Our native plants: Dawsonia superba

Another gem from my visit to Maungatautari restoration project, a ‘mainland ecological island’, also known as Sanctuary Mountain, was spotting Dawsonia superba, one of the world’s tallest mosses. It also grows in Australia and Papua New Guinea, according to the Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest by John Dawson and Rob Lucas (Godwit, 2000).

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Dawsonia superba. Photo: Sandra Simpson

It can grow up to 50cm tall but its spores are only 6 to 10 micrometres, and are among the smallest of moss spores. They are spread by raindrops falling on the moss.