate, coriaceous, glabrous, acute or subacute, obtusely serrate; teeth tipped by a gland. Flowers large, 1–1½ in. diam.; pedicels jointed, silky. Calyx-lobes broadly ovate, silky. Capsule ¾ in. diam.—Hook. Ic. Plant, t. 577, 578; Raoul, Choix, 44; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 82; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 59; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 48; Students' Fl. 138.

North Island: Hilly forests from Ahipara and Maungataniwha to the northern part of Hawke's Bay. Ascends to 3000 ft. Tawari. November–December.

A remarkably handsome tree. The wood is hard and dense, and probably durable, but has been little used.


A shrub or small tree. Leaves alternate, petiolate, exstipulate. Flowers small, white, in axillary and terminal cymose panicles. Calyx-tube turbinate, adnate to the ovary; lobes 5–6, small, deciduous. Petals 5–6, inserted under the margin of an epigynous disc, spreading, valvate. Stamens 5–6, inserted with the petals; filaments shore, subulate; anthers oblong. Ovary inferior with a free rounded summit, 3–5-celled; style slender; stigma capitate; ovules numerous. Fruit globose, almost fleshy, indehiscent, girt round the middle by the cicatrix of the calyx-limb, 3–5-celled. Seeds numerous, small, pendulous; testa coriaceous, pitted; embryo very small; albumen fleshy.

The genus is limited to a single species, endemic in New Zealand.

1. C. serratus, Forst. Char. Gen. 34, t. 17a.—A shrub or small tree 15–30 ft. high, with a trunk 6–9 in. diam.; branches often flattened, spreading; young twigs, leaves, petioles, and inflorescence more or less pubescent. Leaves 1–2 in. long, ovate-oblong or elliptical, acute or obtuse, sharply and coarsely serrate, narrowed into a petiole ¼–½ in. long; in young plants often panduriform or irregularly lobed. Panicles broad, many-flowered, shorter than the leaves. Flowers 1/5 in. diam., white, very abundantly produced. Capsule about the size of a small pea, black and shining when fully ripe.—A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 366; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 575; Hook. Ic. Plant, t. 564; Raoul, Choix, 50; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 78; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 59; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 47; Students' Fl. 138.

North and South Islands, Stewart Island: Not uncommon from the North Cape southwards; most plentiful in alluvial ground, by the banks of rivers, &c. Ascends to 3000 ft. Piripiriwhata; Putaputawheta. November–January.

Wood strong and tough, but not durable; sometimes used for axe-handles, &c.

5. ACKAMA, A. Cunn.

Small trees. Leaves opposite, pinnate, stipulate. Flowers small, unisexual, in compound panicles. Calyx-tube short, lobes 5, ovate-triangular, persistent, valvate. Petals 5, inserted under the margin of a perigynous disc, scarcely longer than the calyx. Stamens 10, inserted with the petals; filaments filiform, the alternate ones longer; anthers didymous. Ovary free, 2-celled; styles 2, persistent; ovules numerous in each cell. Capsule small, coriaceous, turgid, 2-celled, septicidally 2-valved. Seeds ovoid, apiculate, hairy; embryo cylindric, in the axis of fleshy albumen.

Besides the New Zealand species, which is endemic, there is another from Australia. The genus only differs from Weinmannia in the paniculate inflorescence and valvate calyx.

1. A. rosæfolia, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 520.—A handsome small tree 20–40 ft. high, with a trunk 1–2 ft. diam.; branchlets, leaves, petioles, and inflorescence more or less covered with short brownish pubescence. Leaves 3–10 in. long, imparipinnate; leaflets 3–8 pairs, 1–3 in. long, narrow-oblong to elliptical, sessile or very shortly petioled, acute, acutely serrate, membranous, upper larger than the lower; stipules large, leafy, toothed, deciduous. Panicles much branched, many-flowered, longer or shorter than the leaves. Flowers unisexual, minute, 1/10 in. diam., sessile on the slender branches of the panicle. Ovary densely pilose. Capsule very small, 1/8 in. long, sparingly silky when mature.—Raoul, Choix, 47; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 79; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 60; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 63; Students Fl. 139. Weinmannia rosaefolia, A. Gray, Bot. U.S. Expl. Exped. 671, t. 84.

