Seeing that Hawke’s Bay has become so noted for its numerous and fine large cattle, it may not be altogether out of place to give in a note their first introduction into the District; which may, at least, amuse the Breeders who read or hear of it. I brought here with me, in 1844, five head; viz., 2 cows, 2 heifers, and a young bull. One of the cows was a red poley, a well-formed creature; one that had been a few years before imported by me from Parramatta N.S. Wales (selected from Mr. Marsden’s celebrated herd) to the Bay of Islands; the other was a white and yellow long-horned cow, also a good one. And here I may relate a curious incident respecting the red poley; on my vessel arriving at Ahuriri, and anchoring off the Bluff, the Captain, who had never before been in Hawke’s Bay, (I acting as pilot,) went in my whaleboat and sounded the bar entrance to the harbour, and for some way within it. Presently lots of natives came off to us in several canoes, so that the ship’s deck was soon uncomfortably crowded. The Captain, however, did not enter the Ahuriri, though he would have done so (he said) if a change of weather should come on, his vessel a brig of 160 tons being rather large, but anchored off the Waitangi Mission Station, where he discharged all his loading for me. I may also here mention as a thing of the past, never more to be seen in Hawke’s Bay, that on that occasion we had no less than 120 canoes at one time around our ship, which, with the fierceness of the people, at first alarmed our Captain pretty considerably. While at our first anchorage, we determined on landing the cattle there under the Bluff, and while these were getting ready, a high dispute arose among the Natives on Board, at the head of which was the Chief—Te Waaka te Kawatini (subsequently so well known to the settlers here), and the dispute was simply this,—that the said red poley cow was a horse! it was referred at last to me and soon decided. There being no grass then about the Waitangi Station, the cattle wandered a good deal seeking food, and were with difficulty found and brought home. By-and-bye the red poley was killed just after calving; the fierce wild pigs having absolutely eaten away the teats and adjoining parts of the cow! through which she had miserably died, and was so found by us very soon after. We sought diligently all around for the calf, but could find no trace of it, no remains; and we supposed that it had been eaten too. I got several natives to dig a large and deep pit to bury the cow, and this was done; and a week or so afterwards the little red calf (like its dam) was accidentally found dead, lying whole and stretched out across its mother’s grave! One of the two heifers fared much the same in calving as the poley cow; we knew her time was  near, and had kept up a pretty good watch over her,—but there being yet no food close at hand, and the great flood of 1845 happening, (the greatest by far that I have ever known,) the winter too having commenced, and the great difficulty of getting any of the Natives to do any thing properly, owing to their being wholly unused to all our work, and to the disagreeableness of the job of searching that wet and tangled flat half-naked and in wet and cold weather,— and then (as I take it) the propensity of cattle to seek some retired and sheltered spot for calving,—she wandered far away, so that she could not be timely found; at last she was found, recently dead, killed !—with the head of the partly expelled calf gnawed off and all the surrounding soft parts of the mother including her udder!! This, however, was mainly if not entirely done by a big ferocious bull-dog or half-breed, which the Natives had some time before obtained from a ship off the Cape at a high price as a pig-dog. I scarcely need add, that I could obtain no redress: I had “to grin and bear it.” My time of power and influence among them had not yet come; indeed, I was scarcely settled down, and had quite enough to do to hold my own against the suspicious and powerful tribal Chiefs (or petty Kings!), who were all, at that time, determined heathen and opposed to Christianity. In a few years, however, patient perseverance was rewarded, and things were wonderfully changed. Ultimately that savage dog was obliged to be killed; not, however, until after he had done me much mischief.
I could also give several other strange anecdotes respecting those few cattle and their offspring,—and of what I had to put up with respecting them, during my early years of residence here,—which would scarcely now be believed!
I may, however, add a brief history of the first Horse. This animal was obtained by me from Poverty Bay (overland), in 1846; it was a fine strong docile creature, a bright bay gelding with black points, and named Cæsar. I have already mentioned “the great flood of 1845,”—that completely destroyed all my first farming! or, laying-down of two paddocks (about 4 acres) in rye-grass and clover. I had got the ground cleared, dug up, drained all round—the situation being very low—and partly fenced, at an enormous amount of trouble, not to mention expense; and the grasses sprang delightfully; when the heavy flood came and destroyed all!—The silt deposited on that occasion, (as I subsequently informed Dr. Featherstone, then Superintendent of the Province, at his official request,) measured, in some spots in my two paddocks 2 ft. 4 in. in depth, and in none less than 4–5 inches. To return: there was no grass about the Station, or indeed anywhere on all the low lands around, for the horse; so that, in the following autumn, (during my long absence from the Station,) the poor horse died! mainly from want of proper food and the wet plashy state of the whole low country around. Had I, however, been there, I would have turned him out on to the long beach between Waitangi and Ahuriri, where he could have found a scanty picking on dry ground; but those in charge feared to do so, lest he should seek to go back to Poverty Bay, and in  doing so, attempt to swim the Ahuriri and be carried out to sea. I was told, on my return, that the frogs of his four feet had swollen out like balls or cushions, so that for a long time before his death he could not stand. The Maoris were then, at the last, greatly interested in saving him, and gathered coarse grasses and leafy shrubs at a distance in profusion, and brought them to him. Though broken-in to saddle, he was never ridden by us.
