Weekend Field Trip to the St Marys Range, North Otago

Saturday 8th of December 2012, 12:00 AM (8 years ago)

Contact: David Lyttle | djl1yttle@gmail.com | (03) 454 54750

The St Marys Range runs along the south side of the Waitaki Valley inland from Kurow, North Otago. Geologically it is graywacke rather then schist and consequently there are extensive screes on the steeper slopes. The highest point is Kohurau (2015 m). The range catches enough moisture from fogs from the east coast which enables it to support a specialised alpine flora that includes some unique elements. On the high scree plateaus above 1600 m extensive colonies of the spectacular speargrass Aciphylla dobsonii are found. Other plants occurring in this harsh environment are Raoulia youngii, Lobelia roughii, Leptinella atrata, Hebe epacridea and Haastia sinclairii. There is an undescribed cushion Myosotis, an undescribed scree chickweed similar to Stelleria roughii and a distinctive Celmisia related to Celmisia angustifolia. The trip is timed to coincide with the flowering of the recently described scree buttercup Ranunculus acraeus a species restricted to North Otago and South Canterbury.

We will stay at the Awakino Skifield Lodge which will be open for us. The cost is $25.00 per person per night. Depart from Dunedin on the morning of Saturday 8th (at a time convenient for participating drivers and passengers—i.e., dont turn up at Botany Department and expect a ride; travel arrangements will need to be sorted out beforehand); return afternoon of Sunday 9th. Participants need to supply own food and overnight gear. Anyone who wishes to participate in this trip please contact David Lyttle