Rush Blitzes Competition

Voting closed on Saturday in the annual favourite native plant elections held by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, and with a clear margin no recount is necessary.

The winning species, Bamboo Rush (Sporadanthus ferrugineus) highlights many of the issues surrounding New Zealand’s plants and ecosystems. Relatively new to science, this handsome and impressively tall restiad is now found only in the Waikato region because 95% of its wetland habitat has been destroyed.

Thousands of votes were cast by plant enthusiasts from New Zealand and around the world with over 140 different species nominated. The top ten ranking plants for 2011 range from lowly liverworts to lofty kauri and include many rare or threatened species. Some old favourites returned, such as Pohutakawa which has previously won the vote twice. Less well-know species also emerged, such as the gorgeous New Zealand calceolaria (Jovellana sinclairii) whose showy bell-like flowers mean it is often mistaken for an exotic.

“Despite being a national icon for our sports teams the silver fern has never featured  in the top ten, not even this year after the rugby world cup win” says Network President Philippa Crisp.

“However, one voter managed to work rugby in to his vote explaining that he voted for Golden Speargrass because the area Richie McCaw comes from is called Hakataramea ‘valley of dancing speargrass’” says Crisp.

The reasons why people to chose particular plants are almost as varied as the number of plants nominated. Reasons include: the plant’s association with a special place or person, the fact that the plant is local and iconic for an area, the plant’s beauty or scent or because it is fascinating to study.

To see the full results of the vote and learn more about the plants that were nominated visit the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network’s website: www.nzpcn.org.nz

For more information contact:
Jesse Bythell
E: jesse@biosis.co.nz  
T: 03 225 7300
M: 027 356 7752
For high resolution images contact:
Rewi Elliot
E: Rewi.Elliot@wcc.govt.nz
T: 04 475 3245
M: 021 227 8169