Water­view’s wild sur­prise

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN AN­THONY

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.

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