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Native orchids

This time of the year most people are unaware of the flower show happening right under our feet. Koanga, spring is the time for our native orchids. At last count Aotearoa has about 120 species, a number of which are still unnamed.

Our Raukumara Pae Maunga is currently home to 30 species. This is probably a conservative guesstimate as large areas of our rohe, including Raukumara Pae Maunga, have lacked systematic botanical surveys. The potential for new species discoveries or species redistributions remains high.

Being a country blessed with a temperate climate many of our orchids are not as bolshy or flamboyant as their tropical relatives. What they lack in " showiness " they more than make up for in intricate detail within their flowers. Our orchids occupy habitats from the alpine gardens on Hikurangi and Whanokao. To our wetlands, coastal pohutukawa forests and everywhere in between.

These are just some of the 20 plus species our Kaimahi encountered during recent mahi in Raukumara Pae Maunga. Many of these species are edible and it was pleasing to see carpets of orchids flowering untouched.The reduction in browsers due to the recent aerial 1080 operation playing a major part in this outcome. A treasured part of our biota.

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