The indigenous vegetation of New Zealand is of considerable interest and beauty. It is unusual because of the large number of endemic species it contains and for the great variety of habitats in which they are found. Differences in climatic conditions, in altitude, and in type of soil are met with in a space of a few miles, and these factors have produced plant associations different from those in other parts of the world. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the first botanists to reach these shores, to the interests in plants shown by early missionaries, ships' surgeons, surveyors, and geologists, it was not long before a great many New Zealand plants had been collected and accurately described. Further, a remarkable herbarium consisting of specimens which had been sent to England was established at Kew Gardens, London.