Object #1019671 from MS-Papers-0032-0222

4 pages written 8 Nov 1867 by William Colenso to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0222 (85 digitised items). 82 letters written from Waitangi (Hawke's Bay) & Napier. Includes letters from McLean to Colenso, and newspaper cuttings re Maori English lexicon

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

My dear Sir,

I have your note of this morning, enquiring if I knew any remedy for the Piripiri. - I am sorry to say that I do not. I only wish I did. I have long been of opinion that this plant was likely to give you (Flock-omers) much more trouble and loss than the thistle, - about which so much has been said.

One thing is certain - the Piripiri is prodigiously spreading and is a maori and likes (and lives in) all soils and situations. I was astonished - in 1863, in going to Wairoa - to see so much of it at Petane Valley, Tangoio, and Mohaka. - all, I think, owing to the sheep carrying the seeds on to bare, or burnt off, land.

Unfortunately it is one of those plants which runs and roots, (something like the strawberry,) so that one plant will cover a large space, if left alone, and soil suitable to it.

I had a plant or two in this paddock, - where the hay is now cutting, - and I worked hard to destroy it, for several years: I think I have prevailed, - but, if so, it was only after a hard and long fight. - I know it springs from portions of old roots - something like sorrel, and dock, and if rooted up and thrown down, Carelessly, and wet weather comes on, it will take root again.

I think you will have to come to paring it off, with a sharp spade, or good hoe, every season before it seeds, and burning it; an active man could destroy a good deal in a day where the ground is open, as I have known one plant to spread out at large as a dining table, and it is soon turned over. I should think - if turned up in early or mid-summer, and then the spots sown with white clover, in early autumn, (especially if there is any lime in the soil, as there is here Scinde Island) that it could eradicated.

I hope your present loss of wool, through shearing early, will not occur again - as/I suppose your full quantity would be on their backs by the early season of next Year.

I am sorry my dear Sir that I can not say anything better respecting the extirpation of this enemy.

And am,
Yours very truly,
Wm. Colenso.
Novr. 8/67

I may add - the same plant is common in Tasmania, S. E. Australia and Victoria: how do the Settlers manage there?

W. C.

Part of:
Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0222 (85 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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