Welcome to the first blog on our brand new website. 2013 has so far been a year of firsts for epiphyte researchers. The first NZ epiphyte workshop was held in New Plymouth in February. The event involved a lot of discussion about our current knowledge of epiphytes, vines and mistletoes in NZ and what we need to do to start filling our rather large knowledge gaps.
From the workshop, the first network for people interested in these plants was formed - The New Zealand Epiphyte Network. Following on from that was the development of our first facebook page and now our first website!
Please have a look around the site and let us know if you have ideas for what might be a useful addition to the website - all feedback is welcome!
This is the epiphyte network because "the epiphyte, vine, and mistletoe network" was a bit too long-winded. However, we are equally interested in the three plant groups because there are a lot of parallels, including: habitat, distribution, physiological characteristics, host interactions and the challenges of studying them!
These three groups of plants are not well known in New Zealand. This is mainly because of the difficulty of accessing their forest canopy habitat, but trust me... getting up into this area of the forest is well worth it! There is no better way to understand the challenges of living on a tree branch 20 metres above the ground, or to investigate the interactions of mosses, lichens, orchids and nests, than to get up-close and personal.
Tree climbing might not be your cup of tea... no problem! Just take a minute next time you visit a forest to pause under a big tree and really have a good look at what is up there. Take some binoculars and you might see flowering orchids, buzzing bees, waving fern fronds, or tangled vines; its a fascinating world and well worth some investigation.