Joyful News Out Of The
New Found World
A Flower In Which The
A flower in which the mystery lives
wholly as a matter of belief
in shades like colour
which depend for visibility on degrees of light
or of life
contained within the perianth
wholly, as a matter of belief,
entire or in bits,
as seen in a nut at Norwich
or looking out a window with mother
in one flower,
the mechanism for it all,
assembled by a big hang
a fiat, or interminable adjustment
to an imperceived necessity
like growing up
and intensely pleasurable
when understood in one ecstatic instant,
confusedly satisfying when apprehended
over a longer period
or of life,
which is itself an efflorescence
of complex mechanisms
requiring faith in various degrees
to be wholly or perianthetically
William Colenso arrived at Paihia in 1834, at the age of 23, from Penzance, to be printer at the C.M.S. mission station; there he published some major colonial texts. After a few years he married Elizabeth Fairburn, was made deacon, and was sent to Hawke's Bay, where he established a mission station near the mouth of the River Clive.
The marriage was an uneasy one, and after the birth of two children (two difficult and painful events) Elizabeth refused to have another. William then had a boy to his servant Ripeka, who had shown him kindness. This became a public scandal. Elizabeth left him, he lost his job and his children, and was tried for adultery.
He tenaciously retained the mission property, and lived there in a raupo hut for some five years or more, before entering upon a more public and civic-minded life, in which he distinguished himself by a pompous self-righteousness. This mellowed as he grew older, and the scars of the scandal healed in respectable residence on Napier Hill.
From the first he was marked by an extraordinarily vigorous physique, which did not leave him until the last decade of his life. In the course of his missionary journeys he explored a good deal of the eastern, northern, and central North Island, always indulging his keen interest in natural history, especially botany. For this he received some honours in his life-time.
Towards the end of his life he joined the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, where he met the new Bishop. The resulting friendship led to Colenso's triumphant reception back into the church - a most remarkable scene. He died in 1899, aged 88, never having left the North Island.
The fourteen plants in this book are orchids named and described by Colenso. Several still bear the names he gave. Others were later found not to have the right to exist as separate species; a few of these were later resurrected and returned to his patronage and may still be uncertain of their right to self-hood.
The descriptions are distinguished by a compact intensity, in which considerable verbal and intellectual forces combine to create a perceived reality in a latinate botanical English. Colenso was largely self-educated. but this only rarely shows; he was commonly thought to have an M.A.
I take these descriptions verbatim, with the exception of the two Microtis species, where I allow myself the luxury of omitting a small amount of material. However, as all these documents were transcribed by hand, there are likely to be some errors in punctuation and of that kind. The documents came to me in my childhood, being given to my family by a descendant of Colenso's daughter Fanny, who remained in New Zealand and married. His two sons went to England: Ridley studied law in London. Willie married a cousin in Cornwall.
I have attempted to unlock the documents and release their contents. Those who wish to discover Koroneho's life and works must search out biographical material elsewhere.
Fourteen new cryptograms.
Hawkes Bay Philosophical Society.
Address by the president,
the Rev. William Colenso,
Daily Telegraph Office.
(Reprinted from the 'Daily Telegraph')
Including several remarks
on the principles of nomenclature
relative to time and space,
And instances of
the ability of the taxonomist
to create specific existence
[Section 1: Earina alba]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1886. 18:p.267)
Stems:stout, sometimes branched at or near base. 8-10" long.
Leaves:alternate, sessile, sub-linear-acuminate, acute,
broadest near base, thickish rather harsh and sub-
rigid, petioles long, clasping, decurrent,
extending to within the petiole below,
Flowers:terminal in compound panicles 2-4 inches long,
rather close-set, sub-distichous. Each sub-
panicle usually containing 3 flowers, bracts numerous,
imbricated, striate, brown, the lower acuminate
and fimbriate, the upper obtuse with a small mucro.
Perianth pure white, segments of equal length,
spreading, recurved, obscurely 3-nerved, very obtuse.
Sepals ovate-oblong, margins entire, petals broadly-
obovate, crenulately notched in the middle of the
upper margin. Lip broadly oblong (or sub-5-sided)
entire obtuse, margins corrugated and incurved,
two small ochraceous-yellow spots near the centre of
tip, and two small greenish crescent-shaped calli near
the base. Column sub-hooded, tip ochraceous-yellow,
appendages overhanging in front below anther and
produced in four small obtuse teeth, and a minute
tubercular wing on each side, with two minute
mamillary-like dots in front below stigma.
Ovary:long, cylindrical, striate, twisted.
Hab:On edges of rocky cliffs and on dry stony declivities,
and about the dry exposed roots of Fagus solandri;
banks of River Mangatawhainui. Seventy-mile Bush
country of Waipawa; 1878-85. W. C.
Obs:This plant in appearance closely resembles E.
autumnalis, Hook fil. of which it may (by some
botanists) be considered a variety. It possesses,
however, some characters which that species has not,
or which, at all events are not given in any published
description of it that I have seen.
Ochraceously imbricated in mamillary
gland decurrent in the petiole sub-5
sided with mucro in the perianth tip
distichous striated entire and
twisted yellow margins sessile 2
fimbriate crenules sub-linear to
terminal in compound panicle
and calliiin declivity tubercular W.C.
NOTE: A description
of some newly-dis-
plants. Trans., vol.23,
where honey drops
and scree and moss
set with rock
for table books
from the southern ice
is falling over everything
sobs in the air
cut into my mind
or gentian blue
and I'm made joyful
for a new-found land
at the throat
in a land
I've made my own
by name for the nameless
and by claim
in a wild world
decurrent (di’ kûr int, – kur' –), adj. Bot.
extending down the stem below the place of
as certain leaves.
[< L. dēcurrent – (s. of decurrens) running down
(prp of decurr-ere, equiv. to dē-
DE-+ currere to run); see CURRENT]
– de.cur'ence, de.cur'rency, n.
– de.cur'ent.ly, adv.
'the plume is made in a decurrent mode'
The Easter OrchidE.alba
Sometimes branched in the winter
terminal in compound panicles.
Sometimes imbricated on the edge
of rocky cliffs. Column produced
in four small published notches.2
And two small greenish-shaped
callii near the base. Sundry charac-
ters ochreous-yellow on the lip.
Stony declivities sometimes branched,
striate, fimbriated, crenulate, acute
and two (2) minute mammillary-like.
Dots in front that I have seen
this plant in appearance in any
published description closely re-
sembles sundry characters that
are not given;that I ,
[Section 2: Bulbophyllum ichthyostomum]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1894. 26:p.319)
Plant small, epiphytal, prostrate, creeping, densely matted. Stem slender, 3in.-5in. long, tortuous, dry, whitish, longitudinally striate, emitting many thickish terete succulent white rootlets, their tips obtuse. Pseudo-bulbs on upper side of stems 1/3in.-l/2in. apart, sessile, ovoid, 1/6in. long and sub-globular, 1/lOin. diameter, wrinkled, glabrous, shining pale-green. Leaves, 1 to each bulb at top, with a narrow circular sheath at base, oblong and oblong-ovate (sometimes oblong-lanceolate), tip obtuse, sometimes slightly retuse, 1-2 lines long, deeply sulcate, thickish, slightly recurved, minutely and regularly rough-dotted-hairy above, and with minute microscopical circular dots below, obsoletely parallel-nerved, 3 nerves on each side of midrib visible between the eye and light; margins closely ciliolate with coarse, stiff, patent, obtuse hairs, petiolate; petioles short, 1/20 in. long, stout, glabrous. Flowers very small, few, solitary, scattered, white; peduncle arising from under bulb, stout, erect, 2 lines long, with a simple sheathing scarious bract near the top; perianth (post-anthesin) adhering to tip of upper valve of ovary (marcessent), expanded about 1 line diameter; sepals and petals ovate-deltoid obtuse, silvery shining, very membraneous; ovary large, sub-ovoid, gibbous, 2 lines long, yellow, thickly glandular-echinate, (as, also, top of peduncle above bract), bivalved; valves gaping, but not to base largely concave, dissimilar, broad, 1/lOin. diameter, obtuse; margins undulate uneven, thickened; the upper and larger valve with 2 lateral nerves; the lower 1 central one. Seeds very minute, sub-fusiform, thin, white, scarious.
Hab. On trunks of trees, forest near Kumeroa, River Manawatu, County of Waipawa; May, 1893: Mr. H. Hill.
Obs. This interesting little plant is allied to B. pygmaeum, Lind., which prima facie it closely resembles, differing largely, however, on close examination, particularly in its glandular-echinate ovary and leaf. It is also a still smaller species. The ripe capsule gaping so curiously at its sutures, somewhat resembling the open mouth of a fish, is the cause of its specific name.
Post-post anthesin ad-adhere obtuse
small epiphyte on rocks retuse
terete white root deltoid deltate
post-sulcate peduncle ovate
glabrous gibbous near the sea
on trunks of trees quite scarious
white patent hairs base W.C.