I should also give a brief outline of my early troubles attendant on my first attempts at farming:—viz. the bringing-in to cultivation a few acres of the wild waste, by preparing and laying it down with grasses. I have already mentioned the heavy flood in 1845, and the deep deposit of silt it left; that was bad enough, and destroyed all hopes of grass for the first year. But that trouble and disappointment, great though it proved to be, was but slight when compared with the greater trouble that arose from the fencing not being completed! I have said, that the 4 acres of cleared land were “partly fenced”; and thus that ground remained for nearly four years! and it came about in this way. In order to please the five head Chiefs of these parts, (who were then exceedingly poor, and badly off in money and clothing and moveable goods, and very jealous of each other,) all the work required by me must be shared between them, so that themselves and their people might get a little of the payment,—indeed no Maori could undertake any job without first obtaining the assent of his Chief therefore it was arranged that each principal Chief was to have part of the fencing to erect. With four of them I managed pretty well, and during the first year of residence they completed their shares of the work; but Te Hapuku, who had the long W. side to erect, delayed it, and would not allow his tribe to touch it, (and, of course, none of the others dared to do so!) And this was solely owing to my refusal to advance him any thing more, he having already largely overdrawn the sum fixed for the job (at so much per fathom). And during this long period the numerous half-wild pigs of that place (surrounded as it was on three sides by water,) came in herds to eat down and root up the clover, and to destroy the drain!—which, at first, was a very well made and effectual one. It was about four years before Te Hapuku allowed his share of the fence to be made, and it was the worst piece of work of the whole lot, composed of roughly split white pine from the “Big Bush” near by, and badly put up; while the E. fence, composed wholly of totara, laboriously brought front Kohinurakau 25 miles distant, dubbed down, and securely cross-bound to the rails, stood sound and good for 20 years and upwards. Those early years were, indeed, a time and school for patience!
Note B., pp. 9, 46, 56, 62.
I have not unfrequently mentioned the peculiar and figurative yet fitting names of places and things given them by the ancient Maoris.1099 And so, here,  I would endeavour to explain the compound names of those three prominent peaks of the Ruahine range, viz.—
2. Te-atua-o-parapara: or, Oparapara.
These proper names are each composed of a sentence of four (and five) words; each name containing or implying a personification; and, no doubt, in the opinion of the ancient Maoris possessing a right and proper meaning,—though lost, or nearly so, to the present generation. As it is difficult to explain them fully and clearly in a foot-note in a few words, I have reserved doing so for this place.
1. Te-atua-o-mahuru, pp. 9 and 56.
Of this name the last word (mahuru) is now almost obsolete, rarely used save in old songs, and has several meanings,—all similar to the Maori mind.—
(1) Deep yearning affection towards an absent one,—as husband, child, &c. (2) The same exhibited towards any one bringing tidings of the absent one; or, on casually hearing from a travelling party of his welfare, &c. (3) Ease, relief, comfortable feelings on sitting and resting after climbing a steep ascent. (4) With the causative particle prefixed,—to help kindly; to attend gently on a weak person; alleviation of pain and weakness; comfort. (5) An old name for the Spring season, return of Spring, warm welcome weather: hence (6) a name for the migratory Cuckoo (Cuculus lucidus), that arrives here early,— nga-karere-o-Mahuru = the heralds of Spring.—
Atua, = (here,)—any being or thing of an evil, demon-like nature, sort, or kind; the enemy, or very opposite of a good thing, sort, or quality.—
Te, art., sing.,—here, emphatic and intensitive.
O, prep. of.—
So that, Te-atua-o-mahuru,—the opponent of, or something opposed to affection, good-tidings, kindness, relief, warm and comfortable weather, &c. A fit name for a barren and rugged mountain top, where in snow and rough weather no one could sit to rest after toiling up the ascent; which might also serve to indicate its being the barrier to loved ones left below on either side.
2. Te atua-o-parapara: or, abbreviated, Oparapara.
Here, too, the last word (parapara) has several meanings.—(1) Dregs, dross, small fragments, crumbs, slime, scud, &c. (2) A sacred isolated spot or place,—fire,—food, &c. Either or both of the above may be well-applied here (1) for snow,—as dregs, scud, &c., deposits from the Southerly gales:1100—(2) sacred isolated peak; (N.B. What the old Chief said respecting it, p. 37).
The other three words,—Te,——atua,—and o,—as before.
Then we have,—The disagreeable hateful (place) of the leavings of the  cold Southerly gales,—i.e., snow. Or, if abbreviated, (Oparapara,)—“place” (understood) “of snow.” Or, the name may have originally been, carrying out the personification,—Te-atua-ko-parapara; (the k being dropped, as is often done for abbreviation and euphony;) which only serves to intensify disgust at the place.
Those are two of the culminating peaks of the range, and are visible all over Hawke’s Bay and country E. and S.
3. Te-papaki-a-kuuta, pp. 46 and 62.
This very remarkable place has certainly a correspondingly remarkable name. As in the former proper names above, so here, the last word is the difficult one to fix the meaning of; though this one is much more so.
After no small study, I think that kuuta must be taken as representing tu uta; (k in ancient words being sometimes used for t;1101) then, tu uta may mean,— u, = the warrior god (Mars) defender of the interior (uta).
Papaki = the perpendicular cliff, dyke, barrier.
Te, and a, (active prep. for of) as before.
Thus we have,—The barrier of (the) defender god (of the) interior.
I noticed, that some of the old Maoris of Patea laid stress on and lengthened the last vowel of the word; thus,—“Te-papaki-a-kuutaa”: the meaning however would be very nearly the same,—instead of—“the god-defender of the interior” (uta); it would be, the “god-man-slayer by dashing down” (taa). Both meanings, as they seem to me, are equally suitable.—
Note C., p. 30.
I may here briefly mention, for the information of many, the boundaries of the “parish”(!) or ecclesiastical district assigned to me by Bishop Selwyn in 1844;—if only to show the amount of heavy travelling I necessarily had in those days. From the River Waikari on the N. to Cape Palliser and Port Nicholson S., (more than 2° of longitude,) including also the Maori villages in Cook’s Straits,—Ohariu, Ohaua, &c.; and from Taupo Lake on the W. to the E. sea-coast, including the River Manawatu to the Gorge, and thence through the forests to Wairarapa. My long distant journeys occupied me about 7 months every year, exclusive of those made to the villages nearer me—say, within 50 miles; the long half-yearly journey (in which I visited all the distant S. and W. Maori villages, going by the sea-coast and returning through the forests of the interior,—or vice versa,) usually took from 76 to 84 days, dependent on the weather; and all on foot, without roads or paths, and not unfrequently (at first) without even tracks, or guides;—travelling by compass, in the interior, and by the coast line, over rocks and tidal beaches; often having  there to wait at headlands and cliffs for the tide to ebb, and not unfrequently sadly delayed and put out at the mouths of the rivers! Let any one who may doubt, or who is ambitious of knowing something of that kind of travelling in the past, let him just try a run, with a load on his back, over the rocks from the mouth of the river at Manawarakau to Pauanui (near Pourerere); or, over the rocks from Akitio to Owahanga; or the tramp by the strict coast-line all the way from Cape Palliser to Wellington; those places being still pretty much as they were in a state of Nature.
Note D., p. 41.
Strangely enough, Sir J.D. Hooker, in the “Hand Book”, gives “Tongariro and Ruahine range”, as the only habitat in the N. Island of D. Colensoi; and that too, as from me: such, however, is not the case, as a reference to the IconesPlantarum (vol. II., tab. 548) of his father (who received the original plant (D. Colensoi) from me, and who there first described it) will shew,—unless this very small “Tongariro” plant, and a larger one from “Ruahine”, may prove to be only Alpine varieties of that species, D. Colensoi.—The original D. Colensoi I found only in the N. forests, inland on the high ranges between Whangarei and Whangaruru Bays, in 1841; it is a large and scarce “Pine” there, the true Manoao of the old New Zealanders. Since writing the above, I find, from vol. X. “Transactions”, just to band, that Mr. Kirk, has (I think) unintentionally contributed a little more to the foregoing error respecting Dacrydium Colensoi. Therefore, I here give an extract from my letter to Sir W.J. Hooker, of July 1841, (as published by him in the LondonJournal of Botany, vol. I. p. 298).— “Since I had last the pleasure of addressing you, I have made a journey of about 4 weeks to Whangarei Bay and neighbourhood, in S. lat. 36°, returning by a circuitous route, via the interior.—–—In the box now sent you will find some things both novel and interesting.—–—The king of the whole lot is my new “Pine,” from the high hills near the Eastern coast. For many years I had heard of this tree from the aborigines, but could never obtain a specimen, no one knowing where it was to be found. They had heard of such a tree, and some of the oldest Chiefs had occasionally seen it, when hunting in the forests; but all agreed that it was very rare, only growing singly. The reason, too, for its unfrequent occurrence was this,—Tane, one of their illustrious demigods, hid it! Still it existed, a distinct tree which never rotted. As a proof of all this, the people, wherever they could find a tree, reserved it for a coffin to hold the remains of a chief. These statements, you may well suppose, only inflamed my desire to possess specimens of this wonderful tree. I sought and sought, but all in vain, wherever I went, making inquiries after, and offering rewards for, it,—until I actually gained a name among the natives for doing so. At last, early in this year (1841), after a toilsome march through an unfrequented spot and jungle, to the place where I had been informed that one  grew, I found it! I will not attempt to describe my satisfaction, which was much increased by observing that the specimens I had acquired were in fruit.—The tree (for a “Pine”) is not large, about 50 feet high, and 2 ft. fin, in diameter. In appearance it somewhat resembles the Kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides).—–—I also send a specimen of the wood. The bark on the trunk is deciduous, but not like that of the Totara which is fibrous; this is only scaly and brittle, as in the Kauri (Dammara Australis). Subsequently on the same range of hills, I saw two other of these “ Pines,” of nearly similar size.”
