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Vegetable Sheep

Vegetable Sheep
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-01-22
Categories: Mountain
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
Exposure: f/4, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-02-18 2:18
Viewed: 7532
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is another shot taken at about 1000 metres above sea level,on the 'tops' section of the Croesus Track,which crosses the Paparoa Range between Blackball and Barrytown.
'Vegetable Sheep' are alpine plants,named for their tendency to look like sheep from a distance.
Here is some information about Raoulia species that I got from the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

(Raoulia spp.).

Some of the most striking plants on rocky mountains are the vegetable sheep, or species of Raoulia, belonging to the Compositae family. The apt name, vegetable sheep, is principally applied to R. mammillaris and R. eximia, which as densely compacted, rounded cushion plants grow to several feet across and sometimes 2 ft high. R. eximia occurs in the Southern Alps from about mid-Canterbury southwards and the white colour of its flowers and also of the hairy covered leaves gives it the appearance, from a distance, of sheep. The cushions are formed by a multiplicity of branches, the ends of each branch being covered with the small woolly leaves. The stems and leaves are packed into a dense, hard, rounded mass. The inside of the cushion rots to form a spongy peat and into this the living branchlets send roots. Other species forming similar types of cushions are R. rubra of the Tararua Mountains, of much lesser size than R. eximia; R. goyenii on Stewart Island, greenish in colour instead of white; and R. buchananii of Fiordland.

Some species of Raoulia form mats, the commonest being R. australis. Its silver and green mats were to be seen everywhere in the dry parts of the South Island during the period when rabbits severely depleted the vegetation. Raoulia increased greatly at the expense of other vegetation. Since rabbits have been almost eliminated from this country, the plant is being gradually replaced. R. australis occurs from about the centre of the North Island southwards, and R. tenuicaulis is found even further north – from about Thames.

Altogether, there are about 20 species in New Zealand, all of them endemic. A few others have been described from New Guinea. The limits of some of the New Zealand species are hard to determine because of their variability and possible hybridisation.

The name vegetable sheep is applied also to species of genus Haastia, plants with similar characteristics and also endemic to New Zealand.

by Alec Lindsay Poole, M.SC., B.FOR.SC., F.R.S.N.Z., Director-General of Forests, Wellington.

Hope you like this image from our beautiful hills.
Thanks for looking.

uleko, boreocypriensis, haraprasan, Dis. Ac., cicindela, Pitoncle, peter_stoeckl, SunToucher, BobH has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Gert-Paassen: Red flowerLordPotty 1 02-19 12:05
To herve1993: Raoulia flowersLordPotty 1 02-18 15:31
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Critiques [Translate]

Bonjour Steve,
Cette plante est fascinante. As-tu des images avec les fleurs?

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-02-18 11:35]

Hello Steve,
This is a fascinating plant seen against a beautiful background. Excellent details and colours and a very interesting note too.
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

Hi Steve! Good Morning!

A funny name of this plant which covered the rocks and its great close-up capture from a nice pov with excellent details, wonderful dof and composition.
TFS and cheers,


Hello Steve,
Excellent picture of this interesting Raoulia, very well composed.
TFS and best regards. Ferran

Namastay Steve,
A lovely capture of this beautiful vegetable sheep plant. Never seen anything like this before. Looks like corals. Excellent sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.


Hi Steve,

nice pov and landscape picture.
Good details on the foreground.
What's the red flower on the foreground for specie?
Beautiful colours.


Hello Steve!
Interesting perspective with "vegetable sheep" in the 1st plan and mountains in the BG. I must say, that title pays attention a lot, I was really interested in details :)
TFS and all the best from winter Lodz!

Bonjour Steve,
Très belle présentation finement détaillée et délicatement colorée du sujet dans son environnement.
Merci pour le partage.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-02-25 2:43]

Hi Steve,
wow another beautiful, unique and splendid shot of the NZ flora.
Such a diversified creation, and they differs a lot from one place to another. So you put up your adventure and we share these beauty from you.
Thanks Steve.


Hi Steve,
great picture, sucks me right into that place. I very much enjoy that combination of closely appoached detail and view of the landscape - it offers a maximum of information both on a species, and its habitat. Those subtle colours create a very pleasant atmosphere. The small red flower right at the lower border is "the dot on the i".
"Vegetable Sheep" - a fascinating plant as if from another world. Don't think we have anything similar here in old Europe.
With thanks, and best regards,

Hi Steve,
I love these type of photos where the focus is on the FG elements but the photo shows lots more in the slightly blurred BG. It gives that great sense of scale and idea of the total environment. These raoulia are awesome. I love its shape and texture. The misty back really adds to the mood of the photo.

  • Great 
  • BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
  • [2009-04-11 9:24]


Weird stuff like this really appeals to my wacky sense of humor, not to mention the biologist in me. NZ is one of the places I would love to visit sometime. So much interesting biology- much like Australia in some ways, such as endemic species, but with enough water to make things much more interesting. Plus you have some serious topography (amusing that your couple of itty bitty islands ended up with vastly more elevation than all of Australia).


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