Park officially an 'oasis'

JENNY LING
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
Mike Wilcox
DIVERSE RESERVE: Mike Wilcox from the Auckland Botanical Society helped identify more than 500 plant species at Dingle Dell reserve in St Heliers.

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Dingle Dell reserve's status as an "oasis in an urban area" has been made official by the Auckland Botanical Society.

The society published a report of the popular council park nestled between Fern Glen Rd North and South, Woodside Cres and Parkside St.

The survey was published in December and found more than 500 types of plant-life including varieties of native and exotic trees, ferns, shrubs, lichens and moss.

Vice-president Mike Wilcox, who co-authored the survey, says the natural reserve boasts interesting and diverse plant-life.

"It's one of the few patches of bush remaining in this part of Auckland.

"This particular piece of forest is special because there is so little of it left in this part of Auckland.

"I'd like people to realise that this bit of forest has got value ... it's an oasis in an urban area."

The 9-hectare council reserve is popular for its walking tracks. It also has a large open grass area which is used for public concerts.

The land was originally one of four farms owned by Major Thomas Bunbury around 1842.

The Botanical Society says it was set aside "as a reserve of native bush" around 1904 and was transferred to Auckland Council in 1930.

It underwent a planting boom by members of The Tree Society which was formed in 1953.

Led by Winifred Huggins - also known as ‘The Tree Lady' - the group planted many trees including natives like pohutukawa and nikau palms. They also planted many kauri trees which stand tall today. Introduced trees include the weeping willow, the poplar, black bean and the turkey oak.

The report is available at the Auckland Library and to the Auckland Botanic Society's 230 members. Email aucklandbotanical society@gmail.com to contact the group.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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