Waterview’s wild surprise
NZTA says it has found a new flower but a taxonomist says he discovered the species a decade ago. Either way, it could be New Zealand’s rarest native plant.
NZTA said a pink flower had been found blooming on the banks of Auckland’s Oakley Creek, which runs alongside the Waterview tunnel.
The flower had caught the eye of botanists who believed it may be a previously unidentified native species of geranium.
However, Department of Conservation principal scientist Peter De Lange said he discovered the flower 12 years ago at the top of Oakley Creek.
The scientific name for the plant was Geranium aff. retrorsum ‘‘Oakley Creek’’, he said. But it was yet to be confirmed whether it was a previously unidentified native species or introduced.
‘‘If we assume it’s only found in New Zealand it’s one of our most threatened plants.’’
There was a 50:50 chance of the plant being native, and until it was identified it should be treated as such, he said.
There could be as many as 20 geranium in New Zealand but only eight had been formally identified.
While it was good NZTA had acknowledged the species, he encouraged the agency to put money towards formally identifying it. About $10,000 to $15,000 would do it, he said.
The small pale pink flower found growing near Oakley Creek is a type of geranium.