Kawakawa, the ‘holey’ herb of Aotearoa

Kawakawa – photo by Wendy Fox “… And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. …. Once the…

The astonishing fungus versus the super survivor thistle

Thistles are nasty weeds on farms around the world, including New Zealand farms and the Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense) is the worst of the bunch. It’s such a nuisance that, much like the month-old yogurt pottle languishing at the back of the work fridge, nobody wants to associate themselves with…

Yellow or purple? Colour choices of insects at the beach

When you think of the beach, what comes to mind? Do you think about basking in the sun, feeling the granules of golden sand underneath your toes, taking a refreshing dip in the blue, salty water with the waves crashing around you? To think of the plant life which thrives…

Flowers: a pretty effective way to control insect crop pests

Flowering plants play a primary role in nature. Not only do they provide additional food sources, such as nectar or pollen, to a diversity of animals (like insects, birds, and spiders), but they also provide shelter for those creatures. The decline of insect populations, recently documented in parts of the…

Stop the bot: grapevines, fungus and fungicides

Grapevines Photo by Christine und Hagen Graf CC BY 2.0 When it comes to grapes, people think of fresh table grapes, grape juice, jam, jelly, raisins and, of course, wine! However, these fruit products on your table take more than just a grape to make. Behind the pictures of vines dripping…

The little things matter in restoration

“Nature does not compartmentalize. Its instinct is integrative and holistic.”– Ram Nath Kovind Lyra Chu is a postgraduate student in the Master of Science. She wrote this article as part of her assessment for ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology. *Dollery, R., Bowie, M., & Dickinson, N. (2018). Tree guards…

Fire and the dragon leaf

Smaug the Magnificent (and excerpt from John Howe). Dragons. Huge, fire-breathing, flying reptiles. Sometimes cunning, sometimes chatty, often noble and inscrutable, occasionally savage and despicable. Always covetous of gold and precious items. Dragons are probably the fantastical creature that has most permeated our modern world. Everyone knows about dragons. Every region has…

A new toolbox toxin that can take out an elephant

Whilst hiking in Arthur’s Pass, there is always one plant that never fails to catch my eye. I notice it, not because of its’ beauty or its phenomenal size, but because of the alarm bells that go off in my head when I see it. This plant is Coriaria arborea,…

Fire and Shire

It is a strange old time that we are living through, with much of the world in a pandemic lockdown. In times of stress I have a safe space that I return to that has worked throughout my life. A trip to Middle-Earth is a great comfort to me. I…

The green walls of China

Growing up on a farm meant that you were familiar with fire. There were always trimmings from shelter-belt hedges to drag into piles to make into bonfires. In autumn, there was barley stubble that was burned off to help get the paddocks ready for their next assignment. There were also…