Thursday, 21 September 2017

Out and About in Spring - clematis and other plants to see

A single clematis flower fallen to the forest floor
Out and about in Wellington in spring, it would be hard to miss the clematis in flower.

Clematis paniculata or Puawhananga is a native vine that festoons the forest. It's easiest to see on the edges of the forest or looking down on to the canopy.

My tramping group got curious about the clematis flowers looking different. So back home I did some research.

Unlike clematis from other countries, our native clematis has male and female plants. The flowers look a little different.
male flower

Male flowers are generally larger and have pink anthers in the centre.
female flowers
Female flowers have a yellowish-green centre and are slightly smaller.
Male clematis paniculata
Clematis on the forest edges
There has been so much rain lately that the forests are lush, with plump ferns and moss and plenty of mud! This is particularly so where the forests are in cloud and mist a lot of the time. Up there the trees are draped in moss, ferns and lichen.
Forest on Wainui Peak, Kapiti
Old man's beard lichen
I saw this lovely example of a club moss, scientific name Phlegmarius varius. It's often described as a primitive fern. It grows as an epiphyte - on trees.
Phlegmarius varius
Look out for this intriguing plant next time you are in the forest. It's often at eye-height. Look carefully and you will see that each strand divides into two and then into two again. I love the symmetry of that. This is more easily seen in the plant below.
Strands divide into two and two again
As I walk though the forest there is so much to see. But there's nothing like a great view to finish off the morning's walk.
Kapiti Island from Wainui Peak