Past Events

Field Trip on Saturday 18th of May 2024, 08:00 AM (1 day ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Leaders: John Barkla / Gretchen Brownstein.

On this trip to the far south we will visit both public and private reserves to see the diversity of plants and vegetation along the south coast, including coastal forests, coastal turfs, coastal cliffs, estuaries and sand dunes. The local QEII reps will lead us around some of the hidden gems of the area. We will be doing a series of shorts walks (between 5min to 1 hour at various sites) depending on site, so there will interesting plants to see for all levels of fitness. Come prepared to be flexible, with good walking shoes, warm clothing, food, and water. Limited accommodation at Slope Point is availble on the Saturday night. Travel 200km (one-way). Please contact Gretchen to book a place on the trip.

Social Event on Wednesday 8th of May 2024, 05:30 PM (1 week ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

We will have our AGM and then announce the winners of the photo competition. The photographic competition is a popular and eagerly anticipated event for anyone interested in botanical photography. Enter your best photos and learn what makes a good photograph and how to improve your photographic skills from our panel of expert judges. Your photographs may be chosen for the BSO Calendar so this is your opportunity to have one month of fame. Start organising your entries now and don’t wait until the last minute.

Field Trip on Saturday 13th of April 2024, 09:00 AM (1 month ago)

Contact: Jo Sinclair |

A short trail of Sycamore trees exploding in a lichen and bryophyte community, with a scattered native understory will lead us to Mount Stuart Tunnel. The tunnel was built around 1875 and is 442 metres long. The cool damp air may require warm clothing. If we turn the torches off, we might be rewarded with a glow worm show. The entrance of the tunnel walls are coated in hornworts, liverworts, moss and ferns. Having a hand lens and head torch on this trip is highly recommended. This is a short walk (~1km return) on well- formed tracks. Meet at the Botany Department carpark 9am. Returning to Dunedin by 2pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 10th of April 2024, 05:20 PM (1 month ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: On Lee Lau. Chatham Island/Rēkohu/Wharekauri on the eastern edge of Zealandia is home to a high proportion of New Zealand's endemic flora and fauna. Join On Lee for a talk about encountering this flora and fauna in some special sites over the past few years while visiting the island to support freshwater fish research with Otago Uni. On Lee comes from a botany background in the Americas and has gained an appreciation for birds and bugs while working at Tūhura Otago Museum for the past 10 years. The talk will include a virtual visit to some of the island's rākau momori in kōpi groves, including the 2023 Winner for Rākau o te tau/Tree of the Year NZ Aotearoa.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 13th of March 2024, 05:20 PM (2 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Postponed due to illness - no talk tonight

Speaker: Jess Paull. In ages bygone, gymnosperms were at the height of their diversity. In the modern age, many face extinction due to the looming threat of climate change. What can this group (and others) tell us about our past and our future?

Field Trip on Saturday 9th of March 2024, 09:00 AM (2 months ago)

Contact: Lydia Metcalfe | 027 726 5556

Lydia is leading a climb up Hikaroroa. This 616m mountain 11km inland from Waikouaiti has special ecological significance. Expect stunning plants, expansive views, and a steep climb. This trip will be an adventure, requiring a bit of grunt and surefooted-ness. Bring a lunch and plenty of water. Meet at the Botany Dept carpark 9am, returning late afternoon. Contact Lydia for further details 027 726 5556.

Field Trip on Saturday 24th of February 2024, 09:00 AM (2 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

The tarns and peat bogs with associated moss field, sedgeland and shrub communities on the flat plateau of Swampy Summit are of regional and national significance. Along with all the interesting plant communities, the views from the top are pretty good. This trip is along well maintained tracks but there will be mud and 350m of elevation gain/loss. Good footwear and lunch a must. And dress for all weather types. Meet at Botany Department car park at 9am and return time 4pm. Contact Gretchen 021 065 8497.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 14th of February 2024, 05:20 PM (3 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Bradley Curnow.

My presentation on Western Australian wildflowers is a low-key photographic ramble through a tiny fraction of Australians largest state. Amongst other places I start in Perth at the King’s botanic garden then travel to John Forrest national park on the Darling escarpment. We head north to Newman and into the outback at Southern cross and Kalgoorlie. On the south coast we visit Esperance and a Banksia speciosa forest and the superb Cape la Grande national park. I also have a section of orchid photos.

