W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso

Yüklə 5,71 Mb.
ölçüsü5,71 Mb.
1   ...   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   ...   127
[234] every specimen were quite withered. Some flower-stalks were from 12 to 20 inches in height.111 From a barren hill in this locality I obtained a Lycopodium, which I had not before noticed; together with a few mosses. From these heights the prospect is most extensive. Beneath me, as a panorama, was Poverty Bay, with its romantic headlands; while far away to the left, Hikurangi (the mountain near Waiapu) hid his venerable head in clouds. The atmosphere, however, was so filled with smoke, arising from the fern which was burning furiously to windward, that it was only with difficulty that I discerned a single distant object. Continuing my march till near sun-set, I halted for the night by the side of a small stream in a desolate wild, called by the natives, Tapatapauma. Here, several species of the genus Epilobium flourished luxuriantly, of which I secured specimens. The sides of the rivulet were ornamented with fine plants of a species of large-leaved ? Fagus, which I believe to be quite distinct from a closely allied species discovered by me at Wangarei, in 1839.112 I think, however, that both of these species will be found to possess affinity with Fagus Cunningkam.ii, Hook., a species found in Van Diemen’s Land. [235]113

THE next morning I resumed my journey. Gaining the summit of the hill before me, I had an extensive view of the interior. Hill rose on hill (Pelion on Ossa) in continuous succession, as far as the eye could reach. To the left, was Wakapunake (the fabled residence of the gigantic Moa), an immense table-topped hill, or rather mountain; while to the right, far away in the distance, a peculiarly precipitous mountain cast its bold outline in fine relief into the sky; this, my native guide informed me, was Waikare, to which place we were going. Time, however, would not permit a lengthened gaze, so, descending the hill, I proceeded on. Here, [242] among the short tufty grass, I detected a pretty little Ophioglossum, which apparently differed from those already noticed by A. Cunningham. Here, too, I first gathered that very graceful fern, Lomaria linearis (n.sp., W.C.), which grew rather abundantly in one spot in these grassy dells. On the dry and barren summit of a high hill, I procured a peculiar little cæspitose Composita and secured for examination a specimen of Leptospermum, which appeared to be new. In this neighbourhood I discovered a new and very distinct species of Coriaria; an elegant procumbent plant, with undulated and sub-membranaceous ovate-acuminate leaves. It seldom rises above two feet in height, and is mostly found quite prostrate, and very abundant; disputing the possession of the soil with those very common occupiers, Pteris esculenta and Leptospermum Scoparium. Among the fern it has a strikingly peculiar appearance; and, at first sight, might almost be taken for a gigantic foliaceous Lichen overspreading the surface of the ground. I did myself the pleasure of naming this species C. Kingiana, in hononr of my much respected friend, Captain P.P. King, R.N.; and was fortunate enough in procuring good specimens in flower and fruit. At Hopekoko, a small stream (where we rested awhile to dine on roasted potatoes), the bed of which, at the ford, was one flat block of sand-stone, I procured specimens of a little Restiaceous plant, and a Hydrocotyle. Having feasted with most hearty zest on our roast, and fallen into marching order, I soon arrived at a small cataract, down which the water fell perpendicularly about twenty feet, into a deep and dark basin. The only ford at this place was on the very edge of the fall (composed of a single mass of rock), over which I was [243] obliged to be carried, not daring to trust myself on that perilous and slippery path, which reminded me of Al araf, the bridge to the Mahometan Elysium. As it was, I very nearly fell, through nervous excitation, into the depth below. In this neighbourhood I detected another small Lomaria (L. deflexa, n.sp., W.C.), together with a small Compositaceous plant, for which I had been some time looking out, having before seen its foliage. Passing through a deep swamp, I hastily snatched specimens of several plants, which appeared to be different species from those I had hitherto obtained, for examination. About sun-set we arrived at the banks of the river Wangaroa (one of the principal branches of the river Wairoa, which disembogues into Hawke’s Bay); here I obtained two canoes from the natives, and paddled down the river about 2 miles to Te Reinga, the principal village of this district. This river winds round the enormous hill, Wakapunake, at the base of which the village is situated. I had often heard from time to time from the natives, of this place, and of the abyss-like cataract in its immediate vicinity, and had long cherished a hope of one day visiting it. Tired as I now was, I wished for morning that I might realize my desire, and gain a few more additions to the New Zealand Flora. The roar of the waters during the stillness of the night, had much that was soothing as well as solemn in the sound. Morning broke, and, prayers and breakfast over, I entered into a little canoe and paddled about 200 yards to the bed of rock, which, crossing the river, dams up the water and causes the fall. This cataract, from its situation, is exceedingly romantic; the most so, I think, of any fall I have yet seen in New Zealand. The bed of rock, or rather [244] deposit of indurated clay sand and mud of a very white colour, which here obstructs the progress of the river (and through a narrow pass in which the water rushes) is filled with marine shells in a fossil state; although at a great distance from the sea, and at a very great height above its present level. This bed of white rock is large, being not less than 200 feet in width; and, when the river is swollen by the winter’s rains, surrounded as it is by high and densely wooded hills, the fall must present a very imposing appearance. I gained several specimens of shells, Uni- Bi- and Multivalve, by digging them out of the rock with my hatchet. Among them were specimens of the genera, Terebratula,114 Vo— luta, Pecten, Lepas, and others at present unknown to me. The waters fell from rock to rock three several times, ere they were swallowed up in the dark eddying gulph below. The deep gloom of the river in the gorge beneath—the different hues of the dense masses of foliage on either side—the sun-beams peering downwards through the tops of the trees—the enormous bed of rock above, as white as snow—the natives, who accompanied me, perched here and there upon the same—and the little village in the back-ground, combined together [245] to cause an enchanting and undescribable scene, possessing powerful effect. In the height only of the fall, was I disappointed. I attempted a hurried sketch, but could not do the scene before me justice; in fact, I had too many things to do at once, consequently I did nothing well. I wished, afterwards, when it was too late, that I had remained a day at this place, instead of passing on post-haste in the manner I did. I just glanced at the vegetation here, and obtained some specimens of white-flowered Gnaphalium, with very narrow linear leaves, which I had not before seen. Returning to the village, and obtaining, though with great difficulty, guides and baggage-bearers to Waikare, I again resumed my journey. Paddling up another branch of the river, named Ruakituri, for about a mile, we landed on the left bank. The sun was intensely powerful, not a zephyr playing, nor a cloud in the air, nor a tree nor bush, which could afford a shade, anywhere at hand. Through unfrequented paths (if paths, such could be termed), up and down steep hills, overgrown with young fern (Pteris esculenta), which at this season is peculiarly disagreeable from the clouds of fine yellow dust with which it is loaded, and which, inhaled at every breadth, causes you incessantly to sneeze, we travelled until 3 p.m., many times halting by the way. Oh! how often and how truly this day, might I have exclaimed, with the poet—

