Orchid Genus Name Reinstatements
Bruce Irwin - Botanical Illustrator
Life well spent among native orchids
Bruce Irwin, who has died in Tauranga at 90, was regarded as one of this country's greatest botanical illustrators of native orchids and had the honour of having two named for him.
Modest man that he was, he had mixed feelings about the naming of Pterostylis irwinii and Pterostylis irsoniana, saying it wasn't quite the "done thing". He discovered several species himself.
The fourth of five children, Bruce was born in Wanganui, where his Irish father, Sam, was a men's outfitter and tailor.
As a young teenager, Bruce liked nothing better than to head off on his bicycle looking for native orchids to draw, something that was to become a life-long and all-consuming "hobby" that included almost 12 years' labour on The Oxford Book of New Zealand Plants, still considered a landmark publication 34 years later.
After leaving Wanganui Technical College, Bruce trained as a draughtsman with the Department of Lands and Survey in New Plymouth and relished the proximity of Mt Taranaki and its native orchids. He was called up for pilot training late in World War II, going on to serve in Japan with J Force after the war.
After a stint with Lands and Survey in Wellington, in 1962 Bruce bought a holiday camp in the Marlborough Sounds and it was there that he met renowned botanist Lucy Moore, who gave him a microscope. "I could see the detail of the plant and understand how it worked," he recalled in 2008.
In 1967, Bruce became artist-in charge of the art department at Otago University's medical school, a job he described as "the best in the world because I could get into the hills for days at a time", thus allowing him to work on The Oxford Book of New Zealand Plants.
A life member of the NZ Native Orchid Group, Bruce moved to Tauranga in 1981, joining the Tauranga Orchid Society and helping plant cymbidium orchids at Te Puna Quarry Park.
In 2000, Bruce was awarded the Allan Mere by the New Zealand Botanical Society, presented to an "outstanding botanist" and, in 2007, a coffee-table book, Bruce Irwin's Drawings of New Zealand Orchids, was published by the Native Orchid Group.
Bruce is survived by a son, daughter and five grand-daughters.
Taeniophyllum norfolkianum - A Norfolk Island species found in NZ
(Excerpt from NZ Native Orchid Journal 118)
Ursula Brandes recently found a "new" species of epiphytic orchid growing on gorse (Ulex europaeus)
The species is thought to be Taeniophyllum norfolkianum, previously known only from Norfolk Island, where it occurs on the undersides of Araucaria branches on the slopes of Mt Bates.
Taeniophyllum norfolkianum is a very small plant. The roots are only about 1mm diameter; we observed plants with roots up to 25mm long, radiating out to form patches 3-5cm across. The flowers, 4-6 per cluster, are 7-10 mm long, tubular, and yellow-green.
We found about 140 Taeniophyllum norfolkianum plants growing on four gorse shrubs in a mosaic of mixed secondary indigenous forest and shrubland, and gorse scrub and shrubland. The open mixed scrub comprised tree ferns (mamaku, Cyathea medullaris) and silver fern (Cyathea dealbata), kanuka (Kunzea sp.), mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus subsp. ramiflorus), gorse (Ulex europaeus) and pate (Schefflera digitata), with scattered mapou (Myrsine australis) and kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides).
The T. norfolkianum plants were growing on branches and stems in the gorse canopy open to the light. One plant was observed epiphytic on another gorse plant on a pasture margin, about 70m from the main site.
The plants were flowering and fruiting when observed in November 2009 and it appeared that some plants were at least two years old because we observed the remains of the previous year's flower stalks as well as 2009 flower stalks on some of the plants.
The currently known population may not be the only occurrence of this species at this site because there are large amounts of suitable habitat and many host plants.
For more Information see: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=6662
Edwin Daniel Hatch FLS
1919 - 2008
Dan Hatch died in his 90th year, on 4 November after a short illness. He had been intellectually able and contributing to debate about native orchids until shortly before his death.
Dan Hatch is one of the great contributors to our knowledge of New Zealand orchids. His father's family moved to the native bush at Laingholm, on the Manukau coast at the foot of the Waitakeres, soon after their arrival in New Zealand in 1922 and Dan Hatch lived there all his life. He grew up with botany, and botanised from age fourteen.
During the 1939-45 War Dan Hatch was posted to Waiouru. Nearby he found seven orchids not listed in Cheeseman's Manual of the NZ Flora. He sent them to the Botany Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, but at this time Botany Division was not working on orchids.
He wrote nineteen orchid papers for the Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand from 1945 to 1963 - among over a hundred published botanical papers. His father, the senior E.D. Hatch (a domestic architect of the Arts & Crafts movement), drew most of the orchids for the T.R.S.N.Z. papers, but Dan Hatch did his own illustrations for his booklet Auckland's orchids, and for his papers on the leafless spider orchid Corybas (Molloybas) cryptanthus, and on the equally strange leafless Yoania (Danhatchia) australis.
He was honoured by the generic name Danhatchia (Garay & Christensen), and in the specific epithet of Thelymitra hatchii (Moore). He was made a Fellow of the Linnaean Society.
Dan Hatch was the quintessential amateur botanist: an expert in a narrow field at a time when professionals were simply not interested, or had more pressing work.