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Pterostylis Banksii, R. Br. ex A. Cunn. in Bot. Mag. t. 3172; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i, 248 ; Cheesem. Man. N.Z. Fl. 679.
Pterostylis Banksii, which is by far the finest species of the genus found n New Zealand was first discovered by Banks and Solander at Mercury Bay in November 1769, during Cook's first voyage. Solander, in his manuscript Flora of Zealand, referred it to the genus Arethusa, but gave no detailed account of it, for he supposed that it was identical with an Australian plant described in another part of his manuscripts. It was not again seen unti 1826 when the talented and enthusiastic Allan Cunningham gahered it on the banks of the Kawakawa River, Bay of Islands. Since then it has been found to range through almost the whole length of the Dominion, from the North Cape to Stewart Island, and from sea-level to nearly 4,000 ft
P. Banksii is usually found along the sides of lightly wooded gullies or on the margin of forest lands, and sometimes occurs in considerable quantities. It is variable in size, sometimes attaining a height of quite 18 in. or even more, at other times barely reaching 6 in. Specimens of the sizes quoted above have been collected by myself in a single locality growing under uniform conditions; but, speaking generally, the taller specimens are found in sheltered places along the sides of ravines, and the smaller in more open situations. The large green flowers, often streaked with red or reddish-brown, and with the three sepals all furnished with long filiform tails, have a most curious and bizarre appearance, and always attract the notice of strangers when seen for the first time.