Propagation of New Zealand Native Plants
By Lawrie Metcalf
Published by Godwit
Press, New Zealand
Reviewed by Mike
Orchard, Grounds Superintendent,
Victoria University of Wellington
of New Zealand Plants encompasses a wealth of information in a format
with which readers of Lawrie Metcalf's previous books will be familiar.
Aspects of native plant propagation covered are:
and equipment needed
and storing seed
and pests, and finally
notes on the propagation of selected native plant genera and
common with most floras, New Zealand has its easier species to propagate
and its seemingly impossible cases. Historically, there has been
a lack of accessible practical information on native plant propagation.
Through this publication, the author has enabled more ready access
to available knowledge for amateurs and professionals alike.
The text is readable
and full of titbits of practical information that are drawn from
years of experience. The clear descriptions of general propagation
techniques are practical and achievable, often with the minimum
of specialist equipment. Propagation techniques include tried-and-true
traditional methods and practical innovations such as bog and scree
errors are noticeable. For example, the fern prothallus diagram
(page 23) has the antheridia and rhizoid labels transposed. Generally,
the line drawings and photographs are of an excellent technical
The real pith of
this publication is in its systematic treatment of individual species
and genera. Details such as the use of pre-sowing treatments and
special sowing techniques and the most viable forms of vegetative
propagation are given for each plant species listed.
It is refreshing
to see plant provenance being dealt with as an issue in this book.
However, the potential conflict between garden cloning and genetic
diversity is only briefly touched upon. It is essential that environmental
issues such as provenance and genetic diversity become a part of
the way of thinking of the native plant propagator and gardener.
by the author, there is a need for further research on the propagation
of native plants. However, this book certainly provides a valuable
baseline of information that can only grow as the landscape potential
and ecological values of New Zealand plants become more widely recognised.
I consider 'The
Propagation of New Zealand Native Plants' a very worthy investment
for the native plant enthusiast as well as the horticulturist.
Zealand Garden Journal: Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute
of Horticulture 1996 1(1): 24-25
Reviews Main Page