Some yellow flowering plants caught our eye when we visited Central Otago on 27 November 2019. The first two photos show yellow lupins and wild roses. Both are extremely common weeds in Central Otago, New Zealand. The final three photos are of an endemic plant, Raoulia australis.
First photo by Liz, all the rest were taken by Nigel.
The first two photos were taken in Earnscleugh, between Alexandra and Clyde. Poplar trees, wild roses and yellow lupins – all common in Central Otago.
Raoulia australis, endemic to New Zealand. I believe it’s available as a garden plant overseas so you may have met it already. I was passenger in the car and alerted Nigel to its presence knowing he’d be interested. This is just one species of a large group of native “cushion plants” or “vegetable sheep” (Raoulia and Haastia species). Some of the larger species can reach a span of more than 2m! Vegetable sheep growing on boulders in alpine areas have an interesting woolly appearance and may sometimes resemble sheep.
The Raoulia were in flower hence the bright yellow colouration.
Conroys is just south of Alexandra. In this last photo you can see how distinctive the appearance of the plant is and that the plants were easy for me to spot as we drove by.
If you’d like to read more about vegetable sheep you could start with the following articles I found:
Concise overview, Berkeley website: Bloom of the Week – Vegetable Sheep
If you have time and an interest in NZ alpine plants, I’d suggest you take a look at this overview from New Zealand Geographic. This extensive article with text and photos by Shaun Barnett is a good read with great photos of a selection of our distinctive alpine plant species (including vegetable sheep) growing in the wild. Here’s the link: Heads in the clouds
Text by Liz, photos by Nigel and Liz; Exploring Colour (2019)