Our Precious Plants

Hinarepe/sand tussock on Ōnoke Spit, dry and windswept

Hinarepe/sand tussock on Ōnoke Spit, dry and windswept

A tour of Wairarapa Moana will reveal a wide range of vegetation types and species, ranging from wetland specialists to those adapted to salty water or well-drained gravels. The main lake itself is generally too rough and turbid to support any density of aquatic species – these are found at their best in the adjacent lagoons. 

 

 

Variety

The ranges of plants found in the different habitats that are characteristic of Wairarapa Moana include:

Pimelea Onoke Spit

Pimelea Onoke Spit

Dunes and dry gravels
On Ōnoke Spit kowhangatara/spinifex (Spinifex sericeus) and pingao/golden sand sedge (Ficinia spiralis) are present, but not in huge abundance as they are more suited to lighter, mobile sands. The large population of hinarepe/sand tussock (Poa billardierei) on Ōnoke Spit provides one of its national strongholds. Lying low are mounds of scabweed mat daisy and the blue grey Pimelea.

 
Onoke saltmarsh margin

Onoke saltmarsh margin

Saltmarsh of brackish to salty water

Saltmarsh ribbonwood (Plagianthus divaricatus) and the jointed rush oioi (Apodasmia similis) are the most obvious plants of the saltmarsh adjacent to Ōnoke Spit. Equally well adapted to the environment are native musk (Mimulusrepens), sea primrose (Samolus repens) and remuremu/swampweed  (Selliera radicans).

 
Raupo at Matthew's Lagoon

Raupo at Matthew's Lagoon

Open water and lagoons
The main lake itself is generally too rough and turbid to support any density of aquatic species. Lagoons of still water host fringe vegetation such as raupo/bulrush (Typhus orientalis) or harakeke/flax (Phormium tenax).

The fern or pilwort (Pilularia novae-hollandiae) has occasionally been seen and common water milfoil (Myriophyllum propinquum), the pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata) along with the two species of Glossostigma are also truly aquatic, though they do contribute to the seasonally exposed turf field of the eastern lakeshore.

 
Turf Field Eastern Lakeshore

Turf Field Eastern Lakeshore

Lake shore mudflats
Turf fields, on the flat expanses of fine sediments, are composed of just a few species in any one place, though overall there are some fifty five in all.  Among the most prominent are common water milfoil (Myriophyllum propinquum), mudwort (Limosella lineata), Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae, Glossostigma elatinoides and fennel-leaved pond weed (Stuckenia pectinate).

 
Sedges at Lake Domain

Sedges at Lake Domain

Sedgelands (adjacent to open water)
These are often occupied by a combination of flaxland, cabbage trees and Coprosma-dominated shrub lands.  Carex geminata, has become a dominant plant in parts of the Wairio wetlands. Lake Domain hosts Buchanan’s sedge (Carex buchananii), now far more common in gardens than in the wild.  Growing near to this is its close cousin, another reddish-coloured sedge, Curly sedge (Carex cirrhosa), a much rarer plant.

Along the western lake edge, where the adjacent lowland forest reaches right to the water’s edge, are the last remnants of a sedgeland where manuka was the dominant woody plant, growing into a sparse scrubland full of purei (Carex secta) and Baumea.

 
Amphibromus Spike Close Up

Amphibromus Spike Close Up

Ephemeral wetlands

Species living here, such as the daisy Centipeda and the rare grass Amphibromus fluitans, are highly adapted to the fleeting nature of their sometimes wet, sometimes dry environment. 

 

 

 


Content on this page was last updated: 15/02/2017 9:15am