[Botany in Otago]
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HISTORY OF BOTANICAL RESEARCH IN OTAGO.
COMPARED with the North Island of New Zealand--especially with the Province of Auckland--and even with that of Nelson in the South 1 Island, few contributions of consequence had been made up to 1861 towards a Flora or Florula of Otago--now, at least, the most rapidly rising, wealthiest, and most important colony in New Zealand. This arose partly, no doubt, from its being a much younger colony than those just mentioned, founded, as it was, in 1847-8. 2 Collections by local botanists, which have been common in other parts of New Zealand, were unknown in Otago, so far, at least, as their publication is concerned, and their being thus made subservient to the purposes and progress of science. Several collections had been made, and some sent home, I am aware; but they were lost to science, from not having been sent to the proper quarters for utilisation. There are not wanting in Otago a few botanists with the requisite enthusiasm and inclination to devote themselves to the work of pioneer botanical collection; but in a young colony time and labour are too precious to the settler to permit of his devoting any considerable part thereof to science. His days and energies are alike absorbed in the pursuit of wealth--in establishing the basis of his future independence. His aims are, in the first instance, at least, essentially and necessarily, material and personal. Hence it generally happens--that unless there has been, as I think there should always be--a full Natural History Survey preliminary to the settlement of a new country, little progress is made towards a scientific knowledge of its natural productions till some considerable time after it has become thoroughly settled--till the earlier squatters, runholders and flock-owners, merchants and speculators, are succeeded by the more leisurely affluent and educated classes. That period had certainly not arrived in Otago in 1861, up to which date all the contributions of the least importance to
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the Otago Flora were made by the Naturalists 3 of exploring or surveying expeditions sent from this country. So far as I am aware, these contributions, and these contributors--my predecessors in the work of botanical investigation in Otago--were the following:--
The earliest botanical explorers in Otago appear to have been Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander, who were attached as Naturalists to Captain Cook's first expedition, in 1769. Their collection seems to have been mainly of West Coast species. They were succeeded, in March, 1773, by the two Forsters, father and son, and Dr. Sparmann, the Naturalists attached to Captain Cook's second voyage of discovery. So far as Otago is concerned, their collections were mostly confined to Dusky Bay, which has probably been more thoroughly examined botanically, and by a greater number of eminent Naturalists, than any other part of Otago or New Zealand of equal area. This Bay was again visited in the course of Cook's third voyage (between 1776 or 1777, and 1780), by Dr. Anderson, Surgeon to his expedition. It seems also to have been the scene of most of the botanical collections of Dr Menzies, the Surgeon and Naturalist of Captain Vancouver's discovery-expedition in 1791. He devoted himself chiefly to the collection of Cryptogams--especially Mosses and Hepaticae. His collections are now to be found in the Herbarium of the University of Edinburgh. Between the date of Vancouver's visit and 1851, no additions appear to have been made to the Otago Flora; but in that year important contributions proceeded from Dr. Lyall, the Surgeon and Naturalist of H. M. Survey Ship "Acheron," 4 under Captain Lort Stokes. Like Menzies, he devoted himself greatly, though far from exclusively, to the collection of Cryptogams; and it is undoubtedly mainly through his efforts and those of Menzies that our knowledge of the Mosses and Hepaticae of Otago is comparatively full and satisfactory. Again was Dusky Bay visited; but while his predecessors had not explored the West Coast north of this point, Dr Lyall's collections were made from the Fjords along the whole West Coast of Otago; while his visit embraced, also, on the East Coast, Otago Harbour. 5 It would thus appear that,
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up to 1861, the West Coast of Otago was the chief locality of botanical collections. Dr Hooker's "Flora Novae Zelandiae" is a complete and trustworthy repertory of the result of Botanical research in Otago up to--not only 1853 and 1855, the dates of its publication, but 1861, the date of my own collections. For, so far as I am aware, between 1851 and 1861, no additions of any consequence were made, at least by publication, to the Otago Flora. To these collections, my own, in 1861, form a natural complement, representing, as they do, exclusively the vegetation of the East Coast belt of Otago.
The aggregate result of the labours of all the eminent Naturalists above mentioned, as well as of my own, merely amounts to this, that little more than certain parts of the coast have yet been botanically examined, while the great bulk of a country as large as Scotland remains 6 to be explored by the local botanist. So much is there, I believe, remaining to be done, and so important is the character of this remanent work, that I have no hesitation in strongly urging on the attention of the Otago Government, the desirablity of imitating the neighbouring Australian provinces of Victoria and New South Wales, by the appointment of a permanent Government Botanist. It does not fall within the scope of my present paper to detail the various strong grounds for advocating such an appointment; many of which, however, it cannot be difficult for the Colonial Government itself now to discover, and many of which will appear in the perusal of the present paper. 7
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LOCALITIES AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF AUTHOR'S COLLECTIONS IN OTAGO.
MY head-quarters in Otago were the farm of Fairfield, 8 situated in the Greenisland district, about seven miles southwards of the capital, Dunedin. From this centre I made frequent foot excursions in every direction. The area botanically examined includes Dunedin and its vicinage; the Greenisland district with its coast and hills; the Saddlehill district; the Chain Hill ranges; and part of the East Taeri plain. I also made two extended excursions, the one to the lower Clutha, 9 the other to the Tuapeka gold field. 10 The former excursion included Inch Clutha; the banks of the Clutha between the Clutha ferry and the sea; and the coast on both sides of the mouth of the river, between the Kaitangata coal field, and Shaw's 11 Bay, to the south of the Nuggets. The Tuapeka gold field is inland, and includes the upland or hilly country watered by the Tuapeka, Waitahuna, and other small streams, tributary to the Clutha. The following table of mileage from Dunedin gives an approximate idea of the area of the district botanically explored:--
Taeri Ferry--twenty-two miles southward.
Tokomairiro Village--five miles from the sea; thirty-eight miles south-west.
Clutha Ferry--sixty miles south-west.
Tuapeka: Gabriel's Gully [via Tokomairiro)--sixty-five miles south-west; thirty-five miles west; twenty-seven from Tokomairiro; thirty miles from the sea (mouth of the Clutha).
