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


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Printed by John Thomas, East-Street, Penzance.



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1842 Description of some new ferns lately discovered in New Zealand. Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, Etc; 1: 375-379.

Genus, LOMARIA. Willd.

Gen. Char. Sori lineares continui dorsum frondis contractæ tegentes. Indusia marginalia conniventia. Spreng.

1. Lomaria nigra.91 Plant, low, prostrate and spreading; colour, dark green approaching to black. Fronds, ovate-lanceolate, pinnate; 6–8 inches long, 1–1¼ inches broad. Sterile frond; pinnules, alternate, sessile, ovate-ligulate, broadest at base, very irregularly toothed and jagged, revolute, veined, blistered, and roughish; ½–¾ inch long, ¼–⅓ inch broad; two next to lowest the smallest; terminal lobe 1–2 inches long: midrib, tomentose, 5–6½ inches: stipe, channelled, hairy; 1½–2¼ inches; [376] colour dark brown. Fertile frond, pinnate, much caudate: pinnules, alternate, sessile, linear, obtuse, tomentose on upper surface; 1–1½ inches long, ⅙ inch broad; terminal pinnule 2½–3 inches long: midrib, tomentose, fimbriate; 3–4 inches long: stipe, cylindrical, hairy, fibrous, scaly at lower end; 3–4 inches; colour, as that of barren frond.

Hab. Humid places in the dense forest between Tauranga and Rotorua, on the east coast of the North Island. January, 1842.

2. L. linearis.92 Fronds, linear-lanceolate: root, creeping, scaly and downy. Sterile frond, pinnatifid, often deflexed: lobes, semi-oblong, obtuse, revolute, smooth, entire, and veined; ⅜–½ inch long; yellowish green, sometimes reddish: midrib, smooth; 4–6 inches long; scaly, scales long and scattered: stipe, smooth, obtusely angled, scaly at base; 3–4 inches long; brownish red. Fertile frond, pinnate, very erect: pinnules, lowermost opposite, upper alternate, obovate, entire and smooth; ⅙–¼ inch long; brown-black: midrib, smooth; 4–8 inches long: stipe, smooth, obtusely angled, channelled, brittle, and very closely covered with large scales at the base; 7–10 inches long; colour as that of sterile frond.

Hab. Margins of woods, near Te Waiiti, a village in the interior of the North Island, two days journey south east from Rotorua. January, 1842.

Obs. A variety was also found, growing plentifully on dry heaths, near Wakapunake, two days’ journey from Poverty Bay on the east coast, in December, 1841. The fronds, however, only measuring from 2 to 4 inches in length.

3. L. deltoides.93 Fronds, erect, drooping, solitary, oblong-triangular, and caudate. Barren frond, pinnate, upper lobes pinnatifid: pinnules, sessile, close, ligulate-lanceolate, somewhat falcate, obtuse, broadest at base, [377] margined, repand, veined and puckered, and slightly hairy on the veins of under surface; lowermost opposite and auricled; 1¼ –1¾ inches long, inch broad; light green: midrib, upper surface smooth and light brown, under thinly haired and yellowish white; 8–10 inches long: stipe, smooth, channelled; light yellow; 10–12 inches long; rough towards base, base clothed with long brown scales. Fertile frond, pinnate, very caudate: pinnules, sessile, distant, alternate, linear-lanceolate, obtuse, smooth, entire, slightly decurrent, ciliate at margin; lowermost ones opposite; 1½ inches long, ¼ inch broad; upper surface, dull green; middle vein of pinnules prominent and yellow-coloured: midrib, smooth, channelled, yellow; 6–8 inches long; stipe, smooth, channelled, lower part rough and thickly set with long hairs and scales; straw-coloured; 11–14 inches long.

Hab. In woods in Te Waiiti District, nearly same locality as preceding. January, 1842.

4. L. rotundifolia.94 Fronds, lanceolate. Barren frond, spreading, deflexed, pinnate, uppermost lobes pinnatifid: pinnules, sub-rotund, sessile, membranaceous, slightly crenulate; uppermost ones ovate, lower ones opposite; ½–¾ inch long; colour light green: midrib, 6–20 inches long; densely covered with long scales: stipe, cylindrical; 1–4 inches long; brown. Fertile frond, very erect, pinnate: pinnules, alternate, sub-sessile, linear-lanceolate, obtuse, entire, distant; lower ones petiolate; ½–l inch long, ⅛–¼ inch broad; brownish red: midrib, 11–14 inches long: stipe (and midrib), channelled and thickly covered with scales; 2–9 inches long; light brown.