Note E., p. 46.
It is perhaps worthy of recording, that this was the first inland Christian Chapel erected in this extensive District. It was neatly and strongly built, very simple, with plain narrow lancet windows, and three together (the central one larger) in the E. end; its whole furniture consisting of a small holy table, a rustic font-stand, and a strong reading-desk; no seats or forms. The floor, however, was nicely covered with matting of undressed N.Z. Flax (Phormium), neatly woven in a narrow pattern by the women. The windows were without glass, (we being too poor and too far away from civilization,) but they had white canvas strained and oiled instead,—which served just as well.
This building was in daily use for many years for School, and Religious Worship, and yielded good service; being largely esteemed by the Maoris of all parts, many of them coming from a long distance to see it. It was subsequently enlarged, as the little peaceful Christian Village grew in size and importance; and on the settling in its neighbourhood of the first European settlers (some 7–8 years after), it was also occasionally used by them on Sundays for Divine Service. Unfortunately its end, and that of the Maori Christian village of Waipukurau, were not what they should have been. Its name, however, is perpetuated in that of the present neat and rising township.
Note F., p. 50.
Having mentioned the Chief Renata I may here give, in a note, a little more of this man’s career, showing (as often is the case) how truth is stranger than fiction! In due course of time (from the storming of Te Awarua), in those old days of frequent fighting, slavery and death, Te Kawepo was again taken prisoner by other tribes from the N., and eventually found his way, as a slave, to Te Waimate in the Bay of Islands. There, with others (slaves), he was brought under the influence of Missionary Teaching,—was taught in their schools to Read and Write, &c.,—was in the end Baptized, taking the name of Renata (Leonard),—and, on my leaving Te Waimate (the second time) in 1844 for Hawke’s Bay, I brought him here with me, partly as a Domestic. He lived with me some considerable time, and did good service in many ways; often travelling to visit outlying places as a Christian Teacher, (on foot, and bare footed, scantily clad and without pay!) and, on one occasion, at my request,  visited this far-off Patea,—and, of course, this very spot at Te Awarua. The whole story, however, of this man’s life, though very interesting and remarkable, is too long, too intricate, to be related here; to show how he attained to his present high position of the principal Chief of his tribe:—it would form an interesting little book.
Note G, p. 53.
I had one more truly awful night on this range, and on this W. flank of it, but much nearer to the summit; which I may as well relate here.—Curiously enough it was in returning from my very last visit, made in 1852; and it was brought about in this way. I made two visits to Patea in that year; the last one was very late in the season, in May; and I went there purposely to marry the chief’s son, Frederic, whom I had Baptized, a fine young man; which I had also promised to do. The days were very short, and among my baggage-bearers were three new hands, who were unused to bush and mountain travelling. In leaving Te Awarua, where we had purposely slept, so as to start early for the mountain and get over the summit and the “two slips” before night,—fearing, too, any sudden change in the weather, at this advanced season, which had been threatening, (having now a nice snug little camping place just below the tops on the E. side,) my new hands being also heavily laden with the good things of Patea,—potted birds and roast pig—the debris of the marriage-feast,—loitered behind and straggled about in the forests, in spite of all my remonstrances. The consequence was, that the sun went down when we were more than an hour’s journey from the summit, and it very soon became dark; so that we had to bring up on the lower part of Maunga Taramea! with snow lying all around!! The darkness was excessive; we hastily put up the tent (in a miserable kind of way), but there was no fern nor grass nor leafy branches for the wet floor, and, try as much as we could, we could not make the fire burn,—it would only just simmer without any flame! We had no supper, for we could not roast our potatoes; at last I had a cup of tea made with some snow water, and then, as a last expedient, I got my little kettle refilled with snow and boiled, and took it hot into my tent and blankets to warm me; in the morning it was a solid lump of ice inside my bedding! At one time, during that long night, I did not expect to see the morning. My poor natives sat huddled together on the wet cold ground all night, not daring to move through fear of the prickly Tarameas (Aciphylla)! the miserable fire soon going out; we kept calling one to another till daybreak. Oh! what a night that was—never to be forgotten! With the morning came the cold cold (and wet) fog; and it was two hours after sunrise before we, on the shaded W. side, got his beams! We dared not to move, for everything around was dripping wet, and with the horrid young Tarameas poking through the snow! Myself and native companions for years after, spoke shudderingly of that night!
1884 On a New Zealand fungus that has of late years become a valuable article of commerce. Transactions of the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 1884-5.1102
I. I HAVE been not a little gratified in reading Mr. Ralfs’ papers on “The Fungi of West Cornwall,” given in the Report and Transactions of the Penzaace Natural History and Antiquarian Society for the years 1880–83, and lately received by me here, especially with those portions that deal with the edible species; for in this country there are no doubt many of this class. Some of them were used by the ancient Maoris, as I have formerly shown in a paper on their vegetable food.1103 More species, however, yet remain to be hereafter brought into notice and use. Of one of these in particular I am now about to write, as it has almost suddenly become a very considerable article of commercial value and export; and I think that what I have to state concerning it will prove interesting, and its value, though strictly derived from official sources, be deemed almost marvellous.
II. During the past winter of 1883 (May to July) I was induced to give a lecture here in Napier, before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute, on this and on other of our small, wild indigenous plants and productions, in order to show their great economic value. To this I was in a manner led through observing, when on my usual botanizing rounds or holidays in the “bush,”1104 several small children of the Scandinavian settlers residing there, going about in the woods with their bags, gathering this particular fungus for sale; and from them I obtained a few items of information respecting it.
III. On my landing in New Zealand (direct from Penzance), nearly fifty years ago, and on my entering and traversing its grand forests, lonely seashores, and open wilds,1105 I was struck with the appearance and number of its fungi, as in many respects their forms were so widely different from our northern and British ones—not only peculiar and curiously shaped (bizarre, I might truly say), but not unfrequently of huge size and of brilliant colours. This one, however, which has so rapidly grown into a valuable export (Hirneolapolytricha) though common, had nothing in particular to call attention to it, except perhaps its compact gregarious semi-pendulous manner of epiphytic growth and its twofold guise; for sometimes it might be met with completely clothing the trunks of old trees, especially on the margins of streams near the seashore, and there, when dry, presenting a widely different appearance to what it did when wet; in the former case, shrivelled and as hard as horn, in the latter, expanded, soft, and tripe-like, or almost sub-gelatinous and elastic, and as if, through their growing so closely together, they were jostling each other for room. Yet they adhered firmly to the surface on which they grew. Little did I (or others, if any there were who noticed them) then think that such common, uninteresting-looking things could ever become a valuable article of commerce.
IV. The genus Hirneola, established by Fries, is but a small one, though its species are found in several parts of the world, and in various climates. Here in New Zealand we have at least three known species (H. auricula-judæ, and H. hispidula), as described by the Rev. M.J. Berkeley in Sir J.D. Hooker’s Handbook of the New Zealand Flora; none however being endemic. One of them, H. auricula-judæ (formerly Exidia), is also British and long known, and is I see (from Mr. Ralfs’ list) found in West Cornwall. This last is a smaller and thinner species, and is far from being so plentiful in New Zealand as H.polytricha. H. hispidula (also a scarcer species) was first discovered in New Granada by Humboldt, and also in the Mauritius and the Vest Indian Islands, and described by Berkeley forty-five yeas ago in the Annals of Natural History, vol. iii. p.396.
V.H. polytricha was first made known to Science by Montague as belonging to this genus, and as being an inhabitant of the East Indies and Java, though, like our two other species, it was first published as belonging to the closely-allied genus Exidia, there being but a very small natural difference between these two genera. This species is thus briefly described by Berkeley (translated and abridged from Montague): “Sub-hemispherical, cup-shaped, expanded, lobed, densely villous externally with grey hairs, disk purplish-brown.”
It is of various sizes and, I might almost add, of shapes, some measuring a few inches, and when wet filling a large teacup or small basin; a large dry specimen weighing only 2½ drams. It is found growing on the trunks of many trees, both on living and on rotten ones (especially on the latter while standing), particularly on Corynocarpus lævigata and on Melicytus ramiflorus, both of these trees being endemic as to genus as well as to species; the former tree is mostly confined to the seashore, where it often forms dense and continuous thickets. In such situations it is generally of small size, but when standing apart it is of much larger dimensions, and not unfrequently in suitable spots it wears an imposing appearance from its large green and glossy persistent laurel-like leaves. The latter tree is scattered plentifully throughout the country, and the foliage of both being evergreen, are eagerly browsed on by cattle.
VI. The only market for this fungus is China. From official information, obtained from Hong Kong, we find that it is largely used by the Chinese in soups with farinaceous seeds, and also as a medicine, being highly esteemed. The Chinese have long been in the habit of using another species of this same genus that is indigenous there in North China, and also of importing another species from other isles in the Pacific; so that the use of this kind of fungus as an article of food is not new with them. Who can say in this article of food Western pride may not again have to learn something more from this ancient highly-civilized and much injured people?
VII. I am not aware of the allied British species, H. auricula-judæ, having been used for food though I note that Mr. Ralfs, who has tried many and widely-diverse species, mentions this one among them, but not approvingly. The Rev. Mr. Berkeley says, “That it was once a popular remedy for sore throats, probably from some fancied resemblance of the hymenium to the fauces, and it is still occasionally sold at Covent Garden.1106 But he does not say for what purpose. Mr. Ralfs also says, “The Jew’s-ear fungus is said to be imported in large quantities into China for making soups.” (Loc. cit.) There is however a slight error here as to the species, which this paper will serve to correct.
VIII. Berkeley (from whom I have just quoted) has another very striking and useful observation bearing on the edible qualities of fungi, which it may not be out of place to quote here. He says, “The greatest objection to the use of fungi in food is that the qualities of the same species are so very different in different countries. The common mushroom has proved fatal in Italy, and is most carefully excluded from the markets, and parallel cases might be adduced with regard to other species. This does not appear to depend upon any idiopathic phenomena, but upon the intrinsic character of the individual specimens. In all there is a small amount of poisonous matter, and the quantity of this in any given species is extremely uncertain.” (Loc. cit. p. 368.)
IX. At first, and for some time, our New Zealand fungus was only exported in small quantities. The demand however rapidly increasing, and the article plentiful and obtained at little cost, save the easy and untaught labour of gathering and drying it, its export rapidly increased. The drying of it, if collected damp, was an easy matter—merely spreading it in the air and sun till dry, which soon takes place, when it is roughly packed in sacks, and if kept dry keeps good and sound for a very long time. The price paid to the collectors for it was originally small, only 1d. a pound; at this figure it remained for some time. It is now nominally 2½d. in some places, which sum however is often paid in barter.1107 It is said to be sold in the China shops at about l0d. or more retail. I am not aware of the actual price obtained by the exporter, but we find that its declared value at the Customs ranged from £33 to nearly £53 per ton, which no doubt under the real value.
X. During the last twelve years no less than 1858 tons of this fungus have been exported, valued at £79,752, as is more particularly shown in the following return, which I have compiled from sources published in the Government statistical papers:
Declared value £
XI. I should observe that the official entries show that those exports are confined to the northern island, and only from two ports there—viz., Auckland and Wellington—except some small lots amounting to seven tons, exported from Poverty Bay and Napier in the last two years, 1882 and 1883. The fungus however may have been extensively collected in the districts containing those two larger ports.
XII. I shall send some specimens of this fungus with this paper, in order to illustrate it. On a specimen being wetted and allowed time to imbibe moisture, it will resume very nearly its natural shape.
1884 A few stray thoughts on W. Cornwall (Mount’s Bay) and our Cornish Botany.1108
“To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
one native charm, than all the gloss of art.”
(Goldsmith’s Des. Vill.)
It is Xmas. Eve! And here am I alone; and yet not alone—as to thoughts and memories. My lamp is lit, and I am thinking on England, Home, and Cornwall (Mount’s Bay) in particular. Yet it is not exactly this Season that leads my thoughts so far far away in that direction, though doubtless this has had a little to do with it. For here it is Midsummer; the weather is fine, the thermometer this day has been at 72°; and the fruit shops in the town below (Napier), are loaded with the pleasing gifts of early summer,—Strawberries, Currents (Black, White, and Red), Raspberries, Cherries, and Plums, all fresh and tempting; with beauteous garden flowers in rich profusion: our Summer having been a remarkably fine and showery one, suitable for all floral display.
This, too, is my 50th Xmas. season in this far-off land! This alone evokes thoughts, or should do so. Nevertheless, I greatly doubt whether the Xmas. Season and its 50th celebration (rather say, anniversary, or revolution,) to boot, would have sufficed to set me so greatly a thinking on old times and old scenes, as a little simple circumstance that unexpectedly occurred this morning.—
Early this morning my man came in from visiting a retired nook or gulley in one of my hilly fields, bringing me a handful of flowering specimens from a small shrub he had found there, whose beauty and novelty had attracted his eye; and to my great delight I recognized and hailed the Cornish stranger at first sight, by name, “Tutsan”! (Hypericum androsænum,) very fine indeed. Now it must be, at least 52 years since I last saw this British plant growing, and then only in one well-known spot, often visited by me,—the edge of Tolcarne wood on the hill, on the left hand side of the pathway through the fields, leading up the granite steps from the highway to the Land’s End, (and opposite to the high road branching off to St. Inot,) towards Newlyn—or street-on-Nowan of old time! And then, as a matter of course, whole hosts of scenes, of persons and things and plants, came trooping on and up, as if out of the same deep well, evoked by the spell of a mighty enchanter.—
And so I welcomed and received my unexpected Cornish stranger as my Christmas Box.
Who has not read “Tales by Hans Andersen”? and in doing so, thought with him,—even, it may be, to extremes, both high and low and far asunder. So true it is, (as Shakespeare had it,)— “One touch of Nature makes the whole world King”. Among other natural and touching pieces and tales of Andersen, (first read many years ago, and often since looked into,) the one called “the Dumb Book”, came vividly to remembrance on contemplating this Tutsan: from which I beg to give a quotation, or extract, in the author’s own words. (The scene is in a forest by a lonely peasant’s hut; and in the garden in an arbour of blossoming Elder, stood an open coffin)—“Nobody stood by the coffin and looked sorrowfully at the dead man; no one shed a tear for him; his face was covered with a white cloth, and under his head lay a great thick book, whose leaves consisted of whole sheets of blotting paper, and on each leaf lay a faded flower. It was a complete herbarium, gathered by him in various places; it was to be buried with him, for so he had wished it. With each flower a chapter in his life was associated.
“Who is the dead man?” we asked; and the answer was,— “The Old Student.” They say he was once a brisk lad, and studied the old languages, and sang, and even wrote poems.—He was as gentle as a child, except when the dark mood came upon him, but when it came he became like a giant, and then ran about in the woods like a hunted stag; but when we once got him home again, and prevailed with him so far that he opened the book with the dried plants, he often sat whole days, and looked sometimes at one plant and sometimes at another, and at times the tears rolled over his cheeks. Heaven knows what he was thinking of. But he begged us to put the book into the Coffin, and now he lies there.—
What a strange feeling it is—and we have all doubtless experienced it—that of turning over old letters of the days of our Youth!—a new life seems to come up with them, with all its hopes and sorrows. How many persons with whom we were intimate in those days, are as it were dead to us! And yet they are alive, but for a long time we have not thought of them—of them whom we then thought to hold fast for ages, and with whom we were to share sorrow and joy.
Here the withered oak-leaf in the book reminded the owner of the friend, the school fellow, who was to be a friend for life; he fastened the green leaf in the student’s cap in the green wood when the bond was made “for life”. Where does he live now? The leaf is preserved, but the friendship has perished! And here in a foreign hot-house plant, too delicate for the gardens of the North; the leaves almost seem to keep their fragrance still. She gave it to him, the young lady in the nobleman’s garden. Here is the water rose, which he plucked himself and moistened with salt tears—the rose of the sweet waters. And here is a Nettle, what tale may its leaves have to tell? What were his thoughts when he plucked it and kept it? Here is a Lily-of-the Valley from the solitudes of the forest;—and here’s a sharp naked blade of grass.
The blooming Elder waves its fresh fragrant blossoms over the dead man’s head, and the Swallow flies past again.”—
Pray excuse this long extract: I think I have known and proved something of what Andersen so feelingly describes; and my thoughts this morning on seeing the “Tutsan” shows it. With Wordsworth I not infrequently say,—
“To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
And this leads me to write a little more in the same strain and on kindred subjects.
When I first came to this (then little known) land, I saw but few plants growing wild that I recognized as being like myself natives of Britain and strangers here. It is true there were a few truly indigenous ones that were the same, both as to species as well as genera : e.g. The Sowthistle, (Sonchus oleraceus), the Sea-side Bindweed (Convolvulus Soldanella), the Garden Nightshade (Solanum nigrum), the Bulrush (Typha latifolia),—though more than twice the size of the English plant,—the Bur-reed (Sparganium simplex), and the Pondweed (Potamogeton natans); but these grew so largely and so commonly that they scarcely excited more than a passing thought; besides, the Sowthistle and the Nightshade, were often used boiled as greens. But afterwards, in the course of years, (omitting the early introduction of Clovers and of Grasses,) when I by chance fell in with a stray plant from Home growing wild,—it was just the story of the Tutsan over again. Well do I remember my first seeing the charming little Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), and also the common English Daisy (Bellis perennis), though that was 30 years ago! How I revisited and cherished them! Also, the dear little Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), reminder of Goldfinches and Canaries! And the elegant plant Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia), that well-remembered Alverton plant, so prized in childhood! And that well-known denizen of our British cornfields, the Cockle (Agrostemma Githago), the neat regularly formed Bedstraw (Galium sps.), and the variegated Catchfly (Silene quingue-vulnera), still faithfully retaining its wondrous 5 red spots! These two, the Sun Spurge and the Catchfly have now become very common, but not so the Groundsel and the Cockle. The Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill (Geranium molle), and its cousin the Hemlock Stork’s-bill (Erodium cicutarium), I also welcomed; these have thriven exceedingly growing to a very large size; and so has that Newlyn plant, Sweet Alyssum (Konigia maritimæ), which I also brought here.
Indeed, owing to our temperate climate, not a few of our British Annuals and biennials have become perennials, and consequently flourish amazingly even to the swallowing up, or displacing, much of the truly indigenous vegetation; And not a few of our British perennials attain to a great size. I have seen the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), growing in its usual stately ranks more than 6 feet high and abounding in flowers! The Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) becomes a big flourishing bush, and so does the Red Valerian (Valerian rubra), both ornamenting dry stony places; while the handsome foliage Milk Thistle (Carduus Marianus) luxuriantly covers yards of land. On the other hand, a few that I have only once found I have never met with again,—as the misnamed “Gold-of-pleasure” (Camelina sativa); Field Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla arvensis); Common Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium); & a few others.
Here I may mention a few garden(?) plants that I had introduced, importing their seeds with many others specially from Home for my garden;—as the Evening Primrose (Onothera biennis), the Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus), the purple Goats’ beard, or Salsafy (Tragopogon porrifolius), a prized esculent of our ancestors though now disused, and an Asphodel (Asphodelus fistulosus),—all of which have escaped and spread rapidly covering much ground, and so doing mischief, especially this last; and so, also, have the elegant Fennel (Tæniculum vulgare), and the fragrant Sweet Briar, though these were not introduced by me. And it is a curious circumstance, that the Evening Primrose, in particular follows the course of the newly-made Railway; also the stony high banks in the rivers.—
Three years ago, while Botanizing in the sub-alpine forests, nearly 100 miles in the interior, and in a very secluded spot, (where I had often been before,) I suddenly came upon a young herbaceous plant (and only one) bearing a remarkably large leaf prostrate on the ground, somewhat in both habit and size resembling the leaf of the garden Rhubarb. It was certainly a striking object; and also new.
I visited that spot again that year, (having marked it and the plant,) but though the young plant had grown much larger, it showed no signs of soon flowering. In the following early season I again visited that wood, impatient to know something of my new discovery, but though it was now advancing towards flowering, I had yet to wait. Late in the autumn of that year I was again there; and judge my disappointment, when I found the plant to be only a big Burdock (Arctium Lappa)! Still, this was a novelty to me, who had never before seen it living and in flower; I question if it is found in West Cornwall. The worst, however, remains to be told: that one plant has flourished there, and its hooked seeds have been carried far and wide by cattle, and the plant is now far too common in all that neighbourhood, so that it has become a great nuisance; I ought to have destroyed it when I first knew it.
Again: two years back when Botanizing in that locality I fell in with another introduced herbaceous plant which, while I knew it to be a foreigner, I could not quite identify in its leafing state; subsequently, however, I found it in flower; it is the Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris), and now this also is become far too common, overrunning and destroying all small and low herbage near it; as, also, does another most unwelcome stranger, though longer settled among us, the Cat’s Ear (Hypochæris radicata). Curiously enough, when again in those parts last year, I met with a gentleman of this town who had been up in that neighbourhood collecting ferns for his garden and he being attracted by the fine size and novel appearance of this plant (Prunella vulgaris), in its leafing state, had dug up several of them, and was bringing them carefully away with his ferns,—until I told him what they were.
Among our own botanical New Zealand gems, (found extensively growing in those parts,) are one or two species (or varieties) of Pratia, a lovely little lowly creeping and perennial plant, with small cut and glabrous leaves that completely mat the ground, studded, also, with a profusion of white Lobelia-like flowers on short peduncles; in sheltered and damp spots this plant is often a beautiful object, both in flower and in fruit, its large and succulent berries being of a scarlet colour; it also remains in flower during the whole of our long summer. I have often thought,—what a lovely bedding-plant it would make at Home! Particularly in our damp and mild Cornish climate. So beautiful does it appear to me in some open yet sequestered spots that I know, and so imploring! that I have hesitated to walk or step on it, although the tangled and prickly bushes alongside were very difficult to get through. Of late, however, I have had the unhappiness of seeing it increasingly invaded by both the Self-heal and the Cats ear! which show it no mercy. I have already and several times, sent to England the seeds of this plant (Pratia), and I propose sending some to Penzance very shortly for distribution.
Note: a detailed account of this pretty little plant will be found in a Paper of mine, “Transactions N.Z. Institute”, vol. xv. pp. 316, 318.