Travis Wetland Monthly Newsletter April 2024

Travis Wetland Trust

All previous newsletters can be found here.

Work Day Reminder, April 20 2024

Travis Wetland location map

The next monthly work day will be from 9.00am – noon this coming Saturday.

This month we’ll be releasing plants from the rapid summer growth somewhere around the wetland, maybe even planting a few specimens.

If you arrive late there will be a notice on the Education Centre door explaining where we have gone.

All tools provided. Gumboots are recommended, but if you don’t have any we have pairs for loan. Please bring your own gloves if you can, but we have some of them for loan too.

If the weather on the work day is poor and we decide to cancel then an email will be sent by 8am on Saturday morning. So if you think the conditions are marginal, please check your emails.

If you’re reading this on the website and are not on the email list then you can add yourself to it through the form at the foot of the home page. If you change your mind there’s an unsubscribe link in each newsletter.

Latest News

Report on Last Month’s Work Day, 16 March

March 2024 work day

The morning was cold and clear with a slight frost on the cut grass beside the Beach Road entrance. Close to 20 people turned up for a session of removing climbing weeds from the southern side of the entrance road.

There was plenty of convolvulus to remove from trees, flax and sedges and it was often time consuming to unravel this persistent climber from host foliage. Fortunately significant regrowth is unlikely before next spring.

Another task was removing a patch of hop plants, which were planted by beer loving farmers many years ago. It was hard to cut through their thick lower stems and their strong climbing habit made them harder to pull down than convolvulus. Unfortunately their lower leaves sometimes hid underlying blackberry, resulting in damage to workers’ hands from thorns.

March 2024 work day

Our efforts released a few small native plants from smothering and it was pleasing to see kahikatea and mānuka showing healthy foliage.

One of us got sidetracked by patches of Beggar’s tick and disappeared into a thigh deep water hole while removing an elusive specimen of this annoying weed.

We enjoyed having a workday that was less hot than recent months but of course we still welcomed refreshments afterwards. Thanks everyone.

Article: Sue Britain, images: Dave Evans

Corybas orchid from Travis

Travis Orchid is Super Special

Travis Wetland has long been known to be host of a rare Spider orchid (Corybas genus). A few months ago samples were sent to Carlos Lehnebach the Botany Curator at Te Papa. Earlier this month we heard back from him that our Spider orchid is important and is the only South Island population of this particular species so far discovered! In the North island one population has been found in Auckland and another in Raglan. The conservation status is considered to be Threatened – Nationally Critical.

The North Island ones have tag names so we should have one for ours! Suggest ‘Oruapaeroa’ or ‘Flannmeurkii.’ DNA analysis indicates that all 3 populations are the same species. Carlos also suggested establishing back-up populations locally to secure long term survival of the species! This was also suggested by CCC botanist Nick Head, prior to receiving the recommendation from Carlos. The suggestion was acted upon earlier this year. Results? We’ll have to wait until Spring to see how they are faring!

Article Eleanor Bissell and image Grahame

Conservation Volunteers Work Morning

Conservation volunteers April 2024

Willing workers from Conservation Volunteers joined our Wednesday group in the first week of April. We all worked among the young plants along the Western boundary, clearing unwanted weeds from plantings by the Waitākiri school students. Lots of nightshade, convolvulus, twitch, a few blackberry plants and seedling plants of old man’s beard as well as Maitens (an invader from Chile). Irritatingly a large bag of rubbish had also been dumped among the trees.

We also watered struggling plants, particularly lemonwood, kōwhai and broadleaf. Wayne used the weed whacker very effectively leaving the area looking well cared for.

A treat for all was a visit to the site where last year we cleared the blackberry plants and laid newspaper thickly to smother weeds. In late August we scattered collected manuka seeds over the paper and mulch. This was a success as we now have another area which will eventually look after itself – the scattered seed has produced many seedlings. Lots of maintenance will be carried out in the meantime to assure success.

We also discovered a Travis Spider orchid there (see article above)!

Article: Eleanor Bissell, image: Wayne Hill

Common Hop (Humulus lupulus)

Common Hops

A small patch of hops is present amongst trees near the Beach Road entrance to the wetland. These are most obvious when they flower in early autumn and this is when we attempt to cut them down to minimise spreading.

Hops belong to the hemp family and are native to West Asia, Europe and North America. The plant is a herbaceous perennial with a vigorous climbing habit. In winter its foliage dies back to a cold-hardy rhizome. Technically the hop plant is a bine, which wraps around a support structure using tiny hairs, unlike a vine which climbs using tendrils and hooks.

There are separate male and female plants and wind pollination occurs to produce seed cones containing a single fruit or achene. Overlapping green bracts that turn brown cover the female cone and this is the part of the plant so highly prized by beer makers.

Hopefully our recent efforts will help to keep this invasive weed confined to a small patch at Travis.

Article: Sue Britain and image: Grahame

City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge

We’re counting down to the City Nature Challenge later this month (26-29 April). Here’s a message from Sarah Mankelow, CCC Community Partnerships Ranger:

I am excited to announce that the red zone team are running lots of events for this year’s Global City Nature Challenge 26-29 April.

We’d love for you to take part on one or more of our four-day bioblitz events or at one of the many other events happening all over the district.

If you are new to the app, or need some extra support there are also workshops in the lead up to the City Nature Challenge, or feel free to give me a call!

Images from Grahame

Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not
Male Midge
Male Midge
Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris
Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris