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Trip Report - Midwinter bryophytes – Otari-Wilton’s Bush

Trip Report – 3 July 2010:   Midwinter bryophytes – Otari-Wilton’s Bush

This outing was planned for mid-winter, expecting that the weather would be foul.   In fact we enjoyed a sunny if cool meander through the alpine garden and along several paths.

We met at the Information Centre where Peter and Rodney gave a half-hour introduction to the characteristics that distinguish mosses from liverworts.   We spent the next hour with hand-lenses examining bryophytes among the rocks and gravel of the alpine garden, and discussing what differentiated one from another.

We studied a variety of habitats: well-rotted logs in the 38 degree garden, sunny banks at the edge of the lawn near Wilton Memorial Gate, deep shade on the soil banks along Richard-d’Urville Path, tree trunks at Burns Bridge, rocky banks along J D Hooker Path, damp rocks at the water’s edge of Mackenzie Burn.   Then we lunched at the shelter at the Troup Lawn.

A few more stops alongside Kaiwharawhara Stream, then up through the formal garden to the Information Centre.   Here we used microscopes to see some of the smaller details – cell structure, the lamellae of a Pogonatum leaf, oil bodies and vita in liverwort leaves.

The leaders’ hope was that at the end of the trip participants would know a liverwort from a moss, and remember the names of a few genera.   How much was learned we will discover on future botany trips.

We thank Rewi Elliot, curator / manager, Otari-Wilton’s Bush, for the use of the Information Centre.

Rodney Lewington and Peter Beveridge

Participants :   Bev Abbott, Gail Andrews, Peter Beveridge (co-leader / scribe), Sam Buckley, Rae Collins, Ian Goodwin, Jill Goodwin, Chris Horne, Priscilla Isaacs, Brenda Johnston, Archie Kerr, Lynsie Kerr, Rodney Lewington (co-leader / scribe), Barbara Mitcalfe, Mick Parsons, Darea Sherratt.


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