Letter | Published:

Snow and Ice Flora


IN the account of Prof. Veit Brecher Wittrock's interesting work on the Arctic snow and ice flora (NATURE, vol. xxviii. p. 304) your reviewer enumerates the countries and mountain ranges where red snow has been observed, but does not mention the Southern Alps of New Zealand, where as far back as 1861 this plant was observed by me. The fact that green and red ice have been found in these high northern latitudes, and that the unusual coloration has been traced to microscopic organic life is of special interest to me, as I repeatedly observed green as well as red ice amongst the glaciers of New Zealand, first at the head of the Rangitata River, as far back as February, 1861. At the time I published an account of this occurrence, which was reprinted by others (amongst others see Hochstetter's “Neu Seeland,” 1863, p. 342). Since then during my alpine explorations I have repeatedly observed the same phenomenon, so that evidently at the Antipodes there occurs a counterpart of the Arctic snow and ice flora. It is to be hoped that some able botanist will some day do the same work for us that Baron Nordenskjöld and his able coadjutors have done for Greenland and Spitsbergen.

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