Seed Collecting Expeditions
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Rimu seed - something every seed collector dreams about, rimu only seed every few years, and seldom very heavily in the North Island, now that the climate is warming.
Wetas eat the seed, and the tree responds to the weta predation by "mast" seeding, or throwing a particularly heavy crop, approximately every 11 years, but the actual length of time varies and may be in response to good conditions. In between mast years, there is often almost no seed, but sometimes a small crop occurs.
In a mast year, whole trees
Seed collecting cabbage tree seed (right) in severely degraded Northland dune country. On this trip we had to walk over desert-like conditions for several hours. Pseudopanax ferox, savage toothed lancewood, grows in hidden gullies in this environment, and as grazing continues, the last remaining bushes of that species fall slowly into the sea. On this trip we found Pseudopanax ferox, but only one mature plant remained where previously there had been lots. Only prompt action can save the remaining vegetation.
Sometimes we have to climb for the seed. On these occasions we get to measure the height of trees. Often we find that trees grow to heights well above what the books say. For example we have measured Syzygium maire (swamp maire), pukatea, and makamaka all at 30 metres high.
This height is an uncommon maximum height that occurs regularly on fertile soils where rainfall is plentiful competition is dense, such as on the fertile volcanic soils around where we live.
see our pages on seedlings
Page last updated: 05/04/02