You are on page 1of 17

Page 1

Succulent plants from down under Adventive Plants (Part 1):

Introduction - Crassula multicava - Cotyledon orbiculata

1. Introduction

New Zealand is geographically very isolated and this is the main reason why it has a very special flora
(and fauna as well), some 80% of the species being endemic. From the remaining 20% most plants are
common for the South Pacific and Australia area; just few of the plants occurring naturally in New
Zealand have a worldwide spread. The isolation and lack of easy access o New Zealand acted like a
barrier and beside the Gondwanic stock and the new species evolved here there are no significant new
additions except those introduced by man.

The first massive change in New Zealands nature in recent times has occurred during the first 100 - 150
years after the last major wave of the Maori settlement (ca. 1300 AD); in this period a recklessly
deforestation, extensive using of fires to clear land and hunting to extinction (or near to extinction) of
many animals - mostly birds, has dramatically changed the environment, especially in coastal areas.
Fortunately enough, the Maori brought just very few animals and plants with them so that, except the
introduction of the Polynesian rat a real threat for many birds nesting directly on the ground, as they
had no natural enemies, no other important new additions were made.

But the worst was to come with the European settlements. Not only that the deforestation during the 19

century and the beginning of the 20
century has done an unimaginable damage especially in the North
Island, first of all by the destruction of the natural habitats, but also the introduction of new plant species
some of them very successful in occupying any available niche have put more pressure on the native
flora. On top of that overgrazing due to loose goats has done great damage especially on remote islands
during the late 19
century and early 20
century. On farmlands and adjacent areas, not to speak of the
urban or residential areas, the native flora was replaced sometimes almost fully by introduced plants
over the time, so that the untouched wild habitats became less and more and more isolated especially in
the North Island.

A number of 615 alien plants were recorded from 1840 until 1985 (Esler & Astridge, 1987) and even
though some of the recorded species were just casuals or occurring just rarely and were not found again
in later assessments (1), the actual number of the adventive plants recorded until now must be well over
700 (2). Most introductions are garden escapes or horticultural introductions and few of them, introduced
mainly during the second half of the 19
century, are of agricultural origin, accidentally introductions
are also significant. As Esler & Astridge (1987) are stating, in the 1900 1940 period many garden
plants became naturalized. Some of the post 1940 records are relative to this period because of the time
taken to naturalize, to be noticed, and to be recorded. Where there has been doubt about the time of
naturalization, the event has been ascribed to a later rather than an earlier date. Not all aliens are a
threat there are many horticultural introductions which appear to be weakly naturalized, their
populations being maintained partly or perhaps wholly, by propagules from plantings. They are
naturalized in the sense that they are growing in the wild state but their future status is not certain.(A.
E. Esler, 1988b) but some of them have quite invasive capabilities and may become in short time well
established, but are remaining usually in small numbers and having a local distribution. Few of them
may become pests and are considered weeds and at least controlled if eradication plans are not in place
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 2
as usually their dispersal is accompanied by changes of the native habitat and sometimes by a severely
limitation or even local disappearance of the native flora.

The adventive flora is definitely widespread in areas of the early European settlements Bay of Islands,
Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington area, coastal regions of Canterbury and Otago - where
deforestation, land clearing and the presence of cultivated plants in abandoned settlements (like the
ghost towns of the gold rush era) have created all the right conditions.

2. Crassula multicava ssp. multicava

Crassula multicava Lemaire 1862 is a glabrous, perennial herb, with stems being prostrate, creeping,
sprawling or decumbent, and forming adventive roots at nodes. The leaves are succulent and shortly
petiolate, sometimes with petioles to 2 cm long, mostly on distal ascending part of stems, not decussate
or imbricate except in small rosettes at stem apices, to 45-(55) 40-(43) mm, broadly ovate, broadly
oblong-elliptic, to suborbicular or almost square, flat, entire, green or glaucescent, often suffused with
red, especially towards the margins, dotted with numerous whitish or reddish hydathodes. The base of
the leaves is rounded, truncate or subcordate; the apex is mostly rounded or sometimes more or less
emarginate. The inflorescence is a loose thyrse, growing from the apex of the stems to 10 cm long but
very variable in size; main axis with very small bracts. Flowers have to 8-12 mm diameter, corolla is
star-like, and the 4 petals are free and patent, (4)-5-6 1-2 mm, narrowly triangular or triangular-
lanceolate, rose to crimson in bud, nearly white to pale pink inside at anthesis and having an acute apex.
1. Regional map
of New Zealand
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 3
Fruits and seeds were not seen in New Zealand, but flowers are often replaced by small plantlets
appearing in the inflorescence branch axils.