NOTE: Plain and
on N. Z. Botany.
Trans. Vol. 24, pp.
400-409. Bush Notes;
or Short Objective
run to rock
arch to light
smooth bark and sure
for hold from the sky
a climate equatorial
in dark places
or high branch
of kauri, kamahi,
near the beach
it must soon cease
like the hills
and scalping climbers crowd
pulling down the wood
to make a level world
at the wounds of severance
On close-ruled pages
looking for the lost
before the childrens' birth
marcescent(mär.ses’ənt) adj. Bot
withering but not falling off,
as part of a plant.
[< I. marcēscent – (s. of marcēscēns)
beginning to wither
(prp of marcēscere)
(to) wither + ēscent – –ESCENT]
– mar.ces'cence, n.
'a drought has made the lesser parts
Small prostrate creeping dense
many wrinkled patent hairs
matted between the eye and light
Scarious near the top terete
tips obtuse and tortuous (
emitting epiphytal bulbs sub-
Globular rough-dotted hairy
circular below;3 nerves on
each side obsolete & succulent
Post-anthesin adhering 1/2-
1/3 retuse, minute, parallel-
Gaping not to base post-.
gaping so curiously at echinate.
gibbous at the yellow peduncle.
[Section 3: Dendrobium lessonii]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1883. 15:p.326)
Plant epiphytal and terrestrial; an erect and pendulous, diffuse slender shrub.
Branches wiry terete hard and brittle, some darkish umber-brown and some bright yellow, glossy and horny, ringed with dark scar-like joints 1/4-1" apart in a bi-tripinnate frond-like appearance. Leaves alternate 3/4-1& 1/4 " long, 1-2 lines broad, 3-6 lines apart sub-linear-lanceolate, or sub-ovate-acuminate, broadest near base, sessile spreading often falcate and twisted, cortaceous, semi-rigid, smooth not glossy, pale or yellowish-green. Margins entire, obscurely 10-nerved, midrib sunk and obsolete, somewhat concave, tip obtuse, vaginant, sheaths truncate, longitudinally and regularly striated, finely corrugated transversely. Flowers white, membraneous, few, scattered, usually 2 (sometimes only l, very rarely 3) in a short loose raceme on a stoutish erect peduncle shorter than the leaves; always bursting at a right angle from the internode in the branchlet, and generally alternating with the leaves; never axillary nor opposite to a leaf, peduncle glabrous, shining. Perianth open, expanding, segments of equal lengths, sepals ovate-acuminate, 5nerved, margins entire, upper smallest. Petals recurved, oblong-ovate, obtuse, with a minute point. Labellum 3-lobed: two lateral lobes small, oblong, obtuse, conniving, middle lobe large, longer than broad, veined, sub-rotund (or sub-panduriform or broadly obovate) apiculate, sides conniving, 4 longitudinally elevated and shining green lamellae near the base which are bluntly toothed or crested. Column slightly winged near apex, light green, pollen masses yellow. Ovary green, shining, obscurely striate.
Obs. I believe this plant to be identical with D. biflorum of A. Richard, which was discovered by Lesson, (the naturalist of the French expedition under D'Urville), in Tasman's Bay Cook Straits, in 1827, and published by Lesson and Richard with a very full description and a folio plate, in 1832, and, therefore, I have great pleasure in naming it after its original discoverer. W.C. 1883.
Hab. In forests, Norsewood, Hawkes Bay district, North Island, high up in the rocks or pine trees, (Podocarpus spicata), and sometimes on the ground in dry stony hills under Fagus trees, flowering in November; 1879-1882; also among rocks near the sea at Cape Turukirae ( the south head of Palliser Bay), 1845-6: W.C.
FIELD NOTESD. lessonii
Pink panduriform pendulous in place
terete terrestrial pink on the internode
and frond-like darkish umber-brown
coriaceous. Vaginant sheaths plus 10
horny peduncles green with 4 lamellae
always bursting near the base con
niving at the perianth ringed
with sometimes only very 3 W.C.
NOTE: Tracts for the
Times: No. 1, On the
Sabbath and its due
& Co. 46 p. W.C
Time in itself has pride
and holds its branches
in own space
until it's used
then milled to build
portioned to excess
last limber limbs
Time like a tree
in space to grow
bare the branches
spare the time
rare the life
I believe this plant
a discovered Lesson
a published Lesson
and a folio plate
– I the Discoverer –
have great and original pleasure
with full description
with the naturalist of the French expedition
in Tasman Bay
fagus. (fa'gəs) n.
of the Fagaceae, or beech family of trees and shrubs,
which includes the beech, chestnut, oak , etc.
[NL Fagace(ae) name of the family
(L. fag(us) beech.]
The N.Z. members of this family belong to the Nothofagus
Other members of this group are found in Australia and
Of the N.Z. species, N. solandri and N. cliffortioides are
N. menziesii is a larger tree.
N. truncata and N. fusca are tall trees.
They grow a great forest.
Go into it.
Lie face down stretched outflung,
your face in the mould.
Smell, listen, enter
edged scent of fallen leaves
sharp as frosted air,
hot sun on a myrtle bush
water on a rock
Petals fall from a mistletoe;
red dust sun shafts,
and the birds –
when the wind blows in the tops,
songs from a western range.
Knock three times and enter in.
I've paid the sub.
and not refuse.
If I went back with Elizabeth and Willie
would they think I'd paid enough?
Would they look at Willie, at Elizabeth, at me,
and give me Life,
but I can hear
their kakariki patter.
They make life a comestible,
trade antique money dug from ruins.
Too dull to mint their own,
too thoughtless to be anything but out-of-joint with time;
they deal ancient values out
as if they were their own.
I'll knock –one
(keep Willie out of sight
in case he's turned to stone. )
My old skin needs young sun,
Fifty is a long time
when it's stale.
[Section 4: Corysanthes hypogaea]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1884.16: p.336)
veins largely anastomising with longitudinal dots in the
interspaces, 5-8 lines diameter, cordate-reniform 3-lobed
at tip, middle lobe produced, acute acuminate, side margins
sinuate with a single notch on both sides near base, auricles
large, distant, subhaste, very blunt; light green above, midrib
and marginal spots purple; silvery below and sometimes
dashed with a purple hue; 1/2-1 1/2" long, petiole white,
often pinkish, with a sheathing truncate bract at base;
peduncle short, bibracteate close to base of flower, the front
bract much smaller linear, the hind one ovate-oblong,
Flower:much veined, dorsal sepal arched, closely clasping, subovate-
spatulate, 3-4 lines diam, narrowest at base, rounded and
slightly sinuate or subapiculate at apex, green with a purple
median line; lateral sepals and petals 3/4" long, linear
acuminate, very narrow filiform lower pair hair-like lip large,
dark blood-red above with darker stripes, greenish below
spotted with red, bilobed at top, lobes rounded entire 2-3
deep laciniations or ragged lobes below with the sides much
cut and jagged and incurved a delicate circular bordered ear-
like aperture on both sides immediately behind bases of petals.
Hab.among mosses,steep cliffy sides of dry hills, Fagus forests near Norsewood; 1880 (plentifully but barren); 1882 (a few capsules long past flowering); and 1883, September, in flower: W.C.
Obs.I have known this plant for some years, but never found it in flower until the spring of 1883, mainly owing to its peculiar manner of growth,and its very early flowering; for while its one small leaf is spread flat on its mossy bed, its delicate flower is 1"-2" below the surface, and never appears above during its flowering, though afterwards (in a few observed instances) its capsule is shown just above the surface, owing to the elongation of the peduncle after flowering, which habit is also common to the genus. It grows pretty thickly scattered in beds, showing its small glistening leaf just above the mosses and debris of fallen fagus leaves (F.solandri) but flowering specimens are very scarce, not one plant in 20 bearing a flower. A species possessing close affinity with C.triloba, Hook.fil.
_anthes Corybas on moss and filiform much veined
laciniated litter light and closely clasping 1/2 lip
large like linear ear + 1 like early auricle
anastomising hair like much veined green with
2 to 3 marginal spots purple sinuate and single
leaf litter cliffy affinity Fagus forests few
cordate and kidney acuminate with one new
notch near Norsewood new under debris W.C.
and observations on
the pollination of the
orchid Corybas tri-
loba by a species of
Vol.19, pp.147-50. W.C.
makes their mind
on the escalator
in their thoughts
on a slanted slope
from the lower
to the next in view
from the shoe-shop
as shoe-shops are
with no graces
[the escalator slants across
the doorway of the shop
people lose their heads
before their feet
but you can tell
that has no consequence
to the shoe]
to the sound
of the business in the mall
whose music masks
a smell of blood
and spit at Georgie Pie
for a needed crust
in the food mart
from the flower shop
uncertain smells of leather
from these white boxes
stacked end dry
like a catacomb
anastomosis (ənas’ tə mō sis) n. pl. –ses (-sez)
- Anat. communication between blood vessels by means of collateral channels.
