Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘fern

New Zealand: Little hard fern koru

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Little Hard Fern Koru 4658

Click for greater clarity, especially in the little hairs.

Now that I’ve shown you a little (and only a little) of what’s been going on in springtime Austin, here comes a second round of pictures from my February trip to scenic New Zealand.

At the Christchurch Botanic Gardens on February 14th I photographed this koru (the Māori word for the curled shoot of a fern) on what’s called a little hard fern, Antarctic hard fern, alpine hard fern, or alpine water fern, whose scientific name is Blechnum penna-marina. The species part of the name is Latin for ‘sea feather,’ but that refers to the plant as a whole rather than to this koru, which I think people are more likely to liken to the scroll on a violin, even if no violin scroll has smaller scrolls within it the way this fern does.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2015 at 5:28 AM

Mamaku

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Mamaku Tree Fern 3929

The mamaku, Cyathea medullaris, is one of New Zealand’s best-known tree ferns, distinguished by a trunk that’s often so dark as to appear black. With regard to all the tree ferns, it’s common to see dying and dead fronds hanging downwards, as in this February 8th view from within the bush on Tiritiri Matangi Island off the tip of the Whangaparaoa* Peninsula north of Auckland.

And here’s a closer look at a mamaku from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens on February 14th:

Mamaku Tree Fern Detail 4566

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* In words of Māori origin, wh is pronounced f.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2015 at 5:32 AM

A contrast in leaves

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Small Leaf Fallen onto Fern Leaf 4009

The intricate compound leaves of many of new Zealand’s ferns are large and horizontally oriented, so they act as nets to catch lightweight things falling from above. Many a time I noticed the contrast between a living fern leaf and a much smaller dead one from a tree, as was the case here in a downward-looking view from February 8th at Tiritiri Matangi.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2015 at 5:59 AM

Nikau palm

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Nikau Palm 3429

New Zealand is like southern California and Florida and Arizona and other places where people have planted plenty of alien palm trees, but New Zealand does have one native species, Rhopalostylis sapida, commonly known as the nikau palm. Here you see a nikau palm that I photographed in the forest at the Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth, in the northern part of the North Island, on the afternoon of February 6. Note the various tree ferns near the palm (and if I seem to be above some of them, it’s because I was indeed standing at a higher point and aiming sideways with the camera oriented vertically, so the wide-angle lens pulled in some of the ferns below me).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2015 at 6:02 AM

Ferns as tall as trees

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Tree Ferns from Below 3471

Click for better quality.

A visitor to New Zealand can’t help noticing how many native ferns there are and how large they can get. It’s not an exaggeration to say that some grow as tall as trees, and people even refer to them as tree ferns. I photographed the ones in today’s picture, which were perhaps two or three times my height, in the shade of the forest at the Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth*, in the northern part of the North Island, on the afternoon of February 6. Kiwis (as the inhabitants of New Zealand are known) will recognize that as Waitangi Day, the national holiday, and in fact earlier in the day our hosts had taken us to attend the festivities at Waitangi itself.

* New Zealand English generally drops an r that closes a syllable or that’s part of a syllable-final consonant cluster, so Warkworth sounds to American ears as if it’s Walkworth, which is as appropriate for the site of a nature park as the name Wordsworth is for a great poet.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2015 at 5:59 AM

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