10 February 2014

Speargrass on the Tunupo track, Ngamoko range

One of the less pleasant aspects of the tops of the Ngamoko and Ruahine ranges is this plant — speargrass (also known by other common names, not all publishable). The genus is Aciphylla; this is probably A. colensoi. Various species of speargrass can be found, usually unwittingly and painfully, throughout New Zealand's mountains. When they're flowering/seeding like this, they're relatively easy to avoid, but the non-flowering plant is much harder to spot, usually being nestled in among the snowgrass, and the leaves are every bit as tough and needle-like as the daggers you see here.

[28 January 2014, Olympus OM-D EM-1, 12–40 mm f2.8 at 12 mm, ISO 200, 1/640 at f5.6]

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor


Elephant's Child said...

Ouch. Big ouch. Native?

pohanginapete said...

EC,I've heard (and probably uttered) worse words than 'Ouch'. It's a particular menace under snow, when you only find it when it's embedded in your leg.

Yes, native. A. colensoi is endemic.

Relatively Retiring said...

The diversity of plants never ceases to amaze me. If you were likely to be trodden on you'd have some good self-defence strategies too - and that's another great portrait!

pohanginapete said...

RR, thank you. I agree, too, about the diversity of plants, and their self-defence reminds me of Winnie the Pooh's poem:
'What shall we do about poor little Tigger?
If he never eats nothing he'll never get bigger.
He doesn't like honey and haycorns and thistles
Because of the taste and because of the bristles.
And all the good things which an animal likes
Have the wrong sort of swallow or too many spikes.'

Zhoen said...

A plant that seriously does not want to be eaten.

Now I'm going to have to research the local names. Because I am fascinated by strong language.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, just add your choice of adjective to either 'speargrass' or 'spaniard' (the latter's probably not pc now, but it's still used). The stronger the adjective the more likely you are to have identified a commonly used name.

The weird thing is that these plants do get eaten. Perhaps it's because they're closely related to carrots.