- Biol. connection between parts of any branching system.
- Surg. Pathol. communication between two organs or spaces which normally are not connected.[< NL < Gk: opening
see ANA –. STOMA. – OSIS ]
– a.nas.to.motic (ənas’ tə mōt' ik) adj.
– a.nas.to.mose (ənas’ tə mōz) v.t.v.i.
Anastomising in the interstices
succulent subhaste auricles
sinuate with a notch base:
Silvery below and sometimes dashed
veined-interspaced bed peduncle.
Silvery below and sometimes 3-4
lines never found in flower until
never found in darker lines bi-
Behind sub-haste cordate but barren
-reniform plentifully with darker
stripes immediate on both sides.
notched and scattered on beds.
circular ear-like apertures.
sinuate in a few observed labellums.
[Section 5: Microtis longifolia]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1885. 17:p.247)Plant variable in size
and in the number of its flowers;
Leaf solitary tubular terete
with three long furrows from base to tip,
longer than the scape,
and an open oppressed bract at base.
cylindrical below sub-angular above.
Bracts broadly ovate-acuminate,
transversely rugulose and decurrent.
npper sepal boat-shaped, sub-cucullate, acute;
lower pair divergent, sub-revolute, obtuse;
petals free, recurved, obtuse;
lip oblong, laciniate or sub-lobed,
much crisped at margins;
tip broad and bifid;
two large lumps at base dark green and shining;
lump near tip tuberculate,
green smooth and shining;
commonly in two ridges;
ovarium stout, papillose and flat beneath,
turgid and gibbous above.
Hab in skirts of woods
near Norsewood in Waipawa.
Obs it flowers much too late
must be new.
FIELD NOTESM. longifolia
Terete tubular supra scape terrestrial green
and one leaf tall to 2 by divergent rugulose
water-race lawns laciniate at lip tip
bifid. Supra tubular sub-revolute in alpine
fell; road-side ridges pedicelled sub-cucullate
acute above tuberculate stout ovary
oppressed autumnal turgid crisped and
finely papillose in two ridges green W.C.
NOTE: 1888. Fifty years ago
in N.Z.; a commemoration:
a Jubilee paper; a retrospect;
a plain &- true story. Napier,
R. C. Harding. 49p. Hawke's
Bay Philosophical Institute.
Anniversary address by the
President. William Colenso
I found you on a growing day
when the rain had sloughed my fears away
and hope was left
to grow with the grass
in the sun.
I found you on a radiant day
by the bush by the creek where the skylark rose
when warmth had come,
to sing me outside in the sun.
I found you by my raupo hut,
a scout fore-runner or sign.
Go spread your seed promiscuously,
and sow in the grass by the hut by the creek,
'A brief list of some British plants (weeds) lately noticed, Trans., Vol 18.'
Like this the stranger fights
sending out disguised
and look-alike the crowd
a push for space
chaos slows and sorts itself
the plants supplant
one by one for another
species of the colour
until the work is done
the weed is made indigenous
the land replete
rugulose: not known.
prob. rugose. roo-gos. bot. – (of leaves)
having a roughly-veined surface
a wrinkle, fold, or ridge
rugosely – adv.
rugosity – noun
Of leaves rugate rugosely (bot)
rugged ruga ridge unknown
terete from base to tip acute
Of wrinkled leaves in jubilee
sub-revolute, obtuse near tip
decurrent at ovarium free
in margin, skirts, and pedicel
where others infiltrate in grass.
Laciniate lip lascivious pass, so
turgid in the number of its flowers, so
bifid in the summer of its days.
[ iterate ]
[Section 6: Caladenia variegata]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1885. 17:p.248)
Plant.: erect,6" -12" high,glandular-pubescent,pubescence pink-tipped
Scape: red, sub-rigid not succulent, slender above leaf, stoutish
below, arising from thickened node, having three clasping
membraneous acute sheaths, one at base enclosing scape and
leaf, one at middle 6-8" long, and one close under ovarium.
Root: rather long, stoutish, ending in a long white tuber big as a pea.
Leaf: single, 1/2-1" from base, 6-8" long, 1-2" wide, linear-acuminate,
thick, glabrous, channelled green on upper and purplish-red
on under surface, slightly ciliate at edges and very sparsely
pubescent underneath on the lower portion with long weak
Flower: single on top of scape, perianth spreading more than 1/2"
diameter; dorsal sepal green, arched, sub-oblong-obovate,
obtuse and apiculate at apex, produced glabrous above; lateral
sepals pinkish,oblong,apiculate,longer than petals,3-nerved;
petals pink,oblong-lanceolate, apiculate, falcate; lip sessile; disk
with two longitudinal rows of bright-yellow stipitate glands
having large globular heads, extending from inner part of middle
lobe down into the throat, with smaller glands scattered on each
side, and one or two at the margin of extreme base of the middle
lobe; the two lateral lobes are transversly banded with light-purple
margins, white, rounded at tips; middle lobe deltoid, deeply
crenulate, recurved, bright yellow; column winged throughout
green, pubescent at top, transversly banded below with light
purple, similar to lateral lobes; anther acute, tip subulate,
margin finely fimbriate.
Ovary: 8-9" long, linear-obovate, sulcate, densly glandular-pubescent.
Hab: Plentifully, but only in one spot, among mosses or fallen and rotten
Fagus trees, and on the ground along-side, in rotten vegetable soil,
shady woods, top of a high hill near Norsewood. Dec.1883. W. C.
Obs: Closely allied to the two known N.Z. species -- C.lyallii and C.minor,
and also to several Tasmanian and Australian species -- C.carnea,
alata, and angustata; but while serving naturally to unite them
differing from them in all important characters. C.minor, which is
so common in the north (B.O.I.) I have never met with in these
Subulate lata lateral at the lobes delicate
carnea consummate in glabrous vegetable
green falcate fimbriate the column 6
small succulent pink grace gold
go minor soil scent to lyall musk
glandular-globular tip pubescent
as big as a pea under ovarium slightly
ciliate stipitate at the extreme base W.C.
NOTE:1865. Essay on
the Botany of the North
Island of NZ. Dunedin,
printed tor the Comm-
issioners, by Ferguson
and Mitchell lp.1. 58pp.
patched beneath the tree
and cold collection
in the vasculum
to the thinnest line of being
too frail to flower
in the spring
but every spring
at the edge
whose word took form
would it be this,
that caught insects,
trapping by carnivorous trick,
with scent or imitation?
Or would you,
by a better part,
put beauty before invention?
In colour of your choice?
White's in the tradition you prefer.
You draw it into form
to mimic animal graces
with filaments and faces.
Or the column, gold,
where male and female
fill their vocations
for your androgynous pleasure?
You might speak as scent,
sweet sun on green,
of slow decomposition into food
for all living.
fine, full, so strong,
to feed the flower
and hold the leaf.
Would you do that –
to the sun and rain you make,
to the earth you're from?
sub-oblong-obovate.sub-,1. a prefix meaning “under” ,"below",
"slightly", and sometimes used with
the notion of assistance. Occurring
in loan words from Latin.
2. subscription, substitute, suburban,
–oblong-(ob'lōŉg', -lôŉg'), adj.
1. elongated, usually from the square or
2. in the form of a rectangle, one of
whose dimensions is greater than
-n. 3. an oblong figure.
–obovate (ob ô vāt), adj.
ovoid with the narrow end at the base.
as certain fruits. [OB + OVOID]
'this variety of pear is markedly sub-oblong-obovate.'
Linear-acuminate thick glabrous
channelled green on upper
and purplish red on upper
throat in the form of a rectangle
arising from a thickened node
at middle (ob ô vāt)
- and apiculate at narrow end
of base at middle in one spot
in a long white tuber as big
as a pea sub-rigid slightly
stipitate under ovarium
pubescent down into the throat
as certain fruits fimbriate
on a high hill in Tasmania
-loŉg' with light purple
banded in southern parts
[Section 7: Gastrodia leucopetala]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1886, 18:p.268)
stone in there.
None come to say ‘Here you are at last!
Thank you for those scrupulous reports,
May posterity its praises pour upon you!
We feel we know N. Z. quite as well as you
(the President will say)
and your wife!
How kind of you to come.
And haven’t you a child?
A handsome boy,
so like what we imagine a New Zealander to be.’
He stands there,
feels his watch and says
‘How wise you were to watch and write.
You’ve sent us quite a Testament –
Epistles and your Acts,
and probably a Gospel too –
if one searched for it;
Creation to Destruction,
and – from what we hear –
return to life with joyous acclamation.
What’s more –’
I’ve lost sight.
Knock again –one
That last time
they let me in so I could strut
O Privilege! O Blessed!
To name my Paradise,
to build my Babylon!
