Archives For native plants

Imagine a machine that could effortlessly sow native seeds straight into the ground, creating within hours what will grow to become a woodland, open forest or wildlife corridor.

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The tireless conservation work of Queenstown couple Neill and Barbara Simpson was recently recognised when they were presented with the Loder Cup at the Green Ribbon Awards.

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Students at Moturoa School in Taranaki are working hard to save their rare local plants from extinction.

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Anyone who thinks swamps and bogs are merely dirty puddles of water to avoid at all costs is missing out on hidden treasure! DOC’s Jack Van Hal explains…

The swamp helmet orchid, otherwise known as Corybas carsei, loves life in the bog. Once upon a time it could be found in several bogs, but today these little beauties occur only in one site, in one peat bog within the Whangamarino Wetlands in the Waikato.

Swamps eye view. Photo: George Novak / NZ Geographic.

Swamp eye view

It is a tiny nationally critical orchid, only 10-30 mm tall at flowering, which has suffered from orchid thieves and wetland drainage.

The single remaining population at Whangamarino is currently at risk from vegetation succession within its preferred habitat, among open sedge and wire rush.

Corybas beauty. Photo: George Novak / NZ Geographic.

Corybas beauty

The flower is a conspicuous maroon-red in colour and is raised above a single leaf. It appears from September through to November. It is such a rare thing that New Zealand Geographic recently came to photograph it for an article, but they were not allowed to identify its exact location.

New Zealand Geographic photographer, George Novak, photographing Corybas carsei.

New Zealand Geographic photographer, George Novak, on assignment at Whangamarino

At Whangamarino, DOC staff have been managing the threats to this little beauty and monitoring shows that numbers have increased from a low of 77 individuals in 2008 to 195 individuals by 2011.

Rangers have been helping to create disturbance regimes by controlled burns to promote growth of the orchid.

Controlled burn of Corybas carsai habitat in 2010.

Controlled burn of Corybas carsai habitat

Other management and research options being explored include translocations to appropriate habitat within and to other nearby wetlands, and time lapse photography to determine how the orchids are pollinated and what time of year they flower and produce seed.

Thanks to the concerted effort under the Arawai Kākāriki wetland restoration programme the plight of Corybas carsei looks promising.

Orchid poster.

Ngā mihi mō te Kirihimete! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

Pohutakawa tree in foreground. Beach and surf in background. Photo: Bill Harrison (CC BY 2.0)

Pohutukawa, New Zealand’s Christmas tree, is today’s Photo of the Week — a quintessential kiwi summer shot for Christmas Day.

This photo was taken by Bill Harrison | CC BY 2.0

Today we showcase the Dancing Spider Orchid (Nematoceras acuminatum) – one of the many tiny native spider orchids found in New Zealand forests.

Dancing Spider Orchid. Photo copyright: Steve Reekie

This image, taken by nature photographer Steve Reekie, is one of many that have been lovingly picked and pinned onto DOC’s brand new Pinterest page.

If you enjoy our Photo of Week you’ll love DOC on Pinterest, where you can be inspired by a feed of gorgeous images every day!

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