Crassula multicava originates from South Africa, where it occurs on a large territory and in big numbers
preferring forest margins, river and stream banks and thickets in coastal regions stretching from
Mpumulanga (Natal) to Eastern Cape and Southern Cape. The plant prefers all kind of soils from deep
well-composted but free draining soil (however, the most adequate type) to heavy clay soils main thing
it shouldnt be too organic; it sometimes grows in rocky soils or even directly on rocks. It thrives in
semi-shaded position where it can form huge mat-forming groundcovers with an outstanding effect
when in flower. It can also take full sun; it can do well established populations in deep shade too
although under the later conditions it flowers poorly. It does not take frost (except some occasional light
frost) and it doesnt grow naturally in such areas, but there are accounts that (in cultivation) heavily
damaged plants were recovering after some time. However, it is hard to kill unless you are not doing on
purpose. Extremely frosts are damaging the foliage and the stems, but it takes quite a lot to kill the plant
as it can recover quickly if the right conditions are given. It is also quite draught resistant, although for
the wellbeing of the plant this shouldnt be too excessive. Crassula multicava is not endangered in its
natural habitat due to its free seeding and dispersal of plantlets and the perennial nature it is incredible
long lived for this kind of plant.

The synonyms to Crassula multicava are Crassula quadrifida Baker f. 1894 and Crassula punctata
Linnaeus 1753. The most used vernacular name is Fairy Crassula, due to the neat appearance when in
flower; other names are Pitted Crassula, Mosquito Flower, London Pride and Cape Province

2. Crassula
multicava in
February 2005,
a small
cultivated plant
obtained from a
plantlet of the
branch axils
(Photo: Eduart
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 4

Crassula multicava is definitely one of the most invasive South African plants recorded in New Zealand.
Although the first collection was made in 1957 by C. M. Smith established on north-west aspect only
of a deep cutting, Wadestown, Wellington, a garden escape from sections above the cutting and
mentioned by Healy in 1959 (who was suggesting a local distribution), the plant has now a massive
presence especially on the eastern (drier) coastal regions but also finding the way to the inland in pretty
much all the frost-free (but not too wet) areas, and even in places where light frosts occur sometimes. It
was the first succulent plant observed by me here in New Zealand (with some nave excitement), just
few weeks after moving here. Odd enough it took me months until I have noticed how widespread this
plant in cultivation is, at least in Auckland area it is more or less an old fashioned garden plant, fitting
very well in a semi-shaded well drained spot of whats here called a Cottage Garden. Werner Voight
(2005): C. multicava is designed for rapid colonization where they occur in the wild. Apart from seed
dispersal, they easily root and spread from leaves that fall or break off from the mother plant. They also
propagate themselves by producing plantlets on the flowerhead that drop off and develop into
independent plants. These plantlets are really a constant pain in the neck and even if seed dispersal
wasnt observed at the New Zealand populations this way of propagating is extremely efficient. Tlken
considers that the plantlets borne by the flowerhead (in the inflorescence axils) is the main characteristic
of Crassula multicava ssp. multicava.

The plant is widespread mainly in the eastern coastal regions but not necessary close to the sea, in frost
free area of the inland you can be sure that you will spot sooner or later one in a recent disturbed area or
close to residential areas where isolated plants are seen quite frequent. It prefers rock and concrete walls,
riverbanks, raw lava fields, deep rock crevices, volcanic cliff faces, usually in open places but
sometimes in partial shade of scrub and tall herbs. Even if it was first sighted in the wild in the Southern
3. Distribution map of
Crassula multicava in
New Zealand (Map:
Eduart Zimer)
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 5
Island almost 50 years ago, it is nowadays much more present in the Northern Island possibly due to the
higher mean annual temperatures. It also does not like the much more humid western coastal regions
where it occurs just sporadic in Auckland area. It is a classic garden escape - it occurs very often in
small populations in abandoned gardens and remainders of demolished buildings, preferring small
pockets with soil between rocks or concrete blocks, mostly in partly shaded spots. I have seen such a
small population of possibly 20 well-established plants plus uncounted plantlets growing in Auckland
area between the remainders of an old demolished concrete building. Such populations even if very
restricted and possibly at some stage may be completely annihilated by developments or some other use
of the land are the starting point of dispersal of numerous plantlets borne by the flower head; these
plantlets may spread quickly in other parts of the town or even can completely escape in nature
(following typically the roadsides or the ballast of the railway and establishing where disturbed areas are
available) infesting some area or even replacing sometimes native flora if the right conditions are given.