Knock once more:one
‘Mr. Colenso, you’ve done it! Succeeded!
No need for bibles now.
Your name’s up there with the best,
the things of your world below. Why the hurry?
Do stay and tell
of the wonders that you’ve put about your land.
Everybody knows it,
in black print and white,
in the Transactions of the Royal N. Z. Institute forever.
Now you can face your days –
fourscore years and rather more
It’s well you lived.’
Was it so?
Say to the President:
Elizabeth has left me
and Willie’s come to you. I’m wordless,
so I write,
page upon page of discovery,
(I’m congested with newness,
my throat choked,
heaviness at heart)
harmonies of sun and sea
so precious rare and delicate
they rest on me
and my name, to be.
I daren’t turn my back nor blink,
lest they die.
That’s why I wrote, Mr. President,
and have not returned.
‘Then, William, it’s as well you lived so long.
You found sense when you were seventy,
as a man does when life’s a friend,
and gifts aren’t blown by haste.
Your burning years were left behind,
and you lived unconsumed;
your nature brass,
you made it gold,
Grey-gastro-sweet flesh cylindric
transact 8 bract perfoliate in dark
place in bush brown spot sin
ventricose mouth out obtuse and
emarginate in perianth tube verrucose
disc quinquefid below equisetum
anterior portion much curved upwards
NOTE: 1880. On the
vegetable food of
the ancient N.Zers
before Cook’s visit.
Trans., Vol. 13, pp. 3
This is one of those plants that like dark places.
We might, in consequence, think it an inferior thing.
I don’t know why we do this, or rather
I do, but I don’t agree with the attitude.
Things live in dark places because the food is there,
And there is room.
We dislike the dark because we can’t see in it,
Nor see dangerous things that live in it;
Therefore dark has become a symbol of evil
And the opposite of light, which makes life.
But darkness must be kind to the life
She grows, must be a soothing parent.
I find the Gastrodias attractive and interesting orchids.
the subject’s always right,
in itself correct.
All living things are accurate,
with own centricity.
Each has axis through the core
and turns in gravity.
Being is enough to justify a name.
Life is not levity;
it gathers in likeness groups.
Departures from the type
are not faulted nor diminished
from those that more closely conform.
A name codes recognition,
but does not make identity,
nor signify lightly.
quin . que. fid(kwin ’ kwə fid, kwiñg’–), adj.
cleft into five parts, or lobes.
[QUINQUE– + FlD]
Note: quinque–, an element meaning
‘five’ occurring in loan words from
[ ' ] long grey-greyish flesh
and equisetum rings sub
haste in papillose diver-
gences at base of purple stripes.
I believe the purplish stripes
within the perianth tube
are adnate branches angular
where inverse spots intrude
Perfoliate papillose and brown.
(kwin ‘waə fid) adnate
in five parts pendant lobes.
Ventricose, cylindrical, not
pure white no specimen
anterior I believe nor ver
rucose post-anthesin [L] n.
[Section 8: Microtis papillosa]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1886. 18: p. 269)
Plant rather stout, finely & thickly papillose.
Leaf erect, fistulous, ribbed internally, much
longer than scape. Flowers not crowded,
pedicelled. Bracts oblong, acuminate, acute,
1-nerved, longer than pedicel, adpressed to
flower. Upper sepal orbicular, 3-nerved, con
cave, apiculate; lower pair ovate, very obtuse;
labellum oblong, waved and crisped, bifid.
Sinus broad, truncate at base, apical lump at
base of sinus, large, verrucose, continuous to
the two lumps at base of labellum, which are
again divided, so making four. Hab. Kaipara
Heads, West Coast, North Island; Oct. 1884.
Mr. C. P. Winkleman in letter. Flowering Oct.
Six segments separate out at
Kaipara cliff in six spicata
Winkleman fistulous list at
[ low tide Oct. when there’s ]
access in the sinus scrub not
sweet root west from the sea
stout Kaipara column 4 at
green grass near light. C.W.
NOTE: On a New Zealand
fungus that has of late
years become a valuable
article of commerce. 1884
85. Trans. of the Penzance
Natural History and Anti
quarian Society. W.C.
God speaks out of the leaves
of a hange-hange tree –
to the space between
and the mute reply.
Do you believe,
or do you think so,
that you ought?
I do believe.
You don’t much engage yourself on my behalf.
My little Job!
How else have you lived so long.
Few have, hereabouts.
With what profit?
As I remember your words,
one should live to purpose.
Where have I said that?
One may live,
but why to purpose?
Why differ from me in that respect?
You have the advantage:
you say as you please,
I must be modest.
And for that there’s reward:
a few more years.
Another ten, and then some.
Of raupo and mud,
like the last?
You are an adulterer.
Do you expect my blessing?
A fornicator, not an adulterer.
You press me too hard.
As you do the Maori.
You’re turncoat there.
They betrayed me,
who gave myself for them
that they might live.
You are high-flown
and use my words loosely.
I think you expected them to be,
that you might live.
Again, how can I reply?
I might be judged impertinent.
And you might be judged a foolish man.
and have turned Methodistical.
The church forsook me.
No need to leave it.
You know I dislike disloyalty.
The prejudice has ended many lives.
But I forgive.
to each word.
You will hear if you’re still,
though not clearly.
I can’t afford to be too clear,
so you will only hear on the bounce-back,
as it were an echo,
like a prophecy.
I am going to restore you.
To wisdom, wealth, to status, then the church.
It will be as in your youth,
at Penzance –
the upward step.
To the world it will seem a consequence of your
‘Tracts for the Times;
No. l; On the Sabbath and its due Observance’,
which matter doesn’t trouble me,
but even I must be politic
with the society I made,
and its intelligence.
to use your knowledge of the Polynesian Language,
and of Botany,
but I recommend that you forget about the Bible.
Leave that to me –
not that I wrote it,
but it is my responsibility.
and I will send my Angel of Munificence
to make your life a palace,
a house on the hill (in immigrant style)
with carpets and personal care.
What of my age?
I’m tired of daring initiative.
Join, please, the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute.
Take a position of power.
Be the secretary.
You will meet the Bishop
and become his friend.
All else will flow from there –
privilege, orders, the lot.
It’s always the way.
There’s nothing like a resolute co-ordination
of time, people, and foresight.
As a plan for progress it’s infallible,
and so am I,
when I use it.
And the flesh –
what do I do about that?
Leave it to me.
I made it.
[Section 8a: variant first state]
Hab.M.papillosaQ. What is your name.
[Quid nomen est?]
Q. Who gave you this name.
A. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptism.
Q. What did they then for you.
A. They did promise and pronounce three things in my name
First, that I should renounce the pomps and vanity of this
Secondly, that I should forsake the sinful lusts of the flesh.
Thirdly, that I should keep God’s holy will and command-
Q. Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe, and to
do, as they have promised for thee.
A. Yes, verily, and by God’s help so I will.
Q. Tell me, how many commandments there be.
Q. And which is the seventh.
A. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Q. What dost thou chiefly learn by these ten.
A. I learn two things: my duty towards God, and my duty
towards my neighbour.
Q. What is thy duty to God.
A. My duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him,
to love him, and to serve him loyally all the days of my life.
Q. What is thy duty towards thy neighbour.
A. My duty towards my neighbour is:
To be true and just in all my dealings,
To bear no malice nor hatred in my heart,
To keep my hands from picking and stealing,
To do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall
please God to call me.
God speaks out of the leaves
of a hange-hange tree –
to the space between
and the mute reply.
to each word.
You will hear if you’re still,
though not clearly.
You will hear on the bounce-back,
as it were an echo,
like a prophecy.
Join, please, the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute.
Take a position of power.
Be the secretary.
You will meet the Bishop
and become his friend.
All else will flow from there –
privilege, orders, the lot.
It’s always the way.
There’s nothing like a resolute co-ordination
of time, people, and foresight.
As a plan for progress it’s infallible,
and so am I,
when I use it.
fistulous(fis’ çhōo ləs), adj.
1. Pathol. pertaining to or resembling a fistula
2. tubelike: tubular.
3. containing tubes or tubelike parts.
also: fis’ tu. lar, fis. tu. late (fis’- çhōo lit).
[< L. fistulōs (us)]
see: fis’tulous with’ers.
Plant the two longer than Sinus broad,
1-nerved, longer base or sinus, large,
Leaf erect, fistulous, pedicelled. Bracts
oblong, labellum oblong, waved and
flower. Upper sepal orbicular, 3-cave,
apiculate; lower pair ovate, very again
divided, so making four. rather stout,
finely and thickly papillose lumps at
base of labellum, which are scape.
Flowers not crowded, truncate at base,
apical lump at than pedicel, adpressed
to verrucose, continuous to ribbed intern
ally much acuminate, acute, crisped,
bifid, nerved con-obtuse.
[Section 9: Orthoceras caput-serpentis]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1890. 22: p.490)
Root2 large narrow-oblong tubers 2” long, sub-terete.
