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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 24 September 2010 Referencing Hub media

Dr Leon Perrie is a Botany Curator at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. Leon explains how learning about plants opened up a new world for him.

Point of interest: Leon originally chose ferns because they are flat and easy to press. This simple decision has influenced his life’s work!



When I went to university, I was interested in conservation and ecology, and I actually knew nothing about plants, but as part of the biological course at university, we had to do some work on plants. And part of that was learning about the different life cycles that plants have. And this was just a whole new world to me. I just found it completely bizarre how odd plants are compared to animals, so I found that very interesting.

 We had to produce a herbarium collection. We had to make our own collection of dried, pressed plants – get a collection of all sorts of different plant groups – so mosses, liverworts, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. And then later in university, we had to do this again and make another herbarium collection but we were able to choose a plant group. I chose ferns for pressing and drying and making specimens because they’re flat. I learnt that from the early exercise. So I chose the ferns because they are more easier to work with, and just doing that additional work, we had to do essays around it as well. The more I learnt about ferns the more interested I got, and here I am.

Christian Fischer
James Shook
Steve Attwood