4. Crassula multicava in January 2006 on Rangitoto Island (Hauraki Gulf).
A very reduced plant growing on a lava block with a south-western
exposure. Not exactly the rich deep soil in which cultivated plants are
usually grown. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 6

But the first really wild plants I have seen on the volcanic Rangitoto Island in Hauraki Gulf north-east of
Auckland City. These plants are again a garden escape as on the island used to be for many decades a
prison camp close to the harbor, until well in the fifties I think. Few baches were built in the early 20

century and some still exist close to the harbor, so that other sources of cultivation escapes are present,
or at least were present at the time when the first wild plants were observed. Although it is said that
Crassula multicava prefers deep well composted soils and a shaded position (Werner Voigt, 2005) the
few plants I have seen here were growing directly on bare rock partly covered with lichens, in full sun as
it was quite exposed even if on a south-western aspect, some 200 m west or north-west of the harbor and
probably at 5 or 6 m above the sea level. I have learned later that small groups are scattered mainly in
the harbor area, some other succulent plants are present as well, but unfortunately I havent noticed them
at the time I was on the island. As you can see from the photo the leaves are rather smallish and
definitely having the yellow-reddish tones of an excessive sun exposure, contrasting with the normal
deep green colour of a cultivated plant. As it is a winter flowering plant it is also quite strange to see a
small flower head the picture was taken in January in austral mid summer. Usually it grows in rather
large groups but here I have seen just a few smallish and isolated plants. Rangitoto is a vegetation
5. A typical Rangitoto seashore habitat in January 2006 sand
mixed with crushed shells, lava fields and Agropyron junceiforme
(Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 7
control area and this may explain why Crassula multicava is not so frequent; the long-term plan of the
environmental authorities is to eradicate it from the island as it is considered a pest.

In February 2007 I have seen a very interesting population in Russell (Bay of Islands) on a land strip just
opposite to Paihia. Paihia is one of the first places where the English have landed and settled in big
numbers after 1838 and was for many years one of the major colonial centers. The habitat was rather
different this time and it was definitely a high degree infestation following possibly decades of
undisturbed growth. There was an almost continuously strip of plants growing on the rocky shore, on the
low cliffs just north of Russell harbor, hanging on the sometimes almost vertical rock faces at 1 m above
the high tide mark. I dont know if there are populations in a similar habitat elsewhere in New Zealand
but this was the only one I have seen growing that close to the waterline. Again, the deep soil was
absent but this time the site was facing west and was not too exposed so that the plants were taking
probably less sun except for the late afternoon. Semi-decomposed vegetal matter was littering the rocky
6. Crassula multicava in Russell (Bay of Islands) photographed in February 2007.
An almost continuous strip of plants covering a steep cliff face with western aspect.
Very close to the tidemark. The site showed a high degree of infestation following
decades of undisturbed growth. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 8
ground lightly twisted with the roots and stems of the plants and also with small ferns. Some higher
vegetation growing above the Crassula multicava strip was also providing shelter against too strong
light conditions and rain. Walking back to the quiet Russell village I had o look in the gardens here
mostly fancy modern landscaping or simply grass lawns with spots of highly educated annuals, no sign
of Crassula multicava but Cottage Gardens must have been here in the old times, otherwise it couldnt
be present now in such extent.

3. Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata

Cotyledon orbiculata Linnaeus 1753 is a succulent shrub having a short and thick stem, branching
sometimes basally, and forming clumps. It can grow up to 100 cm high, but is in most of the varieties
and forms reaching only 15 50 cm. Leaves are succulent to very succulent in some of the forms and
are usually growing in opposite pairs, but there is also a variety with the leaves growing in a cluster of
three (var. flanaganii). The leaves are sessile and have from 10 x 5 cm to 11 x 9 cm, 5 15 mm thick
7. Russell (Bay of Islands) habitat in February 2007. You can se the
Crassula multicava strip close to the waterline. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 9
near the middle, broadly obovate, usually wider than long, very rarely narrow-oblong (except for var.
oblonga characterized by this vegetative pattern), more or less concave above and convex beneath and
are usually green with a dense covering of white bloom, giving the plant a characteristic silvery-grey
appearance especially in strong light. In most of the cases the leaves margins are reddish-purple. The
apex is usually broadly rounded and often more or less mucronate. The flowering stems are up to 50 cm
high, are usually purplish and also covered with white bloom. The flowers are tubular and have 20 mm
length and 9 mm diameter. The colour of the flowers is varying largely from red to orange, very rare
even yellow but has usually on the outside a peach colour due to white bloom covering it. The plant is
extremely variable and knows a high number of local forms, beside the 5 recognized varieties. However,
the variations in leaf and flower colour are mainly a reflection of the amount of white bloom on the
surface. With less bloom the leaves have a greener appearance, and also the flowers bright orange-red.

Cotyledon orbiculata is a very difficult plant taxonomically speaking. The different forms known are
very numerous, probably close to 100, most of them being already in cultivation. Some of them are
considered cultivars, but Urs Eggli (2003) is also indicating a natural origin and locations for some of
8. Cotyledon orbiculata var.
orbiculata at Alfriston Botanic
Gardens in December 2006. (Photo:
Eduart Zimer)
9. Inflorescence of Cotyledon
orbiculata var. orbiculata at
Alfriston Botanic Gardens in
January 2007. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 10
them (i.e. Cotyledon orbiculata Rolling Edge - widespread in Little Karoo and Great Karoo,
Cotyledon orbiculata Stillbay occurring naturally in Stillbaai, Western Cape Province). The problem
with all these forms is that very often once in cultivation are loosing the distinctive patterns and become
more or less similar looking to other cultivated stock. On the other hand even cultivated plants,
belonging possibly to the same rootstock (as usually plants bought from the Garden Centers do), are
somehow variable. The variability of this plant is probably very tied to the environmental conditions and
occurs in gradual variations making almost impossible to make a comprehensive and detailed
classification at the same time. Botanically it makes no sense I think, but dedicated growers have
anyway their own vision on the matter.

The 5 recognized varieties (3) are sharing partly the same habitat in South Africa and reportedly they are
hybridizing frequently in nature. The New Zealand plants with flattened and more or less orbicular
leaves have been referred to the widespread var. orbiculata (generally all forms from New Zealand).
This variety can have on occasion more or less oblong leaves, as do also some of the other varieties. The
origin of the New Zealand oblong forms is somehow disputed. C. J. Webb & al. (2004): The oblong-
leaved Banks Peninsula plants cannot be assigned to any of these other varieties and are presumed to
belong to var. orbiculata although they do not exactly correspond with the narrow-leaved form of var.
orbiculata described by Tlken. Our narrow-leaved plants are probably derived from the usually
orbicular-leaved form because they are not known in cultivation in New Zealand. Such plants somewhat
resemble some cultivation relics in the area, but these are hybrids referable to C. campanulata Marloth
C. orbiculata var. oblonga (Haworth) De Candolle and have green leaves and inflorescences which
have few to many small glandular hairs.

10. Cotyledon
orbiculata var.
oblonga at
Alfriston Botanic
Gardens in April
2007. (Photo:
Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 11

Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata is widespread mainly in the coastal areas of Angola, Namibia and
parts of South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape) but also in some parts of the
drier inland, on rocky outcrops or cliffs but also in river valleys where the alluvial soils of different
structure, from sandy to loamy, sometimes with a high quartzitic rock component, are deep, and in many
occasions preferring slopes with a northern aspect or disturbed areas (4). It seems to prefer open
vegetation although in some occasions the plant was observed in light woodland, amongst trees and
shrubs. Companion succulent plants are: Aloe comptonii, Aloe microstigma, Aloe ferox, Aloe variegata,
Crassula deltoidea, Crassula pyramidalis, Crassula barbata, Euphorbia mauritanica, Glottiphyllum
depressum, Lampranthus haworthii, Ruschia ceresiana, Senecio radians, and Tylecodon wallichii to
name just a few. As it occurs in quite different habitats (you can see it by the variety and diversity of the
companion plants), it can take different amounts of rainfall (more on or near the coast and less in the
inland) and thrives in areas with dry winters and with humid winters as well. It can take high
temperatures but also grows in moderate coastal conditions, the only thing in common is that almost
everywhere in its natural habitat frosts do not occur but extremely rare or if so, just light night frosts
compensated by high daytime temperatures.

