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Getting Started with the Flora of New Zealand

by Geoff Ridley

When I first started out learning about the flora of Aotearoa New Zealand I bought three books, volume one and two of the “Flora of New Zealand” and the first edition of the Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand (Poole and Adams, 1964).

These were the basics and were built on the back of the Allan Herbarium. With time I supplemented my three books with new books as they were published until the arrival of the internet which made a lot more information was available at the push of a few keys.

So, if I were starting out again today what would be the key internet resources I would use? Well, I would still use the five volumes the Flora of New Zealand treating the vascular plants, and the three volumes of treating lichens. These were all initially published as books and are now available electronically online at Flora of New Zealand Series.

But what about new material? All new Floras are being produced as online PDFs that are a series of fascicles that combine to make up the equivalent of an old-style paper volume.

These can be found at nzflora and so far, the fascicles are covering the ferns and lycophytes (32 fascicles), mosses (49 fascicles) and seed plants (7 fascicles). Also, at nzflora you can browse or search for profiles (= a fact sheet) on individual species.


Manaaki Whenua Identification tools

Manaaki Whenua provides a range of identification tools. This includes keys to natives groups such as Coprosma and Myrtaceae, as well as exotic plants e.g., weeds and willows.


Go to the Allan Herbarium to read about its history or if you want to know about a specific botanist in our history. If you want to search the objects, the Allan Herbarium holds go to the Systematics Collections Data portal. Here you can search by the species binomial and then using the filters on the left begin to narrow your search down.

If you want to explore all the information and data we have on a species go to Biota of New Zealand. Be sure to read the About page to the low down on what it contains and the Help page to maximise the value of your search.

And don’t forget to look at Ngā Rauropi Whakaoranga our database of Māori traditional uses of native plants.

Allan Herbarium https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/tools-and-resources/collections/allan-herbarium/
Biota of New Zealand https://biotanz.landcareresearch.co.nz/
Flora of New Zealand Series https://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Index.aspx
Identification Tools https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/tools-and-resources/identification/
Ngā Rauropi Whakaoranga https://rauropiwhakaoranga.landcareresearch.co.nz/
nzflora https://www.nzflora.info/index.html

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