Bexley Wetland, at the mouth of the Avon River (just before it joins into the Avon-Heathcote Estuary) is almost unrecognisable after the 2011 earthquakes. Liquefaction was substantial in this area and many homes adjacent to the wetland were destroyed.
The wetland used to support a mixture of salt and fresh water wetland vegetation, due to the combination of river water, freshwater springs, and tidal flow via the estuary. There were some especially nice salt meadow areas, but the site looks very different now.
Bexley Wetland, at the mouth of the Avon River
Nevertheless, significant species remain:
Shore celery (Apium prostratum)
Oioi (Apodasmia similis)
NZ musk (Thyridia repens)
Foweraker House is now open again (in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens), following closure after the earthquakes here. The collection includes a mixture of native and exotic alpine species, many of which are just starting to flower.
Celmisia spectabilis (Matua-tikumu)
Helichrysum intermedium, Celmisia longifolia, Celmisia spectabilis
Freesia sp. and Trillium sp.
Landcare Research has just published identification guides for six moss families. They are available as pdfs here, and to search online via the Flora of NZ site.
The families covered so far are:
Two species of moss on Foggy Peak, near Porters Pass, Canterbury
Post-quakes there is still plenty of demolition underway in Christchurch.
Meanwhile, the plants are making the most of any and all opportunities.
And the central city is also undergoing a major restoration of the banks along the Avon River (Te Papa Ōtākaro).
Demolition underway in the Hereford/Tuam St area
Plants using any and all available space
Planting along the riverbank in the Victoria Square/Law Courts area.
Many weeds are also beautiful. Old mans beard (Clematis vitalba) is currently seeding, so it may be easier to spot amongst other plants.
There is control information from the Dept of Conservation here and from Environment Canterbury here.
DoC has recently published a new report on the conservation status of NZ indigenous vascular plants, 2012. The report lists the threat status of 2580 plants.
The report and supplemental data are available here.
Muehlenbeckia ephedroides. The status of this species is “at risk, declining”.
Post-earthquakes, a natural environment recovery plan has been developed by Environment Canterbury (and others). This is part of the Recovery Strategy for greater Christchurch. Biodiversity is one of the aspects considered.
There is introductory and summary material here, or go straight to the main report here.
Plants, making the most of opportunities, including cuts in asphalt
Conservation Week is coming up – 8-15 Sep 2013. And its spring here, so its a good time to be out and about.
The trig on Sugarloaf, Port Hills
These Blechnum ferns were gracing Cathedral square, along with various artworks – including painted fencing around the quake-damaged cathedral.