Hab. Dense woods near Waikare Lake, in the mountainous district in the interior of the North Island; five days’ journey from Poverty Bay, on the east coast. December, 1841. [378]

Obs. This fern, in its native forests, presents a very graceful appearance. It there attains a large size (the specimen from which the annexed drawing95 was taken being a very small one, chosen purposely to suit the size of the paper); some fronds having been observed between 2 and 3 feet in length. The fertile fronds, generally 3 in number in each plant, are invariably very erect and ascending, rising directly from the centre; while the numerous barren fronds spread out flat in an half-procumbent manner, enchanting the eye of the observer with a most beautiful, delicate, and ever green circle.

Genus, HYMENOPHYLLUM. Smith.

Gen. Char. Sori circum venam ultra frondis marginem in columellam subclavatnm productam sessilia, indusia frondi continuo bivalvi cincta. Endl.

5. Hymenophyllum frankliniæ.96 Frond, pendulous, lax, ovate-lanceolate, somewhat caudate, bipinnate, margined, silky, membranaceous and downy; 3–5 inches long, 1–1½ inches broad; colour, reddish green: pinnules, pinnate, alternate, lowermost pair opposite; petiolate, falcate, margined, bifid at apex, and obtuse; divisions, cuneate, forked, linear and obtuse; 2, 3, and 4-lobed: fructification, supra-axillary and terminal; orange- coloured: involucre, small, shallow, densely bearded and ciliated: stipe, 1–2 inches long, cylindrical, tomentose, filiform, brittle, and brown-coloured: rhachis, downy: hairs, articulated, coloured, branched into 3, 4, and 5 rays; rays acuminate.

Hab. Climbing trees in woods on the banks of Waikare Lake, interior of the North Island; four days’ journey from Turanga (Poverty Bay). December, 1841.

Obs. This very elegant and new species of Hymenophyllum literally clothes the trunks of the trees on which it lives in its native forests, with the excessive profusion [379] of its fronds. Viewed through a microscope, the cellular tissue, pores, and branched hairs of the frond, present a most splendid appearance. It has been named after Lady Franklin by the discoverer, in commemoration of her recent visit, and of the patronage afforded by her Ladyship to the different departments of Natural Science.

The hairs, as shown in the annexed drawing, are magnified.



Genus, ASPIDIUM. Swartz.

Gen. Char. Sori subrotundi sparsi. Indusia, solitaria orbiculata, medio vel latere affixa. Spreng.

6. Aspidium cunninghamii.97 Frond, pendulous, triangular, caudate, bipinnate, coriaceous, glabrous, light green; length, 14 inches, breadth, at base, 2 inches: midrib, margined towards apex and scaled: pinnules, alternate, lowermost sub-opposite, distant, petiolate, somewhat falcate, caudate, acute; upper ones pinnatifid: petioles, margined and scaled, scales very long: leaflets, sub-opposite, not crowded, falcate, sessile; lower ones, petiolate, pinnatifid, rhombic, bi- tri- and quadrifid and obtuse: sori, at extremity of smallest veins, semi-sphæroidal, much raised: indusium, peltate: capsules, numerous: stipe, 12–14 inches long, channelled, smooth, brittle and scaled; scales long; colour yellow-brown; very distant from each other on rhachis: rhachis, and base of stipe, densely fimbriated; scales light brown.



Hab. Climbing living trees, in the dense forests near Ruatahuna, a village in the interior of the North Island, about five days’ journey from the Bay of Plenty. January, 1842.

Obs. This climbing fern, by far the largest yet seen in New Zealand (some fronds measuring, including stipe, near 3 feet in length), has been named by the discoverer in memory of the indefatigable botanist, his much lamented friend, the late Allan Cunningham, Esq.

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1843 An account of some enormous fossil bones of an unknown species of the class Aves, lately discovered in New Zealand.
Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, Etc; 2: 81-107.
1844 Annals and Magazine of Natural History 14 (89): 81-96.98

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1844 Memoranda of an Excursion, made in the Northern Island of New Zealand in the summer of 1841-2; intended as a contribution towards the ascertaining of the Natural Productions of the New Zealand Groupe: with particular reference to their Botany. 99
Launceston Examiner, Launceston, 95p; reprinted 1846 Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, Etc; 1846; 2: 210-234, 241-308.100

HAVING made arrangements for visiting the native tribes residing on the eastern coast of the Northern island of New Zealand, I embarked at the Bay of Islands, on Friday, November 19, 1841, on board a little vessel bound for Poverty Bay. The wind failing, it was evening ere we rounded Cape Brett, the southernmost head of the Bay of Islands. This peculiarly bold headland has a very picturesque appearance, from a high and perforated perpendicular islet lying off it, called by the natives, Motukokako; which formerly possessed a fortification on its summit. This natural tunnel, large enough to admit of a boat being rowed through it, is visible from a great distance. Many of the rocks on the eastern coast of New Zealand are thus perforated; a circumstance arising from their formation: one such, it will be recollected, is represented in the plates to Cook’s Voyages. The next morning, the wind freshening, we progressed delightfully down the coast, which here is much broken, and but thinly inhabited; the high ground in the back being covered with dense continuous forests of Kauri (Dammara Australis, Lamb.). At Wangarei (Bream Bay), the sand stone formation first conspicuously shews itself; the lofty and fretted peaks of the northern side of the harbour invariably [214] attracting the notice of the most careless observer. Of Manaia, the inner eminence of five jutting peaks, the natives tell a legend, stating that those peaks comprise Manaia, his wife, two children, and slave, who were here turned into stone. Paeko, the slave, is seen in a submissive bending position, just below the others, on the S.E. side of the eminence, to which place he was kicked by his mother! Among the natives, in cases where a female was suspected of adultery, and proofs were wanting, Manaia’s aid was generally invocated in an ancient song. The scenery in this neighbourhood, especially from the village of Parua, looking over Kaiwa Bay, is of a very romantic character.

Evening overtook us off Aotea, or Barrier Island, where copper, and subsequently nickel, has been found. The wind falling calm during the night, we made but little progress. Morning discovered to our view the Mercury Isles, a group of small uninhabited islets lying off the northern head of Mercury Bay; one of the outermost of which has a gigantic perforation completely through, the bases of which natural arch are curiously ornamented with two colossal figures, in a reclining position. I obtained from these isles, a few years ago, fine specimens of menilite, wood stone,101 and chalcedony; of the latter stone, which was unusually fine, large seals have subsequently been cut. Near Mercury Bay, the Dammar forests cease; and beyond Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty, throughout the whole southern part of the island, a Dammar has never yet been seen. The wind being light, we made but little way; at evening, however, we had Tuhua, or Mayor Island, in sight. This island appears to be of volcanic origin, and abounds in pumice, obsidian, slag lava, pitch stone, and other vitreous and volcanic substances. I use the word [215] appear, in consequence of a curious relation, which, some years ago, I received from an old priest, residing in the Bay of Plenty. I bad been enquiring of him, the place where, and the manner how, they in former days obtained the green jade, or axe-stone, for ornaments and weapons of war; in answer to my enquiry, he asserted that this stone was both a fish and a god!—that it formerly lived at the island of Tuhua, whither the priests of all the neighbouring tribes used to go to take it; which was done by diving, accompanied with several superstitious ceremonies, in order to appease its wrath, and to enable them to seize it without injury to themselves—but that suddenly it made the whole island, and the surrounding sea, its cloaca maxima, covering every place thickly with excrementitious substances, which still remain; and swam away to the middle island of New Zealand, where it has ever since resided, and whence they have been obliged to obtain it. I scarcely need add, that those “excrementitious substances” comprise the different volcanic matter with which Tuhua is now covered. Perhaps, after ages may verify the tradition related, by the old priest, and bring to light the soi-disant god, in a buried stratum of axe-stone.

I obtained from this island, some time ago, several fine (though partly damaged) specimens of Argonauta, of a beautiful translucent texture. The whole body of the shell is pearly white, with an ochreous tinge towards the upper part of the largely dentated keels, which, two in number, are there of a dark umber colour, They measure 6-7 inches in diameter, and are closely allied to A. argo; the last whorl, however, is higher, bolder, and more orbicularly involute than in that species, approaching very nearly, in general outline, to that of Nautilus Pompilius.



The wind increasing during the night, the next morning we passed Puiaiwakaari, or White Island, whence the, steam and smoke ascended in dense clouds. On this island, as well as on other smaller islets in this bay, sulphur abounds. Soon [216] after, we sighted Wangaparaua, or Cape Runaway, and towards evening I landed on the little sandy beach in Warekahika (Hicks’ Bay); a small bay between Cape Runaway and the East Cape. At this place I had landed, about five years before, on a visit to the natives of these parts. Several natives ran down to see the foreigner, who had so unceremoniously landed on their shores, by whom I was conducted to their village of miserable hovels among the sand hills. Here I detected, growing in the sand, a pretty little procumbent compositaceous plant, which was new to me; and a small shrubby succulent-stemmed plant, with fleshy leaves, which, from its two-celled capsule, &c., I supposed to be a species of Euphrasia, probably E. cuneata, Forst.; that species having been found in similar situations a little further south, by Sir Joseph Banks, in 1769. At this village I passed the night, and in the morning commenced my march onwards by the. coast. The rocks in this locality, were chiefly composed of sand- and pudding-stone; the latter containing immensely large oyster shells, some of which were petrified, and contained in their cavities very fine chrystals of lime. A walk of a few miles brought me to Te Kawakawa, a village situate on the immediate shore, under a high cliff of white clay. The cliffs here, are composed of a bluish indurated clay, and conglomerate, and abound with marine fossils. One of the chiefs of this village presented me with two fine fresh Wapuku (a species of Gadus, having close affinity with G. morrhua, Lin.), each weighing more than 20lbs. This fine fish is common on the New Zealand coasts; the natives having their marked spots for fishing, near rocks and shoals lying off the land in deep water, where they fish for the Wapuku with hook and line. These preserves are all “rahui,” i.e. private; and scrupulously descend from the chief to his nearest relatives. Any infringement on such a fishing preserve was invariably resented, and often ended in bloodshed. Before the introduction of iron among the New Zealanders, [217] they used the tough forked branches of the Tanekaha (Phyllocladus trichomanoides,) and Kahikatoa (Leptospermum scoparium,) for hooks for this fish; which hooks are still used in many places. For bait, they preferred the flesh of the Tarakihi (a fish which migrates towards these coasts in large shoals in the summer), when in season, using at other times that of the crayfish. During my stay at this place, one of the heaviest hail showers fell that I ever witnessed. The hail were large and rhomboidal; the one-half (laterally) of each stone was composed. of clear, and the other half of clouded, ice. The oldest natives spoke of only remembering one such shower.

Leaving Te Kawakawa, and travelling by the sea-side, I passed by several of the Taro (Caladium esculentum, Vent.) plantations of those natives. These plantations were in nice condition, and looked very neat; the plants being planted in quincunz order, and the ground strewed with white sand, with which the large pendulous dark-green and shield-shaped leaves of the young plants beautifully contrasted. Small screens, formed of the young branches of Leptospermum scoparium, to shelter the young plants from the violence of the northerly and easterly winds, intersected the ground in every direction. Of the Taro plant the natives possess two kinds (species?), Taro maori and Taro hoia; neither of which being indigenous, the former is supposed to have been introduced with the present race of natives, whilst the latter, as they themselves state, is quite of modern introduction.

On these shores, the clayey rocks had been so acted upon by the sea, as to be worn quite flat; in many places stretching out into a continuous horizontal layer of rock, of nearly a mile in length. On them grew a peculiar kind of large procumbent Algæ, which, boiled, is commonly used as an article of food by the natives of these parts; they call it Parengo. The Pohutukawa (Metrosideros tomentosa,) here forms a thick and evergreen rampart between the sea-beach and the [218] main-land, their roots and trunks being often laved with the flowing tide. The wood of this tree is exceedingly hard, close grained, and heavy, and is much in request for knees in ship and boat building. It invariably inhabits the immediate sea-shore, often grotesquely hanging in an almost pendant manner from rocky cliffs and headlands, and, although of irregular growth, attains a large size. Here, in a clayey rock near high-water mark, the natives shew the impression of the foot of Rongokako, one of their illustrious progenitors; the print of his other foot, made in striding hence, being near Poverty Bay, a distance of more than fifty miles! Many marvellous exploits are related of this celebrated personage.102 Near the East Cape I discovered, on a little sandy plain, a species of Veronica, a rambling shrub with large. oblong leaves, which to me was quite new. I did not, as on my former visit, go round the cape (a bold and high promontory composed of indurated clay, reclining back in solemn grandeur, on the face of which, from the continual descent of debris from its summit and sides, nothing grows), it being nearly high-water; but, striking inland through a narrow sandy defile, emerged beyond it to the beach. The natives call this promontory Otiki; and the little islet off it, about half-a-mile from the shore, Te Wangaokeno. Rain coming on, I was quite willing to halt at Te Pito, a small village at the end of the long beach I had just passed, three miles S. of the East Cape. Here, however, on the side of a very steep hill, open to the South Pacific, which rolled its [219] immeasurable billows to our feet, both shelter and food were any thing but obtainable.

The next morning, the weather clearing, I resumed my journey. Ascending the precipitous hill before me, and entering a small wood, I discovered a slender tree of the Melicytus genus, with very long lanceolate leaves, some of which measured 10 inches in length; making the third species of that genus hitherto found in these islands. The view from the rocky summit of this hill was most extensive, and very imposing. Here, on its peak, I gathered a specimen of a very narrow leaved Veronica, which may possibly prove to be a new species; unfortunately, it was neither in flower nor fruit. Descending this hill, and proceeding onwards, I found my new species of Phormium103 (P. Forsterianum, MSS., ined.,) growing plentifully. On the clayey hills in this locality, I found a handsome Pimelea, a shrub 2-3 feet in height. Descending to the beach, through a deep and narrow slaty defile, I was rewarded with specimens of an elegant little monopetalous campanulate-flowered plant; a peculiar species of Plantago, with small leaves, which was quite new to me; and a plant of the Myosotis genus, probably M. Forsterii, Endl. This beach was long and stony, and very tedious walking, the inclination seaward being so great, and the loose stones of which it was composed having their angles washed round, or nearly so. Arriving at the embouchure of the Waiapu River, I turned inland by its northern bank, and proceeded up the valley of Waiapu. My route now lay through the bed of the river, a considerable part of which was at present dry, but in winter (judging from the appearance of the vegetation and stones about me) a mighty torrent. I noticed young trees of the Edwardsia genus being very plentiful here, but whether differing from the two already known New Zealand species, I could not, at this season, [220] determine. A Carmichælia, too, was very common, which differed much in habit from C. australis, found in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands, not being rigid like that plant, and much more filiform, with drooping branches.

Approaching Rangitukia, a large village of the Ngati porou tribe, I was not a little amused and gratified, on observing a written notice addressed to me, fastened to a post by the path side, informing me that the people of the village, who had beard of my arrival, were at their work in their plantations at some distance, and would not return till evening; directing me, also, to the house which I was to occupy, &c. This writing was etched, as it were, with a nail on a leaf of Phormium tenax—a common mode of graphical communication among the New Zealanders, when not in possession of paper; and in which they, unknowingly, imitate those nations from whom, doubtless, they are descended. At this village, where the natives are very numerous, I remained a few days, but had scarcely time or opportunity to eat or rest. During my stay, however, I succeeded in procuring several fossil bones of the Moa.104

On the 29th, I left this hospitable village, and proceeded, as before, up the dry bed of the river. I had, on my former visit, obtained specimens of basanite, siliceous schistus, sulphuret of iron, opal, &c. &c., from this locality; on this occasion, my collection of insects was large and curious, embracing individuals of different genera of the family Arachnideæ, which are here both large and numerous. Many of these insects often carry their strong and glutinous webs across the pathway; with which, if you happen to be at the head of the file, your face coming in contact, causes you suddenly to halt, to the detriment of your heels, and the disarrangement of the whole line of march. The largest Cicadæ and Libellulæ are often seen entangled in those webs,

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