Waitahuna Flat (via Tokomairiro)--fifty-six miles.)
Waitahuna Diggings (via Tokomairiro)--fifty-two miles. South-west.
Wetherstones Diggings (via Tokomairiro)--sixty miles.)
The whole area explored may be said to constitute a parallelogram of the East Coast belt of Otago--about sixty miles long, by an average of five, and maximum of thirty-five, broad; bounded on the north by Mount Cargill, Dunedin; on the south
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by the Clutha and the Nuggets; on the west by the Tuapeka ranges; on the east by the East Coast; in superficial extent equal to less than one-eightieth of the whole province. This limited area consists mostly of settled land; it exhibits considerable variety of physical configuration and soil--including all elevations between the sea level and 1500 feet--as well as every graduation and combination of hill and valley, river and stream, bush and swamp, coast-cliffs, sand-dunes, and shingly beaches; representing also the main features of the general geology of the Province. 12 Not only, however, does it represent fairly the physical configuration and geology of the East Coast belt of Otago; but the Flora of this section of country, small comparatively though it be, is also representative of that of the Province generally, if we exclude its Alps, West Coast Fjords, and Central Lake basins. All travellers who have visited the interior, represent the vegetation as extremely uniform, till at least the Lake basins are reached. I believe, indeed, that the area examined by me is richer, both in its geology and botany, than perhaps any other part of the province of equal size.
My collections were made within a limited period. My residence in Otago extended from 7th October 1861, to 20th January 1862. But during only a portion of this period was it in my power to collect plants; nor was systematic botanical research or collection compatible with the main object I had in visiting Otago. I could devote only a certain portion of my time to botanical work, which was thus perfunctory, fragmentary, and superficial. So far, therefore, from having made an exhaustive collection in any department within even a limited area, my gatherings in all departments of the vegetable kingdom were superficial and imperfect--hastily and casually made, and at a season, moreover, unfavourable for the collection of, at least, Phaenogams. 13 The seasons in Otago are reversed as compared with Britain, e.g.
Spring....August. September. October.
Summer....November. December. January.
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Autumn.....February. March. April,
Winter......May. June. July.
Hence it happens that in Otago, Christmas and the New-Year occur about midsummer, and their celebration-jubilees have all the characteristics of the latter gay floral season. The period of my residence, therefore, included portions of spring and summer only. I left Otago before many of its characteristic Phaenogams attained maturity--before their period of flowering and fruiting. Hence not a few of the Phaenogams I collected only in foliage 14 were not in a condition for identification. A further deduction of plants unfit for determination of species must be made as regards--
1. Plants destroyed or rendered useless by and during carriage home--through upsets of packages in dock or ship, loss of labels, &c.
2. Plants collected in a state unfit for preservation, e.g. many [especially gelatinous or fleshy] Fungi: 15 Fresh-water and Marine (chlorospermous) Algae or Protophyta.
3. Cryptogams collected in an imperfect state as to fructification, e.g. Micro-Fungi, in one condition only, or sterile.
The enumeration of my Otago gatherings, therefore, does not represent my entire collection; but only such portion thereof as was in a condition suitable--on examination many months after my return home--for specific determination.
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PROJECTED FLORULA OF OTAGO.
WHILE in Otago, I was struck with a variety of circumstances, which seemed to me to point to the desirability of providing the settlers with some provisional or rudimentary Florula of their Province.
As yet, there is no such Florula; while I believe the utility of special Florulas to be great--whether in old or new countries. The standard general Flora of New Zealand, by Dr. Hooker, was not to be found within the province, either in public or private libraries. The references in that Flora to the vegetation of Otago are comparatively few, and relate exclusively to limited parts of its coasts.
The nomenclature of plants by Maoris and settlers is so far from being a guide to botanical distinctions, that it is repellent and obstructive. There is extreme confusion of terms, frequently relating to the same tree or plant.
There was general ignorance among all classes of settlers regarding the characters of the vegetation by which they were surrounded, and of which they were daily making use. The following may be adduced as a single illustration of the practical results of this ignorance. One of the most abundant and familiar shrubs of Otago is the Coriaria ruscifolia--known to the settlers as the "Toot" plant. It possesses in various of its parts poisonous properties, which have been destructive on a very large scale to cattle and sheep, and occasionally also (on the small scale) to man. During my residence in Otago, an immigrant population was being attracted to its shores in thousands by the then recent gold discoveries; while corresponding numbers of cattle and sheep were being introduced to supply the rapidly increasing markets. The Otago Government, desirous of warning immigrants of the dangerous character of Toot, gave instructions to the proper official to prepare, for extensive publication in all newspapers and Government Gazettes, a description of the plant, including its botanical characters, and physiological and toxic properties. It was, however, found impossible to do so, from lack of the necessary knowledge of the natural history of the plant. I was appealed to for assistance in drawing up the official document referred to; which I would have been only too happy to have granted had I been in a position to do so. But the plant was at the time a stranger to me. I had had no opportunity of seeing it in flower or fruit; nor was there any Herbarium, Botanic Garden, or published source of information of any kind in the Province, and so accessible to me. Hence it was impossible for me to
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examine for myself its botanical character, or its chemical, toxic, or other properties. Since my return home, however, I have clone what in me lies to draw the attention of Botanists, Chemists, Toxicologists, and experimental Physiologists to a subject which appears to be new to this country. 16
I found there was a general feeling of want on the paid of the better educated colonists as to a work on the Flora of their Province, and a disposition both to collect and study, were the necessary adjuvanda supplied. There was, moreover, a frank confession, that even as a mere relaxation from the rough work of a colonist's life--as a relief to the tedium of its solitude and monotony in isolated and wild regions,--the study of their local Flora would prove of signal service.
On the other hand, there can be little doubt, I think, of the importance of a knowledge of botanical characters and classification as a guide to the development of the economical applications of the indigenous trees, grasses, and other plants of a new country; while it is with a view solely to such development that settlers will be induced, in the first instance at least, to undertake botanical studies. In the earlier stages of colonisation, science commends itself to notice only in so far as it immediately exhibits its money-making or money-saving power--its importance as a means of advancing the settler's pecuniary interests, as a pioneer in a country whose natural resources remain to be developed--the development whereof may contribute directly to his worldly wealth, while such development can only be thoroughly achieved by true science or its applications.
