Botany trip: Seton Nossiter Park, Woodridge
18 November 2012
Near the start of the track, we read a plaque with the words, “To those who helped to keep this forgotten land beautiful”. Our route down the track from Fernwood Court, Woodridge, to Colchester Crescent, Newlands, and down Lawson’s Track to the main valley in the park, was through typical, Wellington-region, regenerating native forest. Looking out over the valley from the track below Woodridge, we saw that māhoe, with its spring growth of light-green leaves, dominates the forest canopy, just like in so many other gullies in the region in an early stage of regeneration. We noted that there aren't yet any emergent native tree species such as the podocarps: kahikatea, mataī, miro, rimu and tōtara. However, we saw kererū and tūī , which in time are likely to bring the seeds of these species from mature forests in the region into this young forest.
The four-hour trip proved to be a ‘botany refresher course’. Everyone was keen to consolidate their knowledge, and to learn to identify more plant species. We used a draft Seton Nossiter Park plant list, with each plant on it numbered, to help people find the plant they were looking at. As someone recognised and called out the name of a plant, they would call out its number, and the rest of the party could rapidly find and tick the number. Right from the start, everyone was fully involved in botanising. They were spotting plants that were not on the lists, admiring poroporo flowers and the hosts of buds on the numerous NZ jasmine / kaihua vines scrambling over native shrubs and small trees, etc.
We added fourteen native species and thirteen weed species to the plant lists, and shining cuckoo/pipiwharauroa, and four introduced species to the bird lists. Despite a poor forecast and masses of grey cumulus towering over the Rimutaka Range, the day turned out fine and was highly successful in plants remembered, plants learnt, and species lists expanded. CH & BM
- Party members
- Ken Fraser, Alan Graham, Richard Grasse, Liz Martin, Jean Morgan, Michael Pitt, Marris Weight. Chris Horne and Barbara Mitcalfe (co-leaders and scribes).