“All-conquering heat, oh intermit thy wrath!

And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Beam not so fierce! —————–
——————In vain I sigh,
And restless turn, and look around for night;
Night is far off and hotter hours approach.”
Thoms. Seas., Sum. [246]

Having roasted a few potatoes, on which we dined, I endeavoured to cheer my companions in travel, but to little purpose Re-commencing, however, our Journey, we continued our march, through want of water, until long after sunset. Fortunately, I succeeded in finding some, by the side of which, in the wilderness, we encamped—all too fatigued to care much about anything save rest. Gained nothing new in the whole of this melting day’s horrid march; fern, fern—nothing but dry, dusty fern, all around! I gathered somewhere, in the course of the day, a diseased branch of Haxtonia furfuracea, which was curiously distorted, and surrounded with several cells of almost a regular hexagonal shape, probably caused by the punctures of insects. I have often noticed such deformities in various plants, but, as far as I recollect, I never saw it so regular or so large before. A river, the bed of which we descended into and crossed, ran at the depth of from 30- to 80 feet below the surface of the soil on either side. A coarse slate, and thinly stratified sand-stone, formed its bed.

The next morning at a very early hour we arose, and, with stiff and unwilling limbs, proceeded onwards. Want of food, in great measure impelled us forward, as we had yesterday been led to suppose, that we should reach the next village by night. After three long hours spent in active exertion, we reached Wataroa, a small village, where we were heartily welcomed. Having breakfasted and rested awhile, we left this village, and continued our march, which, as yesterday, lay over high hills, which rose in perpetual succession before us, appearing as if they were without valleys between. The country, as we progressed into the interior, became more and more barren; a scanty vegetation of stunted [247] Pteris esculenta, Leptospermum scoparium, Leucopogon Fraserii, and such plants, alone existed on these dry and sterile spots; save where, in the deep glens between the hills, a clump of wood was to be found, shewing their heads of foliage here and there like Oases in the desert. The soil was dry and dusty, and principally composed of broken pumice. Towards evening, from the crest of one very high hill, I had, in looking back, a splendid, though distant, prospect of Hawke’s Bay, and the high and rugged land bounding the same. On the top of this hill I obtained specimens of a small tree, a species of ? Weinmannia; a few stunted plants of which were here scattered about. My native guides assured me, that no person could keep his footing on this elevated spot when the south wind blows; an assertion, which the denuded and bare aspect of the place, together with the very stunted appearance of the few trees and shrubs on it, seemed fully to corroborate. Bivouacked for the night at Wakamarino, a little village on the banks of a small river.

Early the next morning I re-commenced my march towards Waikare Lake, the old chief of Wakamarino accompanying me. An hour’s walking brought me to Waikare taheke, a rapid stream of about four feet deep, caused by the exit of the waters of the lake towards the sea, and which here most outrageously tumbled over a long and sloping bed of rock. A bridge of trees (and one of the best constructed native bridges I have ever seen) was thrown across the foaming torrent, which, though strongly secured together, seemed as if every rush of the bounding water would carry it away. A nervous person would scarcely have hazarded himself on such a vibrating and precarious footing. The beauty [248] of the spot rivetted my attention for a few moments, and I almost determined to venture on a sketch. I gathered a handsome moss in this p1ace; and, a little further on a Polypodium (P. viscidum, n.sp., W.C.), every frond of which was more or less covered with pappus, downy seeds, and other such light substances, blown by the winds. We soon arrived at the village, situated on a high headland jutting into the N. side of the lake. The gateway was, as is often the case, embellished with a pair of huge and hideous clumsily carved figures, besmeared with red pigment, armed with spears, and grinning defiance on all comers. The wind now blew so very strong, that it was not possible to cross the lake in such frail canoes as this people had at command, so I was obliged to pitch my tent here, although it was not an easy matter to find a place suitable, owing to the very great unevenness of the ground, its unsheltered situation, and the very high wind. Here, I was confined a prisoner until the morning of the 29th, when the wind lessening I made my escape, and crossed in safety to the opposite shore. Whilst detained, however, I made the most of my time, and was amply rewarded with specimens of new plants. And, first, I will notice another beautiful species of ? Fagus, with small, broad, adpressed, coriaceous, and bi-serrate leaves, which grew plentifully in the immediate vicinity of the lake, and possesses, especially in its young state, most elegant foliage. Unfortunately, however, I could not find a single flowering specimen, although I carefully sought for such, and hired natives to climb the trees in search of the same. A few capsules of the preceding year were all I could procure. The natives wished me to believe, that this tree did not bear fruit every year, and they [249] had also remarked, that when this tree bore fruit other trees did not! It grows from 30 to 50 feet in height, and is not so robust as the large-leaved species; the natives call it Tawai. Here, also, the small oval-leaved species grew abundantly, attaining to a considerable size and height. A graceful shrub of the Order Compositaceæ, with sub-orbiculate leaves and sub-sheathing petioles, I found near the edge of the lake This shrub grows in rather a diffuse manner, and is from two to three feet in height.115 On the sand-stone rocks, I found a beautiful minute Lobelia; a perfect little gem! scarcely an inch in height. It was scarce, and grew where it could only have been nourished by the spray and waves of the lake. Among these rocks, I also found a species of Plantago, with long lanceolate leaves; and a fine Hydrocotyle. Just above, on the banks, I detected a peculiar ?Araliaceous tree, which was common here; it grew in a straggling manner to the height of 25-30 feet. A large and new species of Coprosma, a small tree from 10 to 14 feet high, I also obtained good specimens of. Rummaging about among the dry and more elevated rocks (which lay piled in enormous masses on each other), I found an elegant little fern (Asplenium Colensii, n.sp.); and, on the top of the little promontory on which the village was situated, I discovered a very handsome Dicksonia (D. lanata, n.sp. W.C.). This graceful fern was abundant in this locality; some of its fronds were from 24 to 30 inches in length. Had I not been very anxious to prosecute my journey, I might have spent a very agreeable time at this romantic and [250] interesting place. Such, however, was not the case; the people among whom I now was, had scarcely at this season any food for their own use, and, although they exerted themselves to the utmost in their endeavours to be hospitable towards me and my party, they could only allow us two scanty meals of roots and herbs per diem.