11. Distribution
map of Cotyledon
orbiculata var.
orbiculata in New
Zealand (Map:
Eduart Zimer)
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 12

The plant has several vernacular names but the most accurate description is made by Pigs Ear thats
what the leaves are like pig ears! It is also considered that it is toxic studies done in livestock feeding
on this species have revealed that stock losses may be due to the presence of digitalis-like principles in
leaves and stems, but this may also vary seasonally and geographically. It is not proven that the
principles contained by the plant have any influence on humans but there are few documented accounts
in which goats or sheep have consumed significant quantities, which conducted to the illness of the
animals, in two accounts followed even by death.

12. Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata at Piha growing directly on rocks at
the southern end of the beach February 2007 (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 13

13. Cotyledon orbiculata var.
orbiculata at Piha growing
directly on rocks at the southern
end of the beach February
2007 (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

14. The natural habitat of Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata at Piha in
February 2005. In the background you can see the cliffs where the above pictured
plants were growing two years later. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 14
The presence of this plant in New Zealand is limited only to small populations occurring in few places in
the North Island Anawhata and Piha, just out of Auckland on the western coast, around Whakatane in
Bay of Plenty, and Paekakariki and around Wellington Harbour, but more continously and consistently
in the Southern Island on the western coast in Marlborough, Canterbury (especially Port Hills and Banks
peninsula) and Otago Peninsula. It prefers coastal slopes and beaches, often on steep banks, rocky
outcrops, cliff faces and bare ledges, sometimes in low scrub and dry depleted grassland, sometimes
forming large groups. Although it is known that it is growing wild just on or in the proximity of the
shores, reportedly the plant found its way to the inland in several places growing usually on roadsides or
ballast of the railways, not in big numbers, but it is monitorized by habitat conservation authorities in
Auckland area and seen as a potential threat. A. J. Healy (1959) mentioned Cotyledon orbiculata in
coastal regions of Canterbury, but also gives accounts of earlier collections done by H. H. Allen in 1935
Sumner, Canterbury, in Redcliffs-Sumner in 1954, or observations of well established populations
(May 1941) on steep, eroded mudstone cliffs along the north bank of the Waipara River in North

15. Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata at Piha growing in a sandy soil 400
metres north on Lion Rock in February 2007. You can clearly see a quite
different plant - a possible hybrid or just a different form? (Photo: Eduart Zimer)

PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 15

I have seen Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata in February 2007 in Piha, on the western coast just out
of Auckland, lucky enough during the flowering period. It is quite ironically that since I have been here
for several times over the last 3 4 years and even took some photos in October 2004 and February
2005, I havent noticed the plant. It must have been a lack of observation from my side because the two
sub-populations I have seen were quite well settled and most of the plants looked definitely much older
than two or three years. It is quite interesting that the populations were growing in different conditions.
At the southern end of Piha Beach (Aucklands surfing paradise) Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata is
populating the steep cliffs, anchored and partly hanging on almost vertical rocky walls with a north to
northwestern aspect. I have seen some 20 to 25 plants scattered all over the place on these cliffs and
probably more continuing to the south, at 3 10 m from sea level. Some 400 m to the north there is a
huge rocky outcrop in the middle of the beach 101 m high and quite massive called Lion Rock (5). Here
was a second population growing in deeper sandy soil on 30 to 45 degrees slopes or on small ledges;
over 25 plants scattered in small groups at 30 60 m from sea level and possibly even higher. I have
seen plants on slopes facing north and northeast, but I couldnt see if there are plants on the western and
southern slopes as well.

