Ring of Fire: Volcanoes and Plants around the Pacific.

Wednesday 13th of February 2019, 05:20 PM (1 week ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcare.research.co.nz

Speaker: Peter Johnson, Landcare Research.

Volcanoes: ancient to active, with or without fumes, steam, scoria, sparks, ash, lava … what places for plants to live!

Over the years I have found myself scrambling, botanising, and photographing upon the slopes and sometimes the summits of solidified or eroding magma mountains. Most of these have risen up from the 'ring of fire', and my retrospective journey will take us clockwise around the margin of the Pacific Plate. We shall start among gentians on the highest point of the Auckland Islands, rest briefly on the basalt hills of Dunedin, then head north for a dose of younger volcanic fields: Tongariro, Taupo, Tarawera, and Rangitoto. Then up through Pacific Islands (Samoan lava fields, Metrosideros mist forest, erupting Mt Yasur) towards Indonesian mountains (or Gunung) with names such as Agung, Abang, Kawa Ijen, Bromo, Merapi, and Sibayak … with plants ranging from rice to wild raspberries, Dianella to Dodonaea. In northern Japan we shall climb Mt Asahidako and Rishirifuju, see familiar genera such as Rhododendron and Betula, another gentian, and wildflowers you may have never heard of. Google Earth will take us to Kamchatka, Canada, and Guatemala; we have garden plants from all those places. Finally, to the dry Andes, to see red mistletoes upon columnar cacti, and to Volcan Llaima where the alpine herbs bloom blue and white, yellow and orange and red … an illustrated nursery catalogue to die for … but take nothing but photographs!