New Zealand: A colorful seep
Driving along SH 6 north of Punakaiki on the west side of New Zealand’s South Island on February 17th, I caught some flashes of bright colors off to my right on the highway embankment, so I pulled over at the first safe spot and walked back to investigate. I found that the place I’d seen was a seep whose slow but steady oozing of water had nourished the lush growth you see here. If you can take your eyes off the rich reds and oranges, note also the slender green leaves on some young flax plants, Phormium tenax, known in Māori as harakeke.
UPDATE: Thanks to Peter Beveridge, who writes: “Looks to me like the relatively common liverwort Syzygiella colorata. You know the usual reluctance to be definite about these things in the absence of a close look but this seems highly likely.” In searching online, I see that the species has also been known as Jamesoniella colorata.
© 2015 Steven Schwartzman