16. The natural habitat of Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata at Piha Lion
Rock in February 2007. It is probably not the best way to present Lion Rock a
101 m high rock colossus isolated in the middle of the beach, but I love this
photo as it has the true taste of New Zealand nature. (Photo: Eduart Zimer)
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 16

The plants seen by me were the typical silvery-grey broad leaved form, but looked a bit smaller than the
plants grown at Alfriston Botanic Gardens south of Auckland and also seem to have the red leaf margins
less marked or even lacking entirely. One single plant stood out (see on the photos taken on Lion Rock)
as it was definitely different from the others. Smaller and having a more green-yellowish leaves colour,
with a different colour of the flower stalk as the others, not to speak of the more orange flowers, and
contrasting with the bright orange-red colour of the other plants flowers. I have no idea if this plant is a
hybrid or a just a different form, but definitely is different from the others and it was really exciting to
notice its individuality.


Urs Eggli - Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants vol. 4, Crassulaceae (2003);

A. E. Esler & Sandra J. Astridge - The Naturalization of Plants in Urban Auckland 2. Records of Introduction and Naturalization (New Zealand Journal
of Botany, Vol. 25, 1987);

A. E. Esler - The Naturalization of Plants in Urban Auckland 4. The Nature of the Naturalized Species (New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 26, 1988);

A. E. Esler - The Naturalization of Plants in Urban Auckland 5. Success of Alien Species (New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 26, 1988);

Shireen Harris (with additions by Yvonne Reynolds) (Free State National Botanical Garden) Cotyledon orbiculata (, 2004);

A. J. Healy Contributions to a Knowledge of the Adventive Flora of New Zealand Part VIII: The Succulent Element of the Adventive Flora.
(Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 87, Parts 3 and 4, 1959);

The South African National Biodiversity Institute & The South African Medical Research Council at the University of the Western Cape Cotyledon
orbiculata folia, (, not dated);

Werner Voigt (Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden) Crassula multicava (, 2005);

C. J. Webb, W. R. Sykes, P. J. Garnock-Jones - Flora of New Zealand (The updated electronic version, Vol. 4, 2004 -;

E. Zimer Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata ( Cactus Romania Enciclopedie, 2007);

E. Zimer Crassula multicava ( Cactus Romania, 2005);

E. Zimer Plante suculente naturalizate in Noua Zeelanda ( Cactus Romania, 2005).

Further Readings:

Mark E. Mort & al. Phylogenetics and Diversification of Cotyledon (Crassulaceae) Inferred from Nuclear and Chloroplast DNA Sequence Data (American
Journal of Botany, Vol. 92 (7), 2005);

S. M. Timmins & H. Braithwaite - Early Detection of Invasive Weeds on Islands (ca. 2002)

My Notes:

(1) It is sometimes hard I think to assess correctly if an observed plant or plant group will be able to survive and form well established populations in an ever
changing environment, especially (as we will see) when alien plants are settling in areas freed by deforestation, use of land for agricultural purposes or areas
disturbed by earthworks. Some garden escapes may find a niche to survive for a certain amount of time, but may be overwhelmed and suppressed at a later
point in time by secondary or tertiary succession plants or by other environmental changes inducted by man.

(2) Esler & Astridge (1987) are considering that the naturalization rate of one new species at 88 days (or 4.12 species per year) was maintained over the
years; if so, this will add about 90 new species between 1985 and 2007. In my opinion, as the greatest pressure in our days comes from horticulture (at no
time in New Zealands history the number of species and hybrids on offer at Garden Centers was greater, at no time there was such a residential boom), it is
quite possible that we have passed by now the 750 or even 800 mark. Other sources are mentioning 2,200 2,500 adventive species (this would mean half of
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::
Page 17
the total plant species growing in New Zealand) but as these sources are making assumptions and are not purely based on field work I think the numbers are
highly overrated and/or may include all sorts of casuals with no chance of long-term survival.

(3) Cotyledon orbiculata var. dactylopsis Tlken 1979; Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii (B. Schnland & Baker f.) Tlken 1979; Cotyledon orbiculata
var. oblonga (Haworth) De Candolle 1828; Cotyledon orbiculata Linnaeus 1753 var. orbiculata; Cotyledon orbiculata var. spuria (Linnaeus) Tlken 1979.

(4) In its original habitat it is often an indicator of natural disturbance (especially severe grazing pressure by domestic stock).

(5) Lion Rock was used by the local Maori tribe as a last citadel during inter-tribal wars. Some earthworks and remains of small shelters were discovered by
archeologists. Lion Rock was a shelter for women and children in troubled times and a strategic storage place for food and water supplies, but wasnt
populated permanently.


All errors, omissions and misconceptions are mine.

Eduart Zimer, June July 2007
PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial ::