New Zealand Plants
New Zealand's long geographical isolation has caused it to develop a largely unique flora. All its main native tree species are found nowhere else on Earth, and it has one of the best-developed alpine floras in the world.
The North Island is markedly different from the South, both in its more even topography and milder climate, and this affects the flora there. Alpine areas are less extensive, but the forests and thermal areas are home to diverse assemblages of interesting plants.
Photos from Nelson Lakes NP, Kahurangi NP and Abel Tasman NP.
Arthur's Pass is one of the most accessible alpine areas in New Zealand, given that one of the few roads crossing east-west runs through it. The drive is spectacular, and any walks in the area will reveal a whole host of interesting plants.
The Catlins is the area in the south-east of the South Island, roughly between Nugget Point and Invercargill. The coast is very scenic, and there are beautiful podocarp forests to explore.
Fiordland is justifiably hailed as one of the most spectacular areas of New Zealand to explore. As with other major mountainous areas, it has its share of unique endemics and more widespread common species. All are adapted to cope with the heavy rainfall!
Otago is significantly drier than Fiordland and Mt Aspiring to the west, and this affects the flora found there.
Photos from Westland and Mt Aspiring National Parks. Perhaps my favourite part of the South Island!
Stewart Island is still largely wilderness, and remains one of the most unspoiled natural areas in New Zealand. It has been isolated from the rest of New Zealand since the last Ice Age and this has led to the evolution of a small number of endemic plants.
New Zealand has an internationally important bryophyte flora, with a high diversity of species, many of which are endemic. New species are being described regularly, with over 600 liverwort and more than 500 moss species currently recognised.