Kōrero: Alpine plants

Giant spaniard and Mt Cook lily

Giant spaniard and Mt Cook lily

Two alpine giants grow alongside each other in this tussock herbfield on Whitcombe Pass. At the rear, the giant spaniard (Aciphylla scott-thomsonii) is a member of the carrot family, and is one of the largest and most fierce of New Zealand’s speargrasses. It forms clumps of spiky leaves up to half a metre tall. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants, and masses of flowers are borne on 3-metre-tall flowering spikes.

The Mt Cook lily (Ranunculus lyallii) is not a lily at all, but the world’s largest buttercup. Its large white flowers are about 8 centimetres in diameter, and its circular leaves can grow up to 40 centimetres wide.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips

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Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Hugh Wilson, 'Alpine plants - New Zealand’s alpine flora and its origins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/11044/giant-spaniard-and-mt-cook-lily (accessed 21 May 2019)

Story by Hugh Wilson, published 24 Sep 2007