Wellington Botanic Garden ran a Science Sunday today in the Begonia House. It was an opportunity for Wellingtonians to discover the science behind their Garden and what contributions it makes to biodiversity and other areas of science. It also included releasing the findings of the BioBlitze held in April. And despite the rain I did a wander round to see what, if anything, was fruiting.
I couldn’t believe my luck as I dropped down the slope from the Herb Garden into the Pinetum. Since 2014 I have been returning here in the hope of finding a Boletus that I found but had not kept a specimen of it. And here it was a single huge fruitbody.It was growing about 1.5m from the base of a maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) in a grove of this species although, there is a single Pinus radiata as well. This is in all probability edible bolete (Boletus edulis) and has you can see from the dollar coin this fruitbody is the size of a dinner plate. A few metres further along the path there is a grove of mixed cypresses. At the border between the pines and the cypresses was a sticky bun bolete (Suillus granulatus). Note is yellow, non-bluing flesh and a lack of a ring on the stem. About a metre away was the yellow flycap (Amanita junquillea). I found this species for the first time in the Garden at the BioBlitz in April. The West Entrance
Near the West Entrance on Glenmore St is a Sequoia, or is it a Metasequoia (tree number 0645) [see additional note at end of this blog].
This tree has wood chip mulch under and as I approached I could see the bright colouring of the scarlet pouch (Leratiomyces erythrocephalus). This has fruited frequently under this tree over the last five years.Also present was the bluing pouch (Psilocybe weraroa). This is the first time I have collected this species from wood chip mulch. The tree is bare of leaves at the moment and looking up there is a long dead strip running almost two thirds the height of the tree. This has been colonised by the woodear jelly (Auricularia cornea). Additional note 02.10.2019: This is Metasequoia glyptostroboides or dawn redwood. This specimen tree is recorded in the New Zealand Tree Register. It includes the note that:
A rare tree of this age and species in the Wellington area. This may be the single surviving tree propagated from seed by C. M. Smith (former Director of the Botany Division – DSIR). … ‘Through the good offices of Col. J. K. Howard, … a few small seed samples were sent to New Zealand by Dr. E. D. Merrill, lately of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. From these seed samples, I secured about a tablespoon of partly cleaned seed for trial sowings. … Smith also send seed to A. W. Wastney in Nelson. Both men germinated their seeds in October 1949. Smith was successful in cultivating only one seedling and Wastney was fortunate enough to obtain three seedlings from his efforts. … No record has been found to establish where Smith planted his tree but he did have an association with the Wellington Botanical Gardens and it is assumed he may have planted it here. The tree would have been of sufficient size to have been planted out in the spring of 1951.
The Register also records the tree’s health as:
In very good health 2009. The increasing numbers of native kaka in the Wellington area are stripping bark from this and other significant trees in the gardens (2010).
The long dead strip in the main stem might be associated with kaka damage?