North Island: From Kaitaia and Mongonui southwards to Whangarei, not common. Makamaka. September–October.


Shrubs or trees. Leaves opposite, petiolate, simple or 3-foliolate or imparipinnate, stipulate. Flowers in terminal or axillary racemes. Calyx inferior, divided almost to the base into 4–5 imbricate segments. Petals 4–5, inserted under the margin of a perigynous disc. Stamens 8–10, inserted with the petals. Ovary free, ovoid or conic, 2-celled, 2-beaked; styles 2, subulate; ovules few or many in each cell, pendulous. Capsule small, coriaceous, 2-celled, septicidally 2-valved. Seeds oblong or reniform or subglobose, often hairy; embryo terete; albumen fleshy.

A rather large genus of over 50 species, distributed through the Malay Archipelago, Madagascar and the Mauritius, tropical South America, Polynesia, and Australia. The two New Zealand species are both endemic.

Branchlets usually pubescent. Leaves of mature trees 3-foliolate or pinnate 1. W. sylvicola.
Branchlets usually glabrous. Leaves of mature trees 1-foliolate 2. W. racemosa.

1. W. sylvicola, Sol. ex A. Cunn. Precur. n. 518.—An erect tree, usually from 25 to 50 ft. high, sometimes taller and reaching 60 70 ft.; trunk 1–3 ft. diam.; branchlets, petioles, and midribs of the leaves and inflorescence more or less pubescent or almost glabrous. Leaves 3-foliolate or imparipinnate, rarely 1-foliolate; leaflets 1 to 4 or 5 pairs or more, 1–2 in. long, obovate-oblong or ovate-oblong to lanceolate, narrowed below, acute or acuminate, coarsely serrate. Leaves of young trees pinnate, with numerous membranous leaflets; of old ones usually 3-foliolate, coriaceous. Stipules leafy, entire or toothed. Racemes 1–4 in. long, often numerous towards the ends of the branches, sometimes branched. Flowers very numerous, small, 1/12 diam., white or pale-rose. Capsule usually glabrous, 1/51/6 in. long. Seeds minute, with a tuft of hairs at each end.—Raoul, Choix, 47; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 79; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 60; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 72; Students Fl. 140. W. betulina and W. fuchsioides, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 516, 517.

North Island: Abundant in forests as far south as the East Cape and Taupo, ascending to 3000 ft. Tawhero. December–April.

An exceedingly variable plant. The bark is largely used for tanning.

2. W. racemosa, Linn. f. Suppl. 227.—A taller tree than W. sylvicola, frequently from 50–80 ft. high or more, with a trunk 1–4 ft. diam.; glabrous when mature, except the raceme, which is pubescent. Leaves of young plants pinnately 3–5-foliolate, thin and membranous, often pubescent; of mature plants 1-foliolate, 1–4 in. long, oblong-lanceolate or oblong-ovate to orbicular-ovate, obtuse or subacute, coarsely and obtusely serrate, very coriaceous, quite glabrous. Racemes 1–4 in. long, axillary and terminal, sometimes branched; rachis pubescent; pedicels stout. Flowers numerous, very similar to those of W. sylvicola but rather larger. Ovary pubescent. Capsule 1/5 in. long, 2–3-valved. Seeds hairy.—Forst. Prodr. n. 173; A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 321; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 80; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 61; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 73; Students' Fl. 140. Leiospermum racemosum, Don. in Edinb. N. Phil. Journ. 1830, 91; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 519.

North and South Islands, Stewart Island: Plentiful in forests from the Thames Goldfields and middle Waikato southwards. Sea-level to 3000 ft. Towai; Kamahi. December–January.

Very closely allied to W. sylvicola, but can generally be separated by the larger 1-foliolate leaves of the mature stage.