Although at this season, harvest was about commencing in the more northerly parts of the island, here, in these elevated spots, it was so cold, that I was often obliged to keep on my cloak, or walk briskly about to keep myself warm. The natives assured me, that the snow lay many feet deep on these hills in the winter; and that in such seasons they kept within their houses. Their houses are large and warm, and curiously constructed to keep out the severity of the winter’s cold; being built over a large pit, or trench, the fill size of the house. Thus a house, which on the outside appears to be only three or four feet high, is, when you descend into it, from five to seven feet in height.

I obtained from the lake some fine, specimens of Unio;116 the only living thing (according to the natives) found within its waters. I supposed this sheet of water to be about six miles in diameter; but could only guess [251] as to its probable size, from its very irregular shape. The lake is very deep and clear, and the bottom rocky.

A peculiar sea-bird, called by the natives Títí, and which often flies irregularly at night, making a noise resembling, Tee-tee-tee-tee, rapidly uttered (whence its name), is sometimes taken here in large numbers. From the natives’ account, it should appear, that these birds resort, at certain times, to the tops of the highest and barrenest hills, where the natives assemble and make fires on foggy calm nights, which fires decoying the birds thither, they are easily taken with nets. I have often heard this bird at night, but have never seen one. It is, I think, highly probable, that they may belong to the genus Procellaria.

On the morning of the 29th, the wind lessening, we hazarded a passage, and crossed in safety to the opposite side. The “ever-changing” woodland scenery appeared most lovely, as we, in our little canoes, wound round the bases of these everlasting hills. Here, for the first time, away from the immediate sea-coast, I noticed the littoral species of Metrosideros (M. tomentosa, A. Cunn.). It grew, however, in similar rocky situations, close to the water’s edge, and after the same very diffuse manner. Parasitical on its branches, in great abundance, flourished Loranthus tetrapetalus, Forst., gorgeously displaying its profusion of scarlet blossoms. On getting into shallower water, I obtained specimens of a graceful Myriophyllum, which was attached to the bottom of the lake, and grew under water to the length of several feet. We landed at the margin of a wood, the trees of which overhung the water; where, at the pressing request of the natives who lived near by, I consented to spend the remainder of the day and night. [252] As they did not, however, assemble together till near evening, I had a little time to botanize, and which, I trust, I fully used. It was, indeed, a lovely spot: that constant humidity, so requisite for the full development of the varied tribes of the Cryptogamic Family in all their beauty, was ever-present in these umbrageous solitudes. Commencing at the water’s edge, I gathered specimens of a peculiar Rumex-like herbaceous plant, which grew within the water. Close by a small Myrtaceous shrub, clothed with Lichens and Jungermanniæ, attracted my notice; this shrub attained to the height of seven feet. Several beautiful Mosses and Jungermanniæ, next entered my vasculum. A beautiful foliaceous Lichen grew here on the trunks of living trees, having spherical black sorediæ on its under surface, which appeared quite unique. Another fine species, bearing scutellæ on the edges of its thallus, grew also on these trees. I here obtained fine specimens of A. Cunningham’s new genus Ixerba; and, in doing so, almost dared to hope that I had gained a second species of this peculiar and handsome genus. This differs from I. Brexioides, Cunningham’s plant, in its anthers being almost elliptical scarcely ovate, its twisted style, its larger corymbs containing 5-10 flowers, its lanceolate leaves shorter and broader, its much larger size, and robust habit, attaining the height of 40-50 feet, and being, too, one of the commonest trees of these woods.117 [253] I also procured specimens of a Coprosma, a graceful shrub, 3-6 feet in height, with oblong-lanceolate leaves; a Senecio; a Solidago, which, from habit and general appearance, being only from 1 to 3 feet in height, appeared to be distinct from S. arborescens, Forst.; and a fine shrubby Leptospermum: these plants were all quite new to me. Here, also, I was so fortunate as to detect several new species of the beautiful genus Hymenophyllum. H. Franklinianum, a lovely climbing species, pendulous on living trees, whose trunks it completely clothes with the exuberance, of its fronds—H. pulcherrimum, an elegant and noble species, also epiphytical on trees in the darker recesses of the forest; this is one of the largest species yet found in New Zealand, some fronds measuring 15 inches in length—H. spathulatum, also a fine species, epiphytical on living trees overhanging the lake; this fern possesses a peculiar appearance, from having a number of black botryoidal masses on the edges of the segments of its frond, evidently caused by the punctures of some insect—H. atrovirens, a small dirty looking species, found on wet stones in low shady humid spots—and H. revolutum, a small filiform species, epiphytical on reclining trees in damp places. A handsome species of Polypodium, apparently a variety of P. Grammitidis, R. Brown, but having its lobes deeply incised and sub-pinnatifid; and an elegant and new species of Grammitis (G. ciliata, n.sp., W.C.). I also discovered in this locality. Several beautiful mosses, too, I gained during my short stay here; among which I was much pleased to find in fruit the very elegant species whose fronds I had before detected in a wood near Poverty Bay.