Stem18” long slender, green, rigid, wiry. 1 short broad basal bract
Leaves2, near base, sheathing, very narrow, sub-terete throughout, deeply
channeled, margins closely involute, tip acute; 3 cauline leaves
much shorter, distant, oppressed.
Flowers few (5) distant; raceme short, 3” long; pedicels each with a green
bract at base, broadly ovate, suddenly acuminate, shorter than
flower. Perianth open, gaping, sub-labiate; dorsal sepal concave,
flattish, sub-orbicular, shining, green without red-purple within
towards base, obsoletely veined longitudinally, margins entire, thin,
slightly incurved; lateral sepals spreading, divergent at nearly right-
angles, thickish, narrow, wiry, deeply channeled, margins conniving,
purple-spotted, tip sub-acute; petals sub-oblong-ovate, purplish, tips
truncate, 3-toothed, sides not excised. Lip dark purple-red with a
central yellow longitudinal line, glabrous, 3-lobed, lobes deeply cut,
the 2 lateral erect, produced, sub-triangular-ovate dimidiate, obtuse,
margins entire, thickened and slightly concave, and a large rounded
yellow callus at base its tip re-curved, a minute colourless gland
arising from base or labellum under the tip of the large yellow callus,
no claw. Column green, acuminate, with thin yellow margins, the 2
appendages sub-linear, longer than column, curved, subulate,
papillose, tips acuminate, acute. Anther broadly ovate, acuminate.
Stigma large and with rostellum sub-quadrate-urbicular, much
broader than anther.
Ovarynarrow-oblong-clavate, slightly ribbed, ribs very obtuse; grass-green.
Hab.Open ground near River Moawhango, County of East Taupo; 1889:
Caput tophet at the dimidiate road
by the sides or distich as describe
the unknown conniving clavate in
crisis for 1 short broad base shin-
ing green-by-the-sides serpentis
perianth in the apical lobe of the
quadrate-orbicular columnar stigma
NOTE: Memoranda of an
excursion made in the
northern island of New
Zealand in the summer
of 1841-2 … Tas. Journal
Vol. 2, pp. 210-34, 241-308,
1846. (A reprint of the
article in the London
Journal of Botany.)
In crisis and critical places
by slip or fall
track roadside bank
where cutting clay
old turf stone
to new-made sites
in pakeha regime
It formally sits like an insect unknown
in flight or bred
from a botanical mind
invented for the purpose
entry to dark-parted to
legs lifted to
or token of it.
dimidiate.(di mid’ē āt, dī; adj. also di mid’ ē it) v.,
–at . ed, -at . ing. adj.
1. Heraldry. to combine
(two coats of arms)
so that the dexter half of one coat
is placed beside
the sinister half of the other.
2. divided into halves.
[< L. dimidiat (us) divided in half
(p. + p of dimidiare) = dimidi (us) half or
dimid(ium) a half
(see DI-‘, MEDIUM) + –atus–ATE’]
–di. mid’i. a’tion, n.
1890. 22: p. 490
1 short broad basal bract
volute acute; 3 cauline
and from his presence hid themselves
no claw conniving
sides not excised
central bright yellow
black as a front-ful sky
base its tip
claw column green acuminate
[Section 10: Pterostylis patens]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1886. 18: p. 270)
Stem stout, 1-flowered, 4 inches high; 2-3 short ovate acute brownish and scarious bracts near base;
Leaves 4-5 stem-leaves, equidistant, 3 inches long, 5-7 lines broad, sub-linearlanceolate not narrowed at base, sub-acute, recurved and revolute, thickish, finelypapillose, keeled, 3-nerved, nerves obscure; uppermost leaf shorter, close to base of ovary, l & 1/2 inches long, erect, half the length of perianth and sub-clasping.
Perianth large, very open, bladdery, particularly at base, which is sub-globular, somewhat sub-quadrate in outline and very wide; upper parts of segments brownish-red and extending low down on lateral sepals. Galea erect, broadly arching and flat above, 2 inches long without tip; tip of dorsal sepal hooked, sub-acuminate, extending ½ inch beyond lateral petals, which are strongly 1-nerved, broad at tips, and acute; lower lip, the entire part thrown forward and downward, cuneate, 3/4 inch long, much concave between lobes, their margins incurved above, and the lobes suddenly and completely reflexed below base of upper bract (or floral leaf), tapering into stoutish points more than 1 inch long. Labellum prominent, very irritable, linear oblong, 10 lines long, 2 & 1/2 lines wide, truncate at base, recurved at tip, with a longitudinal central stout ridge throughout; tip thick, obtuse, red, minutely papillose claw stout, curved, nearly 2 lines long, a thick green protuberance on under-surface opposite to its base, and a large tuft of stoutish spreading fimbriae at tip, which are also lobulate or branched; rotund slender, wings incurved. large, more than 4 lines long, front margins sub-sinuate with a long finely-subulate erect tooth from upper front angle rising above anther lower lobes obovate or oblong and rounded, margins entire; stigma long, narrow not prominent, at its central base an erect subulate white appendage, 2 lines long, projects forward from between two finely incurved corrugated lines or side-angles of lower column.
Hab. Forests, hilly country, near Norsewood, County of Waipawa; 1883-84 W.C. Glenross, County of Hawke’s Bay; 1884: Mr. D. P. Balfour.
Obs. 1. I first detected this plant in 1883, but then, while perfect, it was past flowering. Believing it to be a new species, I brought away carefully its tubers and planted them in a pot, and they have grown strongly and flowered. l have had, however, but one fresh flower to examine, but this was so large, fully developed and gaping, that I had no difficulty in so doing, and that without breaking-up or even gathering the specimen. Its form is striking, and its habit peculiar; all its floral parts being so very open and free, and its lateral sepals wholly deflexed horizontally; in these characters I have not seen anything like it among all the flowers of the genus, neither in these species of N.Z. , nor in those of Australia and Tasmania.
Obs. 11. I may also remark that a slenderer plant of the same height grows close to the above, (in the pot), as if from a twin tuber, the three leaves of this one are near the top of its stem, and are about as long as those of the other, but are sub-linearspathulate; it has also a similar scarious bract at the base. It may be the barren or leafing form (young) of this species; as such obtains among some of the Australian and Tasmanian species – as for instance, in Pt. obtusa, Br., Hook. fil. , “Flora Tasmaniae”, pl. 115, c.
Transact bract scarious various pairs
2 perianth past perfect labellum linear
Galea sub-quadrate downwards like
Australia glossolalia in the lower column
white near Waipawa.
Sub-clasping at the fimbriae.
Not lobulate 3 W.C.
NOTE: 1883. Three literary papers
read before the Hawke’s Bay
Philosophical Institute 1 and 2,
On Nomenclature; 3, On Mac
aulay’s New Zealander. Napier.
‘Daily Telegraph’ office 41 p
Dear Mr. Balfour,
You’re led, I believe,
by a noticing eye,
promiscuous before your other parts
You note, I think,
that in a country of this temperament
there’s no place nothing grows,
That everywhere a roving eye
might find a flower
for fingers of fine feeling
fair to pluck.
You know, I’m sure,
that rush of rare discernment
when a variant presents itself
by labellum and lip
like those before and after your
through all these coasts
in forest and in
above the bush
in tussock where the orchids grow
of a tree
or open, free
II.fully its tubers
and planted in a pot
so that it might become domesticate
over time transform
to take itself assurance
dispose in style
confident with grace
of a flower that is looked at
cuneate.cu. ne. ate (kyoo’nē it, –āt’ ), adj.
1. Also, cu-ne-al (kyoo’nē al). wedge-shaped.
2. (of leaves) triangular and tapering to a point at the
Also, cu’ ne. at’ ed. [< L. cuneāt (us) = cune (us)
a wedge + –ātus–ate’]
–cu’ ne.ate–ly, adv.
upper parts sub-quadrate
tip; tip1 & 1/2
the entire part thrown largely forward and downward
forward and downward
above 2forward and downward
labellum prominent, very irritable, linear-oblong, 10 lines long
1 inch long
10 lines long
more than 4 lines long
[Section 11: Prasophyllum variegatum]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1888. 20: p. 208)
Stem slender, erect, 5 inches high, green above, red below, minutely speckled with white papillose spots, sulcated on one side, with a loose sheath below near base. Leaf, 1/4 inch under spike, very short, about 1/2 inch long, striate, adpressed, subacute, tip thickened. Spike short, 1/2-3/4 inch long, few, (3.5.8,) flowered; flowers rather distant, drooping; bracts very small, adpressed, broad, truncate and retuse. Perianth greenish tinged with red, small, 1-1 & 1/2 lines long; dorsal sepal broadly ovate, 3-veined, tip acute; lateral sepals ovate-acuminate, 3-nerved, tips sub-mucronate, dilated; lateral petals very small, narrow, lanceolate-acuminate, 1-nerved, tips acute, labellum short, sub-cordate-ovate, sub-acute , reticulately veined, 1-nerved, the nerve central and very narrow, margins red, sub-tuberculate-fimbriate; anther large; column very short. Ovary sub-erect, 3 lines long.