Circumstances and convictions such as these determined me to endeavour to supply what appeared to me an evident want, viz.,--some form of "Tentamen" or " Primitiae" of the Florula of Otago. My ulterior object was to stimulate local botanists to the work of collection or study, in the hopes that the fruits of the former, if forwarded to Kew, would be worked up there by competent botanists, so as to constitute important contributions to the general New Zealand Flora; while the results of study would lead to the reduction of species, and the simplification of nomenclature and classification. On the one hand, I believe that much remains to be done in the work of collection, especially in certain recondite departments of the Cryptogamia; while on the other, I feel assured that it is only by the researches of the local botanist that it is possible to advance materially our knowledge of certain groups of New Zealand plants, (e.g. certain families of the Fungi,) whose perishable nature requires that drawings and descriptions should be made on the spot. 17
The scheme of my proposed publication embraced the following points:--
1. To give a full descriptive list of all plants, both Cryptogamic and Phaenogamic, already actually found in Otago; simplifying nomenclature and classification to the greatest possible extent, by the use of types or aggregate
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species, and by giving comprehensive characters of genera and species; omitting confusing synonymy, and giving references only to such standard and accessible works as those of Dr. Hooker. By such means, I aimed at attracting, instead of repelling, the student,--repulsion being the general result of too elaborate arrangements of species and varieties, and of redundant synonymies.
2. To indicate the additional groups and genera, and in many cases the species, likely to occur in the Province, and which, therefore, deserved careful looking for.
3. To give as full information as practicable on economical properties and applications, with a view to the development of an Economic Flora of Otago and New Zealand; and as a subsidiary branch thereof, of a Medical Flora.
4. To give details as to geographical distribution, and the variation of species,--in order to the collection of all particulars, relating to these important subjects, pertaining to the types into which New Zealand species may ultimately be divided.
5. To indicate the practical applications of botanical science to various subjects 18 of acknowledged national importance in new countries,--e.g., forests and timbers, pasture grasses, fibre-producing plants, dye-stuffs, medicinal plants, gums and resins, food, shelter, and ornamental plants, garden fruits and flowers; local vegetable Teratology and Pathology--the abnormal or monstrous developments or diseases occurring, or likely to occur, in indigenous plants, and more particularly in plants of cultivation.
6. To introduce certain other subjects of general interest, but of a more purely scientific kind,--such as the inter-relations of climate and vegetation; a comparison of the climate and vegetation of the present day, with those of the tertiary and older geological epochs.
Accordingly, I accumulated a large mass of field notes in Otago, in connexion with considerable collections. To these were added, subsequently to my return home, the results of a leisurely examination of my Herbarium, and, to a certain extent, of the Herbaria of Kew and Edinburgh, 19 and of cultivated forms in various public and private gardens in this country, or on the continent. 20 And with a view, further, to all the completeness that was attainable, I made and included a digest of all the information bearing on Otago plants contained in Dr. Hooker's "Flora;" in various public documents of the Otago Government, such as Survey and Geological Deports; and in various works of travel, such as those of Dieffenbach, Thomson, Taylor, Symms, and others.
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I had to some extent prepared this material for publication, when Dr. Hooker's "Handbook" appeared. Its official character--its cheapness, and consequent accessibility--and its inclusion both of my own collections and the subsequent ones of the provincial botanist, John Buchanan,--rendered it apparently supererogatory to publish my projected Florula, in this country at least; while my professional avocations are such as do not admit of my engaging in such work as colonial publication. I have been encouraged, or urged, to separate publication--in the colony for behoof of colonists--by authorities so eminent, or bodies so deservedly influential, as Dr. Hooker, Professor Balfour, and the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. But circumstances have determined me on giving up all thought of now doing so; and I have found it more convenient for myself, and more suitable, apparently, to the altered requirements of the time, to publish fragmentarily and occasionally, in the transactions of various scientific societies, or in scientific periodicals in this country, the more original results only of my investigations, or collections, in Otago.
The present paper is one of these fragmentary contributions; which it has occurred to me to issue separately, in order to submit, in a collective form, a vidimus of the plants gathered, with relative commentaries, and certain general or introductory remarks, which apply to my whole papers on New Zealand Botany, whether already published, or yet to be so.
I do not, however, think that the mere fact of the issue of Dr. Hooker's "Handbook" is sufficient to neutralise or obviate the value of, or the necessity for, a special Florula of Otago, or other of the New Zealand provinces. On the contrary, I amstill convinced of its utility; and it is in order that I may, perhaps, prevail on some local botanist, at some future day, to undertake such a task, that I have ventured here to insert a slight history or biography that might otherwise appear egotistical.
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COLONIAL SECTIONS IN NATIONAL HERBARIA.
IN order to study the range and forms of variation in the species I collected, and their allies--by a careful examination of the most extensive suites of specimens accessible to me,--I twice visited (in 1862 and 1865) the Kew Herbarium; once (in 1865) that of the Jardin des Plantes, Paris; and several times between 1863 and 1867 that of the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh.
