Pictures of cool plants : Taranaki Falls Walk.

Hebe Vernicosa, flowering

In a single 2-3 hour hike we blew the battery on two cameras taking photos of the stunning landscape and the wonderful flora. It’s easy to do in any stretch of scenery on the island, especially when everything is blooming with life.

A crustose type lichen envelopes the branch. The disks are fruiting bodies.

Just the sheer variety of scrubs, trees, moss, fungi, flowers, ferns, and lichen is beautiful to behold.

Gleichenia dicarpa, commonly called the tangle fern.

It’s very easy to go from spot to spot, taking pictures of everything and turning an hour-long walk into a 3+ hour photo bonanza.

A fern in the Gleicheniaceae family, maybe an umbrella fern?

I particularly enjoy the textures found on ferns and evergreens, they make for highly patterned, satisfyingly green shots.

Hebe Vernicosa, stacks of green leaves reaching to the sky.
Libocedrus bidwillii, the New Zealand cedar.

Away from the ferns and scrubs, New Zealand is brimming with flowers of every variety.

Aceana microphylla, fields of spiky flowers.
The native Manuka plant, flowering.

Look the cool little tentacle things on the flowers! This plant is where the famous Manuka honey comes from.

Sprouting moss clinging from a rock wall.

Flowers, ferns, and shrubs are not the only residents of the landscape. Fuzzy moss lines every surface of the walk. It really comes to life after the rains, droplets clinging to the shiny green growth.

A foliose lichen, maybe Nephroma australe.

Where moss hasn’t taken over, lichen fills the gaps. It comes in three main types : foliose, fruticose, and crustose. When the rains come in, the foliose lichen spread their leafy surface wide.

Mushrooms sprout from treebark. Probably basidiomycete.

Mushrooms make an appearance as well, but they’re much harder to find. Many of them disintegrate rapidly, or sprout well away from the path, or are just plain hidden. A search for images of “New Zealand mushrooms” turns up photos of some fantastical fungi.

Everyone growing happily (mostly) together on a branch.

All of these plants compete for resources and space or live symbiotically, so it’s not uncommon to find four or more species growing on the same branch or patch of ground.

Megadromus antarcticus. What a name!

A bit of wildlife rounds out the experience. We haven’t really encountered large fauna on the island, but plenty of insects make an appearance if you take a look around.

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