Hab. Glenross, County of Hawke’s Bay; 1887: Mr. D. P. Balfour.
Obs. I have received several specimens of this plant, but all, save one, had just passed flowering; they were very much alike, merely differing (as above noted) in the number of their flowers.
Red slender green grow papillose O
Spot speck 1 on loose spike sheath leaf near thick
Thick spike short sub
Adpressed depressed truncate reticulate and
NOTE: 1881. On the fine
perception of colours
possessed by the ancient
Maoris. Trans. Vol. l4, pp.
If you make me mad
and drive me wild in branch and vine,
I will let my nails grow,
weave mats, and a hat,
Make myself a raupo hut,
a whare, a fire,
Near the sea for
rocks, for fish,
Alone, and loose.
I will boil roots roast ti,
eat scurvy grass,
Drink kawakawa soup
stir seaweed stew,
Mash maikaika, eat watercress,
And roam entranced in search of sense.
Prasophyllum means leek-leaf
and refers to the bent leek-like leaves
of these orchids.
The genus was described in 1810
by Robert Brown
and consists of about 80 species
mostly in Australia.
The four species known here
are P.colensoi after William Colenso,
the early botanist;
P.patens, meaning wide-spreading,
(referring to its flowers);
P.pumilum, meaning very small,
(referring to its size);
P.nudum, meaning nude,
(referring to its reduced leaf).
P.variegatum was included in
P.rufum by Cheeseman.
and the light on the world dimmed
just a little ( imperceptibly)
as if / as if
a star had died from the sky
and all the jewels on earth lost lustre
(just a bit) and value
Hatch reinstated the name P.nudum (1947)
the weather clears
rain falls mostly at night
city smog sweeps out to sea
shares sell and you smell
the westerly gorse
when wind blows down from the hills
P.colensoi is distributed widely
and occupies a range of habitats.
transaction.(tran–sak’şhən, –zak’–) n.
- act of transacting;
fact of being transacted.
- an instance or process of transacting.
- that which is transacted, esp.
a business agreement.
- transactions, the published reports of proceedings,
as paper read,
at the meeting of a learned society
or the like.
[late ME < L. trānsactiōn– (s. or trānsactiō)
see TRANSACT, –ION
be lead by well-intentioned hands
green above red below
and huge snails
as paper read / address delivered
long striate sheath sulcated
perianth greenish tinged with red
tine percept of colours owned
of colours possessed
[Section 12: Thelymitra purpureo-fusca]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1885. 17: p. 249)
The whole plant exceedingly slender, of a dusky purple-brown or purplish-red colour; tubers narrow, oblong. Leaf narrow, 1 & 1/2-3 lines wide, 7- 10 inches long, thickish, channelled, glabrous. Scape erect, very slender, almost filiform, bibracteate, 8-10 inches long; raceme 3-5 flowered (occasionally only one); flowers rather distant, bracteolate on long slender pedicels; perianth 1/2 inch diameter; sepals dark purple-brown edged with a green line, a yellow central stripe and broad white exterior margins, sub-ovate-acuminate, much concave, dorsal one largest, the two laterals with a long mucro; petals light pink, sometimes white, elliptic-oblong, obtuse broader than sepals; lip the smallest; column pink dashed with blue, apex stout, much emarginate, incurved, dark and edged with bright yellow (as in T. nemoralis), but the plumose appendages are more produced and rise above the column; anterior base slightly erose; stigmatic gland similar to that of T. nemoralis; anther very acuminate, tip subulate.
Hab. In Fagus woods on dry hills with the preceding species, but usually higher up; 1881-83. W.C.
Obs. I have both sought and watched this plant very closely; from the fact of its widely different appearance at all stages from T. nemoralis, and yet, on examination and dissection, I find it possessing such scanty differential characters; the principal one consisting in its plumose staminodia rising above the tip of the column – its narrower and variegated sepals – its slenderer proportions and dusky aspect and fewer flowers. In all these however it is very uniform; as I have seen and examined (though patiently and waiting for their development) some scores of flowers and plants. It also has a peculiar habit of growth, being often found in little clumps (like crocuses and jonquils) from which arise 6-12 scapes. It wears a very striking and elegant appearance, when its dark perianths with their segments edged with white are about expanding, from their contrasts in colour. Notwithstanding the columnappendages being produced beyond its tip, while in T. nemoralis they are below it, this species is naturally very closely allied to that one.
Leaf glabrous thickish largest grown
10 raceme-flowered bracteolate
On perianth pedicel six on eight
1/2 inch sepal column tall
Pink petals dorsal lip long small
Dashed blue apex stout incurved
Plumose base erose 1-nerved. W.C.
NOTE: A Maori-English Lexicon:
being a comprehensive dictionary
of the New Zealand tongue …
Wellington, Govt. Print. XI, 111
(21) p. Proceeds as far as word
Sedges seed in peculiar shapes
of sunbursts, switches, brooms
One bough with a withered fern
fall to frost the fertile floor
of Rewa, Toru,
and huge snails.
A rimu’s bark is flaking off –
a skin of shingles.
A vine entwines the punga trunk.
It reaches like a rope
for an Indian
to the sky.
The Toru calls home to tea;
the Manuka makes it.
Tanekaha clears the air
that sea and forest, wind, prepare.
Dear Mr. President,
To my great disappointment I depart now for the Antipodies without bidding farewell to you, or the members, conjointly. It was my earnest wish to do so. The years of my youth have been directed and improved by membership of the Penzance Natural History Society, and I do not hesitate to add that the wonders of creation, so often illustrated at the monthly meetings, have led me to adore the Creator to whose service I now dedicate my life.
It is not likely that I shall again be able to attend a meeting of the Society, and therefore I did especially desire to make a proper departure. You may well imagine my chagrin when my entry was prevented by Mr. Thomas the doorkeeper. Though I remonstrated with him, he insistently maintained that the rules prohibited my entry. That is true. During my time in London, and in the confusion of my preparations prior to the implementation of my calling, I had overlooked the renewal of my subscription, and am not a financial member.
Was it right, I ask myself, to so apply the letter of the law? For some years I have been a diligent and loyal member of the Penzance Natural History Society, and have in gratitude sought its welfare. Surely some small return was due me.
I pressed Mr. Thomas to seek permission for my entry; he left, to consult you, and returned with your refusal. I cannot find it in me to believe him, that you would be so severe, and must conclude that his own pride forced him to untruth.
To leave so anonymously pains me, and tarnishes many golden recollections. They cannot be entirely lost, however, and at the Antipodies I shall devote my leisure (such as God might permit) to the study of the Anthropophagi; and to the gathering for you specimens of the geology, ornithology, ichthyology, conchology, entomology, and botany of that interesting portion of the globe.Your servant,
staminodium(stam’ə nō dē əm) n., pl. –di.a (–dēə)
Bot.a sterile or abortive stamen.
a part resembling such a stamen.
also, stam-i-node (stam’ə –nōd’)
staminody(stam no de) n.
Bot. the metamorphosis of any of various
flower organs, as a sepal or a petal,
into a stamen
[STAMINODIUM, with –Y3r. –IUM]
see also: staminate, staminiferous stamen, stamina.
slender dusky purplish-brown or
bracteolate on long lines wide
in a haze of mauve intuition
musk scent of meaning
plumose appendages are much produced
on a brown-edged mucro
or staminodia rising erose
and usually abortive; higher up
the sun sinks with enthusiasm
on the artifacts of earlier ages
when its dark brown perianths
are about expanding
[Section 13: Pterostylis subsimilis]
(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1896. 28: p. 611)
Plant 8in. high. Leaves, radical O; stem-leaves 5, distant, lanceolate, much acuminate, the four uppermost 4in. long 1/2 in. wide, the lowest leaf small and narrow 2in. long, sessile, half-clasping, very membraneous; midrib slight; veins distantly reticulated, forming long areoles; near base of the stem 3 short sheathing bracts. Scape slender, 1-flowered. Galea erect, curved; dorsal sepal 2in. long, very acuminate; petals linearlanceolate, 17 1/4 in. long, acute; lower lip deltoid, 2in. long, its two lobes long and slender with filiform red tails embracing galea; labellum red, 3/4 in. long lanceolate, veined; veins parallel; midrib stout, minutely papillose, tip truncate; appendages broadly cuneate, curved, trifid, tips fimbriate; column erect, wings large 3 & 1/2 lines long; lower lobes much produced, obtuse, rounded; upper lobes or teeth very narrow erect, shorter than column; the uppermost dorsal margin of wings rounded and free from column; anther-hood large, erect, concave, apicular, reddish; stigma long, wider than column. Ovary 7 lines long, very slender.