In the two first large public Herbaria, however, I found no separate collection of New Zealand plants, which are there absorbed in the general collection of those of the whole world. The elimination of the plants constituting a colonial flora, from so large a general collection as that of Kew or Paris, demands such an amount of time and labour, that, in my case, with the limited opportunities of a mere traveller or tourist, the attempt at examination was virtually futile. In Paris I did not make the attempt, even as regards the single department of Lichens, though I had the advantage of being accompanied by my friend, Dr. Nylander, who was intimately acquainted with the arrangement of that section of the Herbarium. In Kew I had time only to examine specimens of the five new 21 species figured in the present paper. Indeed, the non-existence of separate geographical or local Herbaria illustrative of the Colonial Floras, necessarily restricts the study of these Floras in large Herbaria to local or resident botanists, or to those with unlimited time at disposal. In other words, such a defect seriously detracts from the usefulness of such Herbaria to the ordinary students of special Floras. It is, doubtless, indispensable for great national Herbaria to possess a standard general collection; but there can be no doubt of the desirability of also possessing special or separate Herbaria, representing the floras of each of our great colonies--such as India, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Cape, West Indies, Canada, &c.; as well as of various Island-groups visited by special exploring or other expeditions, such as the Antarctic Islands, the Arctic lands and Islands, or the Polynesian Islands. Doubtless there are serious difficulties in the way of a geographical classification of a large Herbarium; nor do I think it possible consistently to carry out the principle of geographical division as regards all countries, and all depart-
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ments--Phaenogamic and Cryptogamic--of a Flora. Nevertheless, I see no insuperable difficulty as regards the Phaenogams (treated as one group) of our chief colonies. All difficulties may be concentrated in the single and primary one--insufficient funds. The secondary or subordinate ones are--the necessity of greatly increased space and staff; of additional halls and rooms; of a multiplication of the machinery for supervision. In reference to a National Herbarium of such importance as that of Kew, liberal grants of public funds should be a secondary consideration with the Government of a country which, herself wealthy, boasts of so many wealthy colonies; and whose wealth, moreover, is so largely due to the development of the economical applications of their vegetable resources.
At Edinburgh, in 1866, I found a separate New Zealand Herbarium. Here, however, unfortunately, it is very imperfect. The specimens are comparatively few, and are in bad condition for the most part; while their nomenclature, which is mostly old, cannot be relied on. There is also a certain confusion of New Zealand plants with Australian and Tasmanian forms. Here, however, the principle of dividing the Herbarium into sections, representative of colonies or countries, has been duly recognized and acted on. A tentative arrangement has been made, so far as regards, at least, Phaenogams; and, so far as it goes, the arrangement in question is worthy of all commendation. Cryptogams, however, are still massed in one general Herbarium. There is no geographical distinction,--the only classification yet adopted being that which separates from each other, Ferns, Mosses, Hepaticae, Lichens, Algae, and Fungi. A consistent carrying out of the principle of geographical classification as regards Cryptogams would imply so great an additional space and staff, that I fear we must be content, for a long time to come, with a proper arrangement of Phaenogams. The arrangements at Edinburgh, however, are yet in their infancy. The Herbarium hall is not sufficiently commodious, I think, for the requirements of a rapidly accumulating Phaenogamic Herbarium. Separate accommodation for a library is desirable; to which should be added one or more rooms for private study--clean, commodious, well warmed, lighted, and ventilated--provided with washing materials and other conveniences--and possessing proper facilities for microscopical or other investigation. I cannot understand why arrangements comparable with those which are to be found in the admirable physiological and chemical laboratories of continental universities, and even in many of the free libraries of our own country, should not be found in our important National Herbaria. Ultimately, I am told, it is intended at Edinburgh to add to the Herbarium a Botanical Library, containing small select groups of the chief works of reference pertaining to each important Flora or Florula,-- this addition being, with others, merely a matter of time, and the voting of Government funds. Such a step is urgently needed; for the present Library of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, which is neither catalogued nor arranged, though possessing many valuable works, is at present useless to the student.
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Were the arrangements presently contemplated at Edinburgh, with some such modifications or additions as I have here ventured to suggest, carried out, the Edinburgh Herbarium would be superior in some important respects to any other public Herbarium with which I am acquainted.
With the present defects of our National Herbaria, it is too frequently impossible for the student to do justice to himself or his subject, unless, by favour of their curators, he procures a loan of the particular group of plants he is studying, and examines them leisurely in the retirement and comfort of his own cabinet. Fortunately, where the groups in question are of only secondary importance,--that is, are not standards (or portions thereof,) constantly in use,--there is no difficulty in the accredited student-proper obtaining such a privilege At all events, I have more than once had, or had offers of, such a privilege, at the hands of Dr. Hooker, of Kew, and Professor Harvey, of Dublin.
It must not be supposed that I hold responsible for any of the defects here alluded to the distinguished Botanists who preside over the custody of our National Herbaria. I have little doubt, indeed, that their views virtually coincide with at least many of those above expressed. But they are hampered, it would appear, with a most inadequate command of funds; which renders it simply impossible, in the meantime, to carry out reforms to any extent, however in themselves these are to be desired.
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COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CULTIVATED FORMS.
IN order still further to acquaint myself with the variations of species, I have lost no opportunity of studying New Zealand plants in cultivation in this country. In especial, I have examined all New Zealand plants growing in greenhouses, or in open ground throughout the year, in--
1. The Botanic Gardens of Kew, Paris, Geneva, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.
2. The private gardens of Mr. Anderson Henry, Hay Lodge, and Mr. Gorrie, Rait Lodge, both at Trinity, near Edinburgh; of Mr. Henderson, Towerville, Helensburgh.
3. The Nurseries of Messrs. Dickson and Turnbull, at Kinnoull, Perth.
4. Various Cemeteries or Public Gardens, e.g. the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.
I have also had a somewhat extensive correspondence with various practical horticulturists, who have more or less devoted themselves to the acclimatisation in this country of New Zealand trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants,--more especially with Mr. Gorrie, the Horticultural Editor of the "Farmer"
In the course of my inspections and inquiries, I was much struck with the antagonism between botanists-proper and horticulturists-proper,--between the scientific class of observers on the one hand, and the practical class on the other,-- in regard to questions of such interest as that of species. As a general rule, the former are species-reducers--the latter species-multipliers: the former generalise, while the latter stick fast by details. Horticulturists are in the habit of using, as specific designations, terms of their own which are pre-eminently vague and unsatisfactory, rendering the work of correlation or identification difficult in the extreme. But their observations on points of fact are frequently of value, as correcting the sometimes premature generalisations of botanists.
The same investigations have led me to adopt certain strong views on the subject of the Acclimatisation in this country of New Zealand plants. I believe that the number and variety of New Zealand plants already introduced into cultivation in this country are small in proportion to those that remain to be introduced with advantage; and they are, as a whole, much more hardy than is generally supposed. It appears to me that British cultivators err in treating New Zealand plants too much as semi-tender or semi-hardy, protecting them under glass instead of ex-
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posing them to the vicissitudes of the British climate, unprotected, or with little protection, throughout the year. 22 Among hardy sub-alpines alone there are many of considerable beauty that would prove acceptable additions to our shrubberies or gardens, and that would require little care in cultivation, yet remaining to be introduced. Hardy shrubby species of a suitable kind are to be looked for, e.g., in such genera as Veronica, Olearia, Senecio, Pittosporum, Aristotelia, Carmichaelia, Coprosma, Cassinia, Dracophyllum, Parsonsia, Pimelea, &c.
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DETERMINATION OF SPECIES.
THE first duty of a botanist who undertakes the naming of plants from a new area is, I think, to determine what forms have previously been collected in other fields, what have been already described, and what are, as yet, unknown to science. The acquisition of such knowledge is, however, a matter of no little difficulty; indeed, I will venture to say that, in some cases at least--to botanists of ordinary acquirements, and with ordinary opportunities, it is impossible. For it implies in the investigator a thorough knowledge of the languages of all educated nations, and a familiarity with the scientific literature of the world. Such familiarity, again, can only be acquired by habitual access to the richest scientific libraries--libraries of which only our great centres of scientific research--London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, St. Petersburg--can boast. He must have access, in a similar way, to the largest general Herbaria; for they may, and often do, contain evidences that plants have been both named and collected, which are not to be found in publications of any class. But these Herbaria, like the libraries in question, are only to be met with in large university cities. The proper consultation of such libraries or Herbaria further implies unlimited leisure, with local residence, or habitual facilities for travel--advantages which must be at least extremely rare among what are properly so-called the "Working Botanists" of our day,--many of whom are provincial, and, by the accident of their residence and avocations, are quite isolated from the opportunities of research afforded by, or in, great cities.
Considering the infinitude of forms in which the results of scientific research are now given to the world, in treatises, pamphlets, and books innumerable; in the transactions and proceedings of all sorts of societies; in scientific periodicals of endless variety; and considering, moreover, how incessantly such publications are being issued from thousands of printing presses, it would be truly a matter of surprise if any individual botanist were acquainted with everything that had been written on a given subject, up to a given date. In the very limited department of Lichens,--in which the labourers are very few compared with those who devote themselves to the study of Phaenogams,--I have found it quite impossible to satisfy myself that I knew all that had been published on a particular species or group; notwithstanding the devotion of every effort, and all opportunities at my command, to the perusal of scientific literature, in public libraries, on the continent
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or at home. 23 And if this be so with the Lichens, how much more certainly must it be my case in reference to the Phaenogams of any area, especially foreign.
In studying book-species, I have been impressed with the fact, or belief, that the same plant is sometimes described under a dozen different names or upwards, 24 generic as well as specific; that varieties, species, and genera, are confounded; that embarassing synonyms abound to such an extent as to be obstructive to scientific progress,--their disentanglement occupying time that might be otherwise profitably devoted to original research; that a "system," instead of being a perspicuous key to names and characters, is, too frequently, a labyrinthine puzzle; that systematic botany is burdened and confused with endless unnecessary and mischievous names and groups; that mere name-giving and species-making occupy much too prominent a place; that premature and defective descriptions abound. Such defects of systematisation result, in some measure at least, on the one hand, from non-attention to the cardinal rule--that the basis of the determination of species from new areas should be, an assurance as to what forms have, or have not, previously been recognised and described; and on the other, from the apparently too common presumption that species from new areas are probably, if not necessarily, new to science.
There are many other important qualifications which ought, in my opinion, to be possessed by the systematist--by the describer or determiner of plants from new fields; but it is unnecessary further to pursue the subject here, for, inasmuch as I have found myself deficient in the first or fundamental qualification, viz., an assurance as to what species had, or had not, been previously described, I have not ventured, where I could avoid it, to name my Otago collections, preferring to avail myself of the valued assistance of the first botanical specialists in this country or on the continent. My Phaenogams and Ferns were therefore determined by Dr. Hooker; the Marine Algae by the late Professor Harvey; the Diatomaceae by Dr. Greville, (alas! also now the late); the Lichens, for the most part, by Professor Nylander, of Paris and Helsingfors; the Mosses and Hepaticae by Mr. Mitten, of Hurstpierpoint; and the Fungi by Mr. Currey, of London. To all these eminent authorities in the special departments of botanical research to which they are well known to have devoted themselves, I now beg to offer my grateful acknowledgments; more especially are they due to Dr. Hooker, whose assistance, as I have elsewhere stated, 25 was not confined to the mere determination of species.
Where I have, in exceptional cases, (e.g., Lichens or Fungi,) found it necessary
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or desirable in describing plants new to science [so far as my limited opportunities or data enabled me to judge] to assign names, I have done so with the uncomfortable feeling that they may have been already and better described by previous authors, and that I have been unwittingly and unwillingly adding to that very complexity and redundancy of synonymy, which I have just had occasion so signally to condemn, and to which I have myself, in some departments of research, sacrificed considerable amounts of time and labour, that would have been otherwise better bestowed [on the publication of the fruits of original investigation.]
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CLIMATOLOGY OF OTAGO.
NO account of the vegetation of Otago can be considered complete, which is not introduced by some information on its Climatology, Physical Geography, and Geology; and there is this additional reason for my giving here a very brief sketch of these departments of its natural history--so far as relates, at least, to the area of my botanical collections--that no information thereupon, of any scientific value, is easily accessible in this country.
Insufficient data yet exist for forming a correct estimate of the general Meteorology of Otago, or of any section thereof. Up to the period of my visit to Otago, only one official series of Meteorological observations had been recorded, viz., that of the Rev. Dr. Burns, at Dunedin. They were superseded and continued in 1862 by those of the Meteorological Observatory, 26 established at Dunedin, under Mr. Richard B. Gore, in connection with the Provincial Geological Survey. Of these two series of records, the latter are the more scientific and complete, and, presumably, the more accurate. But they are not the more useful or suitable for present purposes; for the meteorological statistics of Otago since 1862 are so variously tabulated in different numbers of the annual statistical records of New Zealand, that I find it impossible to institute comparisons on the one hand, or to deduce general results, having any uniformity, on the other. I have, therefore, deemed it more appropriate to my present subject to construct for myself a table, which aims only at exhibiting approximative and general results. In its construction I have made use of all the data accessible to me [representing a period of about fifteen years--from 1850 to 1865]: and especially of the official "Statistics of New Zealand," annually issued by the General Government, and which that Government has done me the honour to forward regularly since my visit in 1862.
GENERAL METEOROLOGY OF DUNEDIN. 27
[Temperature, Pressure, Moisture, Wind, Cloud, Ozone]
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[Temperature, Pressure, Moisture, Wind, Cloud, Ozone]
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Assuming that the tables of Dr. Burns and Mr. Gore represent faithfully the Meteorology of Dunedin, they are yet most inadequate representatives of the general climatology of the province. In a country with so varied a physical configuration, there must be a great diversity of local climates. The climate of the Western Fjords differs, doubtless, in important particulars, from that of the East coast, and that of the Lake basins from both. 28 Not only so; but, if I may judge from the records, to which I had access, kept by old settlers for a series of years--from those kept by myself during my residence in Otago--and from a comparison of both these groups of records with those kept by the Dunedin Observatories--there are equally great diversities of climate in very limited districts; e.g., in different parts of the area which I visited between Dunedin and the Clutha. It would appear that very different climate or weather may occur on different sides of the same hill-range. Dunedin itself is represented by the settlers as being exceptionally pluviose;--it is to Otago what Greenock is to Scotland;--and the bad character, which it bears in this respect, is assigned as a reason for their seldom visiting, or residing in it. Meteorological statistics, however, scarcely bear them out in such assertions.
In order to a proper knowledge of the local climates of Otago, and of their aggregate or mean,--the general climate of the province,--it is necessary, as I pointed out in 1862, 29 that there should be established a numerous series of Meteorological Stations throughout the province, in connexion with the Central Observatory at Dunedin--furnished with the most modern standard instruments, and presided over by competent observers and recorders of phenomena. Such a machinery obviously cannot be established at once; and if it were, many years must elapse before data accumulate sufficient in kind or number for the deduction of useful generalisations.
But no Meteorological tables, however full and accurate, can adequately indicate the important inter-relations of climate and vegetation. From the published Meteorological statistics of Otago, it would never be gathered that the winter, even on the plains and coasts, is frequently very severe, both as respects frost and snow; that considerable snow-falls sometimes, though rarely, occur at so low elevations, and so near the sea, as Dunedin, where the snow is sometimes in sufficient quantity for snow-"balling," and the ice for skating; that storms of snow, hail, or sleet, sometimes occur, even in summer, in the Greenisland district, at elevations so low as 1000 or 1400 feet, (on Saddlehill);
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that even in summer, in the same district, morning and evening fires are rendered desirable, if not necessary, by the lowness of the temperature; that night frosts sometimes occur very late in spring, or even in summer, down to the sea level, destroying young vegetation--sometimes, on the plains, rendering the raising of garden crops precarious; that on the gold-fields there is annually considerable loss of life by frost bite or snow drifts; that losses of sheep sometimes occur by thousands from snow drifts; that its winds, which are sudden and fitful, include all forms between the cold gales locally known as "Busters," and the hot dust winds that sweep across from Australia; that Otago weather is eminently capricious--marked by extremes, and sudden changes, of temperature; that the main difference between the climates of the eastern seaboard of Otago and Scotland lies in the less distinction, in the former, between the seasons, and the superior mildness of the winter in relation to the summer, with, in general, a greatly inferior snow fall. Nor should we ever infer the existence of an equally unlooked for group of phenomena, viz., the contiguity of what has generally been regarded as subtropical, jungle or forest vegetation, (viz., Tree-ferns, Myrtaceae, Araliaceae, &c.,) to glaciers rivalling those of the Alps and Himalayas; 30 or the facts that immigrant British weeds root and spread with amazing vigour and rapidity, displacing and replacing the strongest indigenous vegetation; 31 and that all the British cereals, fruits, and flowers, are grown with great ease and success. 32
Evidence already exists of the production of an artificial climate in some parts of Otago, or of the modification of the natural climate, by man's operations, especially as to drainage and timber-felling. These operations tend, in Otago, to render the climate drier and warmer; and such a change has already been experienced in the settled districts around Dunedin, as the result of swamp-draining and forest-clearing.
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PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF OTAGO.
THE Province of Otago (including that southern wedge thereof excised for political reasons in 1861,--Southland,) 33 extends between 44° 40' and 46° 80' south latitude, and 166° and 171° 10' east longitude. Its area is about 25,000 square miles, or nearly equal to that of Scotland. Its length is 150, its breadth 180, and its coast line 400, miles.
In its general physical aspect, Otago may be said to combine the features of Scotland, Norway, and Switzerland. The greater part of the Province--especially in the interior, and on the western sea-board--is hilly, mountainous, or alpine. Its western alps, which attain an elevation of upwards of 9,000 feet, 34 form part of that chain which runs throughout the South Island, and which culminates in Canterbury, in the "Mount Cook" of the settlers--the "Ahoa-rangi" (the "Piercer of the clouds of heaven") of the Maori; whose height has been variously estimated at 12,460, 13,200, and 13,362 35 feet. This Mont Blanc of New Zealand is ribbed with some magnificent glaciers, which, in respect of size, rival those of the Himalayas rather than those of the Swiss Alps. Some glaciers, of considerable size, 36 occur also within the Otago boundary, in the north-west corner of the Province, flanking the alps between the Wanaka and Wakitipu Lakes, and the west coast. The higher of the Otago alps are covered also with perennial snow--the perpetual snow-line varying in elevation from 4,000 to 8,000 feet. 37 The higher alps are generally barren
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of nearly all but cryptogamic vegetation; but much of the lower alps is wooded, imparting a picturesque beauty to their scenery, of the kind with which we are familiar in Scotland, in our Trossachs. Much of Otago consists of hilly or upland country, of the character of that which is represented in Scotland by the Lowthers or Grampians, Sidlaws or Ochils,--mostly open and grass-clad, constituting the principal pasture-grounds of the Province.
