Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: koru

with 14 comments

What kind of nature photographer would I be if I returned from New Zealand without showing you at least one koru? Koru is the Māori word for what English sometimes calls a fiddlehead, the spirally curled tip of a new fern leaf. I photographed this one on February 19th along the path leading from Dorothy Falls to Lake Kaniere.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 16, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Posted in nature photography

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14 Responses

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  1. Fascinating and intriguing.


    June 16, 2017 at 10:04 AM

  2. Fern leaves are wonderfully intricate. I especially like fern trees when they are unfolding.

    Looking at my photos I think it is time I revisited this place and got some better shots with my new camera.


    June 16, 2017 at 10:16 AM

  3. This is a beauty, Steve. I am fascinated by these especially when we were hiking in New Zealand. Great close-up shot.

    Jane Lurie

    June 16, 2017 at 12:51 PM

  4. For someone who grew up with standard-issue garden ferns, these are a real revelation. The color and the hairs are eye-catching, but those spirals are something else. I laughed at the two that didn’t make it into the inner circle; they give new meaning to the expression “on the outside, looking in.” Beyond all that, the spirals remind me of the blue curls that I finally came across: and both the koru and the curls remind me of shrimp cocktails.


    June 16, 2017 at 9:43 PM

    • That’s funny: the inner circle. I guess those two didn’t have enough pull.

      It’s good to hear you finally found some blue curls. That wildflower is common in Austin (I photographed some in my neighborhood a couple of months ago) but apparently less so where you are. On the just-finished trip I took pictures of so-called scorpion weed, which is also a Phacelia, though I haven’t tried to track down the species yet.

      As far as I know, you can’t eat blue curls, but you can eat at least some kinds of koru:


      Steve Schwartzman

      June 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM

      • So: the koru is edible. I’m not fond of slime; I’d hang mine up to dry, too. As for the blue curls, the funny thing is that I found them up on the Willow City Loop. There was a little of everything up there, including rain lilies snuggled up to prickly pear, green lilies, and Viperina (Zornia bracteata). It took me a while to ID the Viperina. Enquist says, “Viperina is one of our little known, rarely seen flowers that will probably always remain obscure” — and I got to see it.


        June 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM

        • I should’ve realized you saw the blue curls in the Hill Country, given that the species doesn’t grow near in the Houston-Galveston area.

          You’re ahead of me on the viperina: I’ve still not (knowingly) seen it. The Willow City Loop did well for you.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 17, 2017 at 11:32 AM

  5. […] right, if I’m going to mention Lake Kaniere, as I did last time, I guess I should show you what it looks like. The view of it above is from February […]

  6. There is something particularly captivating about a fiddlehead before it has unfurled, and you’ve certainly captured it here.

    Susan Scheid

    June 18, 2017 at 6:00 PM

  7. […] Five years and a day ago we found ourselves on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, where I’d say Cathedral Cove was the scenic highlight. On our hour-long walk back up to the car park from the cove I got fascinated by what you see in the top picture: the graceful curves of leaves and korus, which is what the Māori call the fiddleheads on ferns. (Close individual koru portraits appeared here in 2015 and 2017.) […]

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