Hab. Ruahine Mountain-Range, east side: Mr. A. Olsen; 1894.
Obs. A species prima facie resembling P. speciosa, Col.
(Trans. N.Z. Institute., vol.XXII., p. 488).
Radical O in the four uppermost 4
inches long lowest lanceolate leaf
membraneous midrib sessile clasp
near areole near papillose base by
slender scape long galea reticulate
linear-lanceolate embrace labellum
tip truncate appendage broad 3
stout produced acute and red W.C.
NOTE: 1883. A further con
tribution towards making
known the botany of New
Zealand. Trans., voL l6. pp.
By the trunk
an old skin peeling
used ears beyond all use
lost fingers feeling
eyeless in the dim dun sun
cold clay crumbling
no mouth to mouth the words
hard hostility to all
that beat about for growth
where needles fall
the flower’s like the leaf
and seems the same material
sewn in shape
not showy but
a purse, a sac
or customed cover
no loving but an
erotic function in a pale green balloon
or trap to hold a hostage
to reproductive deed
for private gain
not vegetable but
an awful collation of intention
a machicolation of desire
a. a rigid, relatively slender, upright support,
composed of relatively few pieces,
b. a decorative pillar, composed of stone or resemb-
ling stone in proportions or detailing, typically
having a cylindrical or polygonal shaft with a
capital and usually a base.
- Any columnlike object, mass, or formation:
a column of smoke.
- A vertical arrangement on a page of horizontal
lines of type, usually justified: there are three
columns to a page.
- A vertical row or list: to arrange the figures in a
- A regular department of a newspaper, magazine
or the like, usually having a readily identifiable
heading and the by-line of the editor, which reports
or comments upon a particular field of interest.
- A formation of ships in single file.
- A long, narrow formation of troops in which there
are more members in the line of movement than at
right-angles to the direction.
A column-like structure in an orchid flower, a sex-
ual organ, composed of the united stamens and style.
[late ME columne < L. columna equiv. to colulm (e)n
peak + a fem. ending; akin to (EX)CEL; r. late
ME: colompne < MF ]
Plant much radical
4 long wide
lip two concave
Two lobes long
erect and apicular
Prima facie dorsal
petals long libidinous
uppermost the areole
trifid deltoid red
on a day grey with age
[Section 14: Pterostylis tristis]
Pt. tristis(Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1886. 18: p. 271)
This is an interesting little species
from its differing so very widely
from all known N.Z. congeners:
yet in several particulars
allied to some of the small Aust. species,
as P. mutica. Br.,
and P. aphylla, Linde.
Its small labellum is very irritable
(like those of some other species of this genus),
closing sharply up against the column
with a spring
on being only slightly breathed on!
and so remaining.
like those of the allied Aust. species above-noted,
mostly wither before flowering.
Pale-pitted dingy grey sub
Concave closely crenulate not
Prominent adpressed to veins
Each pedicel in green
Light-brownish scarcely 1/4 ob
Striped red abruptly arched at
Tip columnar on orbish wings
With circumscription seen
The tree bleeds
one thread of a web
has caught the flow
of sundew drops
a necklace of death
for a fly a bee an ichneumon
one white grub
gone to blood above
NOTE: 1899. 0f a radiant
phenomenon, the N.Z.R.,
and Constantine …
Trans., Vol.32, pp 305-9
For you who gave us so much joy
Our time, mainstay, and praise employ.
For you whose beauties miss the light,
We histories and pictures write.
To you whose life we light upon
Be justice and kind judgement done.
To each whose aims enrich this life
And lived encloistered: drum and fife
And band and marching girls parade
With banners, on the roads you've made.
William Colenso arrived at the Paihia Mission Station on Dec. 30th. 1834, from Cornwall, aged 23. He died at Napier on Feb. 10th. 1899 aged 88, having never returned home to England.
Colenso was engaged as printer to the mission, and in spite of the poor equipment there, quickly proved his worth. He became fluent in Maori, and was required to print texts, worship manuals, translated portions of the Bible, and—notoriously—the Treaty of Waitangi.
However, he was an ambitious man, and not content to remain as printer. There was no doubt about his abilities; his physical strength and quick tongue made him popular with the Maoris, but he clearly wished to improve his station in life—a quite traditional use of the church, and well understood.
Should he fail in this—and it is as if he knew he would—he had a second string to his bow, which he never let out of order. In Cornwall in his youth he had been a keen amateur naturalist, and a member of the Penzance Natural History Society, with which he kept in correspondence for much of his life. At Paihia he found a flora and fauna entirely new to him and of great interest and beauty; names and information about these unfamiliar species were available to him from the Maori and from the literature of exploration, and his eagerness to seek this out soon came to the notice of his superiors at the mission, the Williams brothers.
Already, at this time, the Bay of Islands was a popular port of call, most particularly for victualling purposes. There were small groups of Europeans living at Paihia, Kerikeri, Kororareka, and Te Puna, but Paihia was the most organised of these settlements, and most especially attracted visitors. Many of these were professional men—artists, writers, explorers, scientists. At this high point of European imperialism, knowledge was at a premium, and at least five major scientific expeditions called in at the bay during Colenso’s time there; among these were Darwin and Durville. Such visitors were often given hospitality at the mission station.
He was usually deputed by his superiors to take these visitors on trips into the Northland hinterland; his sharp eye, vigour, and alert curiosity attracted the notice of these men, which soon proved of great advantage to him. With several, such as the botanists Cunningham and Hector, he made long-enduring relationships and correspondences, and built for himself a reputation that was more than amateur. In London he came to be credited with a doctorate which was of course not gained, but neither was it contradicted.
One of the readiest of these outings was to the nearby Kerikeri Falls. Colenso must have grown rather sick of them, for they were popular, and many paintings of them at that time still exist. The gorge below is by its nature in the height of the Romantic tradition, being wild and forested, and it seemed then that everyone wanted to go there.
The falls are so constructed that there is a cave behind, and into this Colenso took an Australian visitor—Allan Cunningham, the Government Botanist from N.S.W., who came in April 1838 for a lengthy stay. There they found a small orchid, referred to in a letter by Cunningham as “my little darling; the subaqueous acianthus of the cavern of the great falls of Keri Keri.” He named it Acianthus rivularis.
Why it was named Acianthus is a puzzle, as it obviously belongs to the genus Corybas, to which it has since been transferred, but we might note that this was a new plant, a new genus to both men, and most likely the information needed to ensure accuracy was back in Sydney, or Kew to where so much was sent by New Zealand botanists, and still remains.
The profession of taxonomist was not one Colenso had preparation for, but from now on he more frequently found himself in this role. Many of the plants he was coming upon had no Maori names, having been not noticed by them or being too imprecise in form to be commonly distinguished. Cunningham was a great help in providing some necessary training, but he damaged his health in his work and died the next year, leaving Colenso on his own, and with a warning to never sleep in wet clothes or he too would contract the same illness.
Opportunities for exercising these acquired skills were unrivalled; the young man’s fitness, language ability, and leadership quality caused him to be sent on missionary expeditions to East Cape and into the North Island interior, where he mapped collected and classified, being explorer scientist and missionary all together.
The act of describing classifying and naming a plant (Taxonomy) does in a sense cause it to come into being, in that it is made distinct from its neighbours and relations. Before this the plant has, of course, existed but not as a recognisedly separate identity. Many New Zealand plants have different forms or foliage at different stages, such as Pseudopanax edgerleyi, named after another botanist of Colenso’s time who discovered the tree at East Cape. Others have different forms according to the climate of the region, and many hybridise extensively. The taxonomist gathers the information available about the species, then organises form and delineation, enabling it to appear as an individual. For this reason the act of ‘naming’ has had a spiritual significance in many cultures, and to some degree in our own. In his later years Colenso did gather about himself an aura or mana, the consequence of this work, which has given so much integument to this new nation.
In doing this there was much opportunity for error, even by the trained professional, as we see in the instance of Acianthus rivularis. Colenso, especially in his earlier years, would send his specimens to Sir William Hooker, the eminent botanist at the Kew herbarium in London, who would do the work of naming them. Confusions occurred. An example is the collection he organised from Mt. Hikurangi at East Cape in 1844, which produced the new species of Aciphylla colensoi and Olearia colensoi, and some others. He employed a collector, whose name was not recorded. His account of the expedition was made many years afterwards, and is both brief and hazy. It could well have happened that any one of those plants found had been collected by an earlier botanist, been named, and left lying unknown in another herbarium. Or the same plant could have been endemic in another land, such as Australia or Chile, and be already well-known there. Such confusions can lie dormant until discovered and corrected by a later researcher.
This can cause difficulties; it’s like discovering a new cousin—the whole family is re-contoured. It has happened to our Kanuka, which was first named a Leptospermum like the Manuka, but has been since put in the genus Kunzea. One might feel defrauded by the former identity, that it was not real. For the Acianthus to become a Corybas is as big a shift. In such a re-location does the plant actually change? Most certainly it must be regarded with new perceptions, if only because it has new relatives.
In later years Colenso encountered difficulties besides those of error. His familiar and supporting colleagues died, and were replaced by professionals who regarded him as an amateur who was inclined to over-classify. It came to be thought he was over-eager, too inclined to make new species, essentially untrustworthy as a scientist, and perhaps in the job for the wrong reasons. He began to claim that the perception his long experience gave was to be preferred above scientific accuracy.
The charge of untrustworthiness was much strengthened by the scandal he had once fallen into at Hawkes Bay, where he had a child to the family’s servant. This occurred when he had charge of the mission station at Clive. The matter became notorious, and he was officially removed from his post of missioner by the bishop. Though restored to the diaconate not long before he died, the fog of scandal remained about him. Not his wife, nor any member of the family, attended his funeral; his papers were tipped down the house well—only those lodged elsewhere survived.
In more recent times the value of his wealth of experience (now that this is removed from his own insistence) has been more accurately assessed, and there is now a tendency by botanists to re-examine his nomenclature, to put more trust in his taxonomist’s instincts.
He himself did not help matters by his tendency to quarrel with other botanists, this being fuelled by a sense of inferiority stemming from his own working-class roots, and enlarged by the domestic scandal. He sought refuge in science from the hurt and frustration that was given him by the dismissal from the church, and eventually he found it.
Early in the history of the colony so-called ‘Philosophical Societies’ were established in each main centre, and these soon became incorporated into an umbrella society called ‘The N.Z. Institute’, which acted as a publisher for the papers delivered at the meetings. Colenso joined the Hawkes Bay Philosophical Society, and usually held high office in it. His first paper to appear in the ‘Transactions And Proceedings Of The N.Z. Institute’ was in vol. 1. 1868. It is an expansive essay on ‘The Maori Races of N.Z.’. He next appears ten years later in Vol. X. with three historical articles, the intervening years having been spent in paid employment as a school inspector in Hawkes Bay, and in politics.
Volume 12 of 1879 also contains a number of contributions from him, including the Article LIV—‘A Description of A Few New Plants from our N.Z. Forests, with dried specimens of the same, by W. Colenso F.L.S. (read before the Hawkes Bay Philosophical Institute, 13th. Oct. 1879).
He begins with this:“During the last few years I have again turned my attention in my spare time to the elucidating a little more of the still unknown botany of our adopted country; being as strong a believer as ever in the great peculiarities and narrow areas of not a few plants of our local floras. And, from among several plants which I have detected, which have pleased me, I now bring you the following—all, I believe, being new species and hitherto undescribed, if not totally unknown to science. Some of them, I think, will interest you, particularly the Clematis, one or two species of Metrosideros, and the three ferns. But, alas! between the most carefully prepared dried specimens and living plants — in all their glory and beauty — there is “a great gulph” of difference”.He named the clematis he claimed as a new discovery C. parkinsoniana, unaware that Raoul had described it in 1846, then naming it C. foetida, which name it still bears.
Of the two ratas he describes, Metrosideros pendens is now classed as a variety of M. colensoi, and his M.subsimilis has been put with M.diffusa.
His Olearia colorata was not accepted as a species, and the same has happened to other plants in that article, such as the ferns he named Dicksonia sparmannia, Hymenophyllum pusillum, and Trichomanes venustula.
At this point he is 68, living alone in his own house at Napier, with 20 years of life ahead. He is botanising as if the local flora is as fresh and undiscovered as it was in 1840, and makes mention, in a footnote, of Dr. Hector’s statement in 1868 that “new things could now hardly be looked for in New Zealand, for the plants were pretty equally distributed, and a number of excellent observers had devoted themselves to exploration in it.” Hector even then was claiming that the job of the botanist had been completed in this country and Colenso, by his own actions, is still continuing to disprove the statement.
Notable in that plant list above is the low score of sustained names. Other New Zealand botanists became more and more doubtful of Colenso’s methods, but most hesitated to comment. The old man was jealous of any ground that he held was his, and could be a bitter critic. With some justification, he felt that his many years of residence and observance in this country gave him a pre-eminence that ought not to be challenged. However, he did not understand how great was the depth and wealth of the scientific knowledge that was being produced in the new country.
At length T. F. Cheeseman, then the botanist at the Auckland Museum, wrote to him in 1884:“I am sorry to say that I find it impossible to accept as distinct species most of the plants you have described in the recent volumes of the ‘Trans. Of the N.Z. Institute.”Colenso’s reply is revealing in its admissions and refusals; in brief:“--- it makes little or no difference –that is, to me. If you knew those plants I have laboured to describe, you would, I think, alter your judgement concerning, at least, some of them: and further, that even in those instances in which I may be wrong (although I am not conscious of any) I shall not have laboured in vain, because I have brought forward in every case certain characters - - - - - - that will be of service to working botanists - - - - -.”The Auckland botanist asked for dried specimens of Colenso’s finds, but was refused, and told that the latter kept no herbarium. This was not strictly true, but was more a means of avoiding acknowledgement of the poor quality of his specimen material, which was carelessly gathered and poorly maintained.
In his latter years he was, in this way, an irritant in national science. Here we are concerned only with plants, but it would be possible to write in a similar vein of his studies of insects, lizards, fish, birds, the moa, and most especially of the Maori, in which subject he was a great debunker of myth. His erratic work caused confusion, and has prevented the reward deserved by his indefatigable diligence, his insights and perceptions. In most recent years, however, the distance of time has enabled a truer perspective, and we acknowledge him now to be one of the first and greatest of those who hold before us an image of this amalgam of land and living things we call New Zealand.
The creation of this species is a particularly interesting instance of the way Colenso’s imagination worked. The identification is of a supposed variant of a very tiny epiphytic orchid, B.pygmaeum, found throughout the country. It is so small it can be easily mistaken for a coarse moss on rock or bark.
One wonders what prompted Colenso to attempt to make a new species of it, for in fact nothing can be found to distinguish the new from the already named. He seems to have become very engaged with the seed-capsule. He had an acute sensibility to the picturesque and unusual, expressing this in occasional verse, which survives in fragments. Grottoes and glades especially aroused his admiration.
On occasions this imagination could serve him well, and enable observation that might be contrary to the culture of the time. For example, as pakeha settlement remorselessly progressed and the bush retreated, taking with it many plants long known to him, he described the process as a desertification.
But he could also be far-fetched; his penultimate publication, “Of a Radiant Phenomenon”, written after a train journey through country that had not even a track when he first came, marvellously involves Constantine and N.Z.Railways in a Wairarapa fog.
In the instance of this orchid he was more than usually far-fetched, being led astray by the ripened seed-capsule, which gapes wide on drying, to expel the dust-like seeds. To Colenso they appeared like the mouth of a gasping fish—hence the name. He made sketches to show it, and in his enthusiasm overlooked the fact that this was in no way unique to the specimen before him, but was a characteristic of B.pygmaeum as a whole.
To defend such errors he would sometimes reply that it is better to add to the sum of knowledge than be accurate about it, which is a defence more suited to a politician than a scientist. However, this same gift of sensibility to the unusual also made him the pioneering botanist he was.
____________________________________________* Transactions of the N.Z.Institute 1894. 26:p.319.
(the specimen was collected near Waipawa)
Is there still time to add to the MS? Over the weekend I stumbled across a piece of very relevant information, and hasten to send it on. It belongs on p. 1, after the paragraph ending ‘given hospitality at the mission station’.
To the references there should be added:
An Illustrated Guide to Fungi on Wood in New Zealand, I.A.Hood, AUP 1992.
‘The British Antarctic Expedition of James Clark Ross called at the Bay of Islands in 1841, and stayed for three months. The expedition’s botanist was Joseph Hooker, who later became the curator at Kew Gardens. Hooker and Colenso went on a number of botanical excursions together; the specimens collected, which included a number of fungi, were later identified in London and published in 1855 as part of the records of the expedition. Some were named after Colenso, such as the large fungus Grifola colensoi, which he found near Eketahuna; this is also found in Australia, thus taking his name abroad. There are a number of such instances.’
I promise not to read any more.
[The texts of Parts 1, 2, 4 & 6 are taken from A Brief Description of the Whole World 6 (1997): 10-19 / 7 (1997): 35-40 / 8 (1997): 62-67 & 9 (1998): 49-54. The texts of Parts 3, 5 & 7-14 (plus the variant states of Part 8) are taken from the complete typescript of all 14 parts in Richard Taylor's private collection. The Afterword comes from online files recovered from Leicester's computer, and was presumably intended for the text prepared for publication (by Alan Loney) in 2001.]
© text: Leicester Kyle, 1996, 1997, 1998 & 2001
© editing: Leicester Kyle Literary Estate, 2011