Embosomed amidst magnificent alpine scenery, in the western interior, are several large and important Lakes, which occupy a great portion of the longitudinal axis of the Province--and so arranged as to constitute almost a chain extending from its northern boundary line nearly to the southern coast. They have the physical features and attributes of the more alpine Swiss lakes, but are, for the most part, on a much grander scale. They include the following:--
* According to different measurements.
But the Province contains, also, numerous other lakes of minor magnitude; of which the principal are the Waihola, Waipori, Taeri, Tuakitoto, Kakapo, Waiuna, and North and South Mavora lakes. Of these, the Waihola, Waipori, and Tuakitoto lakes occur in the district between Dunedin and the Clutha; but none of them were specially visited by me during my excursions.
The Fjords of the West Coast rival, and probably surpass, those of Norway, in the grandeur of their alpine scenery. They are numerous, long, narrow, tortuous, and deep-bounded by lofty, and generally more or less precipitous, 38 mountains, of an average elevation of 3000 to 7000 feet. 39 The precipitous character of the boundaries of the Fjords, and the height and narrowness of the gorges, which open frequently into their heads, may be estimated by the dimensions of many of the Waterfalls. Travellers have recorded the latter as varying from 100 to 1800, or even 2000, feet high; 40 and sometimes a continuous series of cascades may be seen on the precipitous face of mountains 3000 feet high and upwards. 41
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The Province is watered by five large Rivers, besides innumerable minor rivers and streams. The larger rivers have the character of those of Iceland, and the glacier-fed rivers of other European countries, viz.,--they are, with their lake-feeders, frequently of milky hue--broad, shallow, rapid--liable to sudden and dangerous floods--their channels frequently shifting--frequently, also, broadening out into numerous arms, separated by islands or by beds, sometimes of enormous extent, (e.g., those of the Waitaki, half a mile to a mile broad) of shingle or gravel, or by dangerous quicksands. These shingle-beds frequently possess a somewhat peculiar vegetation, or are singularly sterile. Of all the Otago rivers, the finest and most important is the Clutha, which is, moreover, the largest river in New Zealand. It issues from the Wanaka and Hawea lakes, and has a feeder also from the Wakatipu lake; so that it may be said to drain the greater part of the interior of the Province. Its length from the lakes to the sea is variously estimated at 100 to 120 miles, with a fall of a 1000 feet in that distance. 42 It is navigable for fifty-nine miles from its mouth, or to about nine miles above where it receives the Tuapeka stream. According to the calculations of my friend, J. M. Balfour, C. E., Government Marine Engineer for New Zealand, it discharges, at its lowest, 1,690,401 cubic feet of water per minute--which is, in other words, six times as much as the Tay, (whose discharge, again, is the largest of any British river.) It has no estuary; but a long narrow sand-spit or bar has been thrown across its mouth by the prevalent N.E. winds. It divides before it disembouches into the sea, so as to form and embrace the flat alluvial island of Inch Clutha, which has a structure similar to that of our Carse of Gowrie. I had an opportunity of judging of the rapidity of its current by the difficulty experienced in "tracking" a boat against it during a botanical expedition from Finegand to the Nuggets. 43
Throughout the Province are to be found numerous remains of former extensive lakes, estuaries, and rivers, in the form of "flats" and "terraces" of clay, loam, gravel, or sand,--resembling, save in their greater dimensions, corresponding features in the physical geography of Scotland. Open valleys or "flats" of considerable extent are common in the hilly parts of the country; besides which, some extensive plains or downs occur, which rival in fertility, and resemble in their geology, the "Carses" of Scotland.
The geological basis of the greater part of the Province is the metamorphic slate series of rocks--consisting, mostly, of gneiss, mica, clay, chlorite, hornblende, and talcose schists, with their quartzites--all, probably, of silurian age. Granite
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or syenite occurs only at one or two localities on the southern (e.g., the Bluff), and western (e.g. Preservation Inlet), coasts. The next most widely distributed group is that of the tertiaries--the debris of the disintegration of the preceding series; which include a variety of fossiliferous (foraminiferous), arenaceous limestones, or calcareous sandstones--apparently of marine origin, and a series of lignitiferous strata, embracing conglomerates, sandstones and claystones, sands, clays, and marls. The tertiary limestone districts have the peculiarities of older limestone districts in Britain. They abound in caves, fissures, subterranean channels, and funnel-shaped holes of unknown depth exactly analogous to the "gylls" of western Yorkshire (the Ingleborough district),--the result of unequal erosion by water or the weather. Caves and fissures of every size are common, e.g., in the Greenisland district; subterranean streams are heard running; rivers or springs are seen suddenly to disappear and reappear; and stories are told of dangerous pit-falls, of depths which would be marvellous and incredible were we not familiar with such physical phenomena in connexion with similar geological conditions in many other parts of the worlds. The tertiaries include, also, the important and extensively diffused auriferous "drifts"--of conglomerates, clays, gravels, and sands; the whole being superficially covered by red or yellow sandy clays, 44 which are to be found of various depths on the hill-tops, as well as on the plains. The metamorphic slates and the tertiaries are penetrated and upheaved at many points by eruptive masses--frequently constituting hills or hill-ranges--of trap or trachyte, which, as a series in all their variety, are well represented in the Dunedin district. 45
The foregoing remarks apply to the Province as a whole; those which follow bear reference more especially to that small section thereof which I visited.
Dunedin stands at the head of the only considerable fjord of the east coast,--that known as "Otago Harbour," which is sixteen miles long. Both shores are hilly. On the northern shore, especially, the hills are frequently wooded to their summits, rise somewhat abruptly from the water, and are so massed, as to render the scenery extremely picturesque,--e.g., around Port Chalmers. The hills of the south shore are comparatively bare, and frequently present, in the foreground, sand-dunes, which contribute materially to their somewhat dry, sterile, aspect. Behind Dunedin rises the range of Flagstaff, wooded below, but bare above,--though covered, like our Braemar alps, with the remains of former forests. To the left, or north, stands Mount Cargill, wooded to its summit,--forming the centre of some beautiful Highland--Dunkeld-like-scenery. To the right or south, at a distance of two or three miles, is the open ocean, at the locality known as "Ocean Beach,"--a stretch of sands and
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sand-dunes, 46 resembling those of Barry or Tentsmoor, at the mouth of the Tay, separated from Dunedin only by a level swamp of alluvial clay, having in its centre a patch of "bush",--a circumstance that, with others, points, apparently, to a local terrestrial subsidence. The hills around Dunedin are mostly either trappean or trachytic--the rocks constituting the former including a great variety of basalts, amygdaloids, porphyries, and tuffes, apparently--like all the Otago traps I saw--of newer tertiary age.
The Greenisland coast, immediately to the south of Ocean Beach, presents a fine series of cliffs, somewhat resembling, in general appearance, those about Arbroath, save that they are of a pale buff, instead of a dark red, colour; consisting of a soft, friable, tertiary limestone or sandstone, 47 pierced and capped by trappean rocks; of which those of the Forbury Head (basaltic porphyry), and of the bold headland known as Greenisland Bluff or Peninsula, (columnar basalt,) are examples. The scenery is bold and picturesque, the cliffs forming, occasionally, grand mural precipices--the arrangement of the columns in the Bluff giving it some resemblance to Arthur Seat (Sampson's Ribs), or Staffa. Stretching inland from the coast-cliffs, the Greenisland district consists of undulating hills, which support a rich cultivated vegetation--rich, by reason, apparently, of the chemical character of the subsoil. The district is bounded towards the west or interior by the trappean mass of Kaikorai Hill, (basalt, basaltic porphyry and amygdaloid,) and the Chain Hill range (mica slate); on the south by the stream of the Kaikorai and by the basaltic masses of Stoneyhill and Saddlehill. In Stoneyhill the basalt occurs in beautiful horizontal columns or prisms, excelling, in distinctness of form, those of Greenisland Bluff. Both Saddlehill, Kaikorai Hill, and the Chain Hills, are flanked by lignitiferous tertiaries and auriferous drifts. The lower part of the valley of the Kaikorai, near its mouth, (which is, like the majority of rivers and streams on the east coast, 48 obstructed by sand,) consists of a level swamp or meadow, and exhibits, on a small scale, some of those terraces, marking the level of former lakes or estuaries, which occur on a grand scale so plentifully in the interior.
Beyond Saddlehill and the Chain Hills, lies outstretched the extensive and rich plain of the Taeri,--an alluvial tract, resembling in its structure our Carse of Gowrie. Much of it is still in the state of morass. 49 It exhibits only one isolated patch of "bush," or primitive forest--an indication, apparently, as in the case of the Hillside swamp at Dunedin, of terrestrial subsidence. The plain is watered by a river, which, in this part of its course, resembles the English Ouse, or a
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canal, rather than any of our Scottish rivers: sluggish, with low banks of clay, sand, or shingle. The Taeri plain is bounded southwards by ranges of hills higher than, but otherwise resembling (geologically), the Chain Hills. They separate this plain from the larger area of the Tokomairiro, which resembles it in structure. Between the Tokomairiro and the Clutha, the country is hilly, and of the character of that subsequently to be noticed as constituting the area of the Tuapeka gold field.
The Lower Clutha valley, between the Clutha ferry and the sea, is bounded, or broken up, by the bold hills of Kaitangata, the Ferry Bluff, the Kahiku ranges, and the cliffs of the Nuggets and Shaw's Bay. The cliff scenery, especially in the latter localities, rivals in boldness and beauty that of the Greenisland coast; but its physical character is somewhat different, the rocks being much harder and darker (blackish-blue), consisting of a series of stratified traps, (conglomerates, greenstones, basalts, felstones,--frequently slaty,) associated with fossiliferous beds, (containing Ammonites, Mytilus, Monotis, Inoceramus, &c.) apparently of mesozoic age. 50
The Tuapeka district is wholly highland, or hilly, pasture land, resembling our Lowthers in external configuration, and our Grampians in geological character. Like the former, as illustrated in the Leadhills Gold-field, the hills are of no great elevation (1,000 to 2,000 feet); have a gently rounded outline, and comparatively open valleys, 51 which at their confluence generally form "flats;" they are grassed to the summit, seldom exhibiting (in their valleys) patches of "bush;" and had (when I visited them) a bare yellow aspect. The constituent rock is mica-slate, or gneiss, with auriferous quartzites-covered on the hill-tops, frequently, as well as in the "flats," with lignitiferous or auriferous tertiaries, similar to those of Greenisland.
The following table 52 of heights shows conveniently the principal elevations in the districts which I visited:
I. GREEN ISLAND DISTRICT.
Elevation above sea.
Saddlehill-chief peak,-- 1565 feet.
" " lesser peak,-- 1414 "
Scroggs' Hill,-- 1160 "
Kaikorai Hill,-- 1092 or 1098 " 53
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Abbott's Hill,-- 1190 feet.
Summit level of road to Middle Taeri,-- - 1280 "
" " of road to North Taeri,-- 1185 "
" " of Great South Road,-- 415 "
" " of road across Kaikorai Hill,-- 550 "
Greenisland Hills,--- 603 "
II. --DUNEDIN DISTRICT.
Mount Cargill,-- 2297 or 2300 " 54
Wetherstone's Inn,-- 1107 "
Swamp Hill,-- 2162 "
Flagstaff,-- 2190 or 2200 " 55
Signal Hill-two peaks,-- 1212 and 1300 "
Lookout Point,-- 378 "
Forbury Hill,-- 524 "
Bellevue Hill, (Dunedin,)-- 698 "
Maori Hill, (Pelichet Bay,)-- 462 "
Moray Place, (Dunedin,)-- 55 "
Hillside, (Caversham,)-- 75 "
III. --LOWER CLUTHA DISTRICT.
Shaw's Bay: Cliffs,-- 270 "
IV. -TUAPEKA DISTRICT.
Summit level of road between Tuapeka and Waitahuna,-- 1802 "
Ranges between Tuapeka and Waitahuna,-- 1106 "
Mount Stewart, (Woolshed,) ----- 1433 "