Field Trip on Saturday 11th of November 2023, 07:30 AM (6 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

This is an adventurous trip to the Lenz Reserve at Tautuku in the Catlins. We will follow local experts along trapline routes through mixed old growth and regenerating podocarp forest. There is potential for exciting plant sightings. This trip requires a high level of fitness; we will be covering up to 10km of very rough routes through dense forest. Bring tramping boots, wet weather gear, lunch, water, and first aid kit. Contact Gretchen Brownstein ( Meet at Botany Carpark 7:30am to carpool (drive time: 2hrs one way, ~300kms return trip). Return 7pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 8th of November 2023, 05:20 PM (6 months ago)

Contact: Lydia Turley

Mushroom-forming fungi are important components of ecosystems. We can observe mushrooms, but the rest of the fungus is not so easy to observe. How much information can we extract from collections of mushrooms? What can genetic data tell us? Come hear about some of the challenges in studying fungi and how maths can help.

Field Trip on Saturday 14th of October 2023, 09:00 AM (7 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

The location for our October field trip this Saturday has changed. We will be exploring the lichen and fungi at Burns Reserve.

The 87 hectares of coastal podocarp forest which makes up this reserve, lies on the flanks of Signal Hill high above Ravensbourne, Maia, Burkes and St Leonards. Though established in 1907 by residents concerned at the amount of deforestation on the West Harbour Hills, the Reserve had, until recently, been largely forgotten. We did a trip last autumn for the Easter Orchids, this time we will be looking for lichens and fungi.

Meet at Botany Department carpark at 9am. Good walking shoes a must, uneven tracks and a few short hills. Return 1pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 11th of October 2023, 05:20 PM (7 months ago)

Contact: Allison Knight

Speaker: Marley Ford, Private Consultant.

Lichens are a conspicuous part of New Zealand’s ecosystems, but a group not well known by many. Working towards curing ‘lichen blindness’ this talk offers an introduction into the symbiotic world of lichenized fungi. From mountains to the sea, lichens can survive anywhere… even space? In New Zealand we have 10% of the world's lichen diversity with more than 2050 species. Many more are undescribed or unreported. Of our currently recognised species over half are classed as “Data Deficient” - meaning we know little about their distribution, abundance, and ecology. Further, New Zealand currently has no full-time lichenologists and only a handful of people working on them at all. From sexy pavement lichen to one named after Jacinda Arden – these enigmas are all around us! Find out what a lichen is, what they do and how you can go about identifying them, plus an outline of where to find the best and most current lichen resources in New Zealand.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 13th of September 2023, 06:00 PM (8 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Carol West. Location: Archway 4, University of Otago.

My journey with environmental weeds began with Botany Division, DSIR and Clematis vitalba in 1984, in the days of the Noxious Plants Act. It then continued throughout my roles in the Department of Conservation with a host of weed species, the Biosecurity Act, policy and strategy development, Standard Operating Procedures and science advice spanning the entire country and occasionally diverting overseas. I’ll cover some highlights/key points from this journey.

About the speaker: Carol West was awarded the Allan Mere in 2022 for contributions to the study and preservation of New Zealand’s flora for more than forty years. This talk will focus on one aspect of those contributions – management of environmental weeds.

Field Trip on Saturday 9th of September 2023, 09:00 AM (8 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

It’s going to be botanising on the hoof so to speak as we follow Gold Miners Direct from Steep Hill Road down to the north branch of the Waikouaiti River, then swing left following the river to Possum Hut (now a relic). Climbing up a steepish spur from the hut, we will connect with the Green Hut/Pulpit Rock track which will lead us back to the cars. It’s a good track, quite steep in places both downwards and upwards, but only for short bursts. The vegetation is quite modified comprising of regenerating coastal bush. Good footwear and appropriate clothing needed as the Silver Peaks is exposed. About a 4 hour trip.

Field Trip on Saturday 19th of August 2023, 08:15 AM (9 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Leader Cathy Rufaut. On this trip we will visit two of the last remaining examples of inland saline and see some of the work Cathy and her team are doing to help restore and protect these naturally uncommon ecosystems. We will be visiting the Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland in the morning, then going onto the Belmont Inland Saline after lunch. Please bring a lunch, water, and warm clothing. Meet at the Botany Department carpark at 8:15am to carpool or 10:30am at Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland carpark. Travel: 2hrs / 150 km each way from Dunedin. Planned return time to Dunedin: 5pm.