02 April 2009

Speargrass above the Pourangaki

Aciphylla flowers above the Pourangaki catchment

Although the flowers of speargrass (Aciphylla spp.) aren't something you'd want to stumble into, it's the leaves — thin, stiff and needle-sharp at the tips — that do the most damage, because they can be hard to spot among the snow tussocks; moreover, the flowers (strictly, inflorescences) usually emerge prominently from the snowgrass so the plant's easier to avoid when it's flowering. We saw plenty of these on the tops above the Pourangaki catchment, Ruahine Range, just before Christmas 2007.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


Anonymous said...

it is beautiful in flower and can be very hard to spot indeed..i hate when you reach for a hold amongst tussock and end up clutching an array of spears instead

i cross checked against a few old photos i have and these specimens look much yellower

i love the background bush clad scarred ridges and cloud, once again you make me want to be in the hills


pohanginapete said...

Yeah, I've done that too, Tom. Not pleasant.

Maybe these flowers were newer and those in your photos, perhaps being older, had faded a little? Or, it might be the light: overcast conditions often tend to emphasise colours. On the other hand, it could simply be a characteristic of the sensor/film. I can pretty much guarantee that if I'd photographed these on Velvia film, the colours would have been even more intense (and the shadows would have much darker, with some of the detail gone). Several possibilities; not mutually exclusive.

If you head for the Ruahine now, you might meet up with Robb. He's heading over the Ngamoko into the Pohangina tomorrow. You might meet up with a lot of hunters, too. The stags were just giving the first few tentative roars when I left the valley a couple of weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

it would be a long plane ride for me...it is a lovely sunday morning in northern england so instead i am off for a wander in the north york moors, will pack the camera and see if i can get close to a pohanginapete shot for the album

ps cant wait for robs next post