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The Castle Hill buttercup (Ranunculus paucifolius) : a story of preservation

McCaskill, L. W.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::050104 Landscape Ecology , ANZSRC::050202 Conservation and Biodiversity , ANZSRC::050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management , ANZSRC::060311 Speciation and Extinction
CASTLE HILL (920m) is a tor-studded limestone hill in the south-west corner of the intermontane basin variously known as the Broken River, Castle Hill or Trelissick basin. It gave its name to the Castle Hill Station on the Christchurch Arthur's Pass highway, a sheep run which begins near Lake Lyndon and was taken up by Porter Bros. in June 1858. Originally of 25,000 acres, 5,000 acres were added in February 1859 and another 5,000 in March 1861. In October 1864 the Porters sold Castle Hill to John and Charles Enys who had come to Canterbury from Cornwall in 1861. John was a keen amateur scientist, a keen collector of stamps and autographs and a generous giver of all kinds of natural history specimens to the Canterbury Museum. He was specially interested in butterflies and, as a keen angler, did much to introduce trout to the Waimakariri basin. He discovered marine fossils in the local limestones and bought the freehold so that they could be preserved. He had to sell Castle Hill in 1890 when he returned to England to look after the old home where he died in 1912. The first reference to the Castle Hill buttercup is in the second part of the "Handbook of the New Zealand Flora" 1867 when in his circumscription of Ranunculus chordorhizos J. D. Hooker refers to a plant occurring - "Waimakariri district, on limestone-gravel."
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Copyright © Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Institute.
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