The next morning I resumed my journey [254] experiencing no little difficulty in the obtaining of a guide over the mountains, in which service I was obliged to enlist all my suasory powers. This point settled, we commenced ascending from the shores of the lake, passing through dense forests, chiefly composed of fine trees of Podocarpus, Fagus, and Ixerba. Having gained the summit of the range, we found travelling easy; for in these. forests, where the broad-leaved Fagus is the principal tree, there is but little underwood. Indeed, plants generally seem as if they did not like the shade of these trees. One of the first things which attracted my attention this morning was a peculiar little hexandrous plant of climbing habit, with large and succulent white superior-berried fruit, terminal and solitary, with alternate linear-lanceolate leaves entire and mucronate, having parallel veins, laterally netted, which grew here and there at, the foot of large trees, wherever the light decaying vegetable mould was deepest. I sought assiduously for perfect specimens, and was at length rewarded with such in flower and fruit. This curious little plant has a most peculiar aspect, evidently constituting a remarkable link between endogens and exogens. To me, its affinities appear to rank it somewhere near the Natural Order Smilaceæ. I have not, however, met with anything like it in New Zealand. Some small shrubs I noticed having the habit of Myrsine, but could not detect, them in flower or fruit. My peering about was eventually rewarded with a new terrestrial Orchis, a pretty little plant with a single leaf, bearing a long one-flowered scape; it grew singly about the bases of large trees, and, appeared to be scarce. The natives told us, before we started, that we might expect rain on these mountains (they having a proverb [255] to the effect that it is never dry in these parts), and so, indeed, it came to pass. After we had proceeded for about two hours, it began to pour down in torrents; no shelter being at hand we were obliged to continue on in the cold and pelting rain. I much regretted the state of the weather, as I had every reason to expect many new and rare plants in these elevated regions. The trees and shrubs, large and small, were all beautifully festooned and draperied with Jungermanniæ and Musci, as if done with fairy fingers; evidencing the eternal humidity of these forests. The family of Filices, too, presented the most lovely spectacle, this day, I ever witnessed. In these deeply-shaded recesses, my enchanting Totedea superba, and graceful Lomaria rotundifolia, flourished in perfection; the densely-crowded and dark green fronds of the former, contrasting so beautifully with the light-coloured, elegant and membranaceous ones of the latter. The fronds of these ferns were grouped in ever-living circles of green, from five to six feet in diameter; many single fronds of either plant measuring upwards of three feet in length. With them grew two species of Aspidium; one, A. pulcherrimum, a truly fine plant, is one of the most lovely ferns in New Zealand. Many of its gracefully flaccid fronds measured upwards of four feet in length. The other, A. Waikarense, is also a handsome fern, though smaller, and more rigid in its growth and habit than the preceding. Another new species of Lomaria (L. latifolia), I also found growing in these spots. Notwithstanding the warring of the elements, I gazed entranced upon these beautiful productions of Nature, and wished much to secure good specimens. I was obliged, however, under existing circumstances, to content myself with a

Yüklə 5,71 Mb.

Dostları ilə paylaş:
1   ...   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   ...   127

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©azkurs.org 2020
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə