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



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Metrosideros pendens.496


A climbing plant with reddish rugged bark, having stems round or obtusely and irregularly furrowed and angled or compressed, emitting rootlets like ivy, and bearing many pendulous leafy branches.

Leaves decussate and distichous, shortly petiolate, ovate acute, 7–9 lines long, 3–5 lines broad, with occasionally a pair nearly orbicular, triplinerved or sub-quintuplinerved, very pilose on both sides, thickly punctate, somewhat concave and imbricate, margins revolute, dark-green above and pale or yellowish-green below, sub-membranaceous, old leaves rather dry with obscure veins, young leaves and branchlets very light-coloured with scarcely a tinge of green at first; ultimate branches long, straight, always simple drooping, 12–18 inches long, densely villous, hairs patent. Flowers pendulous, white, small, 2 lines long, 8–16 together in a thyssoid panicle, mostly trichotomous, and always terminal; calyx gracefully infundibuliform, nearly 2 lines long, more than twice as long as the ovary, much broader at top and narrower at base than the ovary, pubescent and punctate, teeth 5 (sometimes only 3 or 4), triangular acuminate, re-curved, much longer than the petals, punctate, pubescent, and springing without from below the prolonged inner rim of the calyx; petals very minute, deciduous, whitish or light pink, somewhat orbicular, jagged at apex, clawed, the very short claw dark pink. Anthers minute, orbicular, light pink; filaments white, very slender, hair-like, flexuose, crowded, numerous, always more than 20, 2 lines long, deciduous; style slender, much longer than the stamens, 5 lines long, wavy, persistent; stigma dilated and slightly emarginate; ovary very small, less than a line in diameter, pilose, globose, obscurely trigonous, turgid, bursting loculicidally nearly to base. The main peduncle or rhachis stout, terminal, being the continuation of the branch, 4–6 lines long, this sometimes has a [361] short secondary peduncle at its base, springing axillary from a leaf, and trichotomously bearing three flowers nearly sessile or on very short pedicels, bi-bracteate, bracts long linear; pedicels on main rhachis short, under 1 line long, each having a pair of minute, scarious, punctate, and pilose bracteoles at the base.

Hab.: Forests, head of the Manawatu River, climbing lofty trees; 1874–9.

This species is pretty closely allied to M. colensoi, Hook., but differing from that species in its peculiar strictly drooping growth, in its decussate and densely pilose broader and coloured leaves, in its peculiar calyx lobes, and terminal panicles of white flowers. It is a beautiful plant in its native wilds, and will, no doubt, at some future day, become a favourite garden one, on account of its elegant pendulous habit. Its flowers are rather rarely produced, and are generally, including the calyces, gnawed by insects. I had to seek often, and to wait some years ere I could get perfect specimens. I consider it by far the most graceful of all our known New Zealand species of Metrosideros.


Metrosideros subsimilis.497


A bushy diffuse climbing plant, with pale deciduous bark.

Leaves opposite, somewhat distichous, petiolate, 7–9 lines long, 4–6 lines broad, broadly ovate and acute, sometimes broadly elliptic and mucronate, sub-coriaceous, minutely punctate beneath, 3 (sub 5) nerved, midrib and lateral nerves prominent, margin entire, slightly revolute and finely ciliated, the lowest pair on a branchlet always the smallest, and often orbicular; young leaves very finely pilose on upper surface and on midrib beneath; petioles and branchlets densely and finely pilose. Flowers horizontal, erect, whitish, small, under 6 lines long, generally 5–7–9 together, decussate, in short racemes or thyrsoid-like panicles, always lateral, and springing directly from old wood,—sometimes, however, a small corymb of three, and more rarely a solitary one appears; calyx broadly campanulate, longer and broader than ovary, nerved, minutely pilose, with five (sometimes six) deltoid teeth, obtuse, persistent, minutely and regularly crenelled or subbeaded on inner border of the rim; petals small, fugacious, under one line in diameter, orbicular, scarcely clawed, obscurely 3–5-veined, punctate, erose, or minutely jagged at top, limb faintly pinkish, and some with a slight tinge of red—particularly on the outside,—claw dark coloured; anthers small, orbicular; filaments slender, simple, pure white, two lines long, flexuose, spreading, not numerous (15–20), deciduous; style stout, subulate, erect, much longer than stamens, 4–5 lines long during flowering, afterwards 6 lines long or more, persistent; stigma dilated; ovary small, under one line diameter, globose, wholly adherent with base of calyx-tube, splitting loculicidally into three valves, the terminal or central ovary sometimes bearing a [362] scarious bracteole near its top; peduncle stout, pubescent, 6–20 lines long, pedicels slender, pubescent, 1–2 lines long, always opposite on rhachis, bracteolate, each with one or two small scarious obtuse bracteoles and several very minute acute ones at base, and often with a pair of large leafy broadly ovate punctate bracts pilose and ciliate immediately below the base of the pedicels.

Hab.—Forests at the head of the River Manawatu, where it climbs lofty trees; 1876–79.

This species, which has been long known to me in its non-flowering state, will rank near to M. hypericifolia, A. Cunn., which in some respects it resembles; differing, however, in its more upright manner of growth, not being so divaricate; in its leaves being petiolate, broader, pubescent, and ciliate, and not so acute; in the colour of its flowers; in its stamens being always very diffuse—not erect; in its style being much longer than its stamens; in its longer and more dilated calyx tube which is also persistent; and in its leafy panicles.

A good characteristic drawing of M. hypericifolia is given in the “Flora Novæ Zelandiæ” (such as I have seen that handsome plant in the Northern woods), its flowers are wholly “scarlet” and very striking; but in this species its living flowers mostly appear pure white in its forests, owing to the early falling-off of its very small fugacious petals and its white spreading stamens.



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