New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

area is much too expansive to use fencing such as that employed in Karori. So the focus here is the plants, but even some of them can be harmed or killed by exotic insects and mammals. The walk was quite lovely as we wandered through the green-tinted air awed by the enormity of huge trees and the beauty of the tree ferns. The softly falling rain added to the magic of this “lost in the mists of time” setting and we were not even surprised at first by the absence of birdsong. Very few birds live at Jacob’s bay right now and of course even the few that are usually there were quiet on such a damp day. The most interesting plant we saw, though not the most beautiful, is the incredible lancewood tree. We were to see it in other settings we visited too but this was the most impressive since it was our first experience of it. When it is a sapling, it is very slender and its leaves look like very wide needles pointing downward off the stems. They can reach 3 ft. in length, are deeply serrated on the edges, and speckled. As the young sapling searches for light it continues to grow taller but it continues in its spindly appearance. When a place opens in the canopy where the tree can reach upward, perhaps caused by another tree’s fall, the lancewood shoots up amazingly rapidly until it can join the treetops of all the other taller ones that have surrounded it. The trunk thickens out remarkably and the leaves transform themselves completely. They are now

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter