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Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants


I now want to consider some of the southern genera thought by some botanists to be related to and probably derived from north temperate genera. I propose an alternative hypothesis — that they may have evolved independently in the southern hemisphere.

With regard to the derivation of herbaceous genera in general it is worthwhile to consider what the vegetation pattern of the world may have been before this growth form suited to cooler, seasonal climates became widespread. The fossil evidence suggests that at these earlier times rain forest extended from the equator half way to the poles or even further and we can speculate that within such forests there would have been the woody ancestors of the herbaceous genera. Most of the latter would have originated in the northern hemisphere because of the greater area of land there and the more seasonal climates, but there seems no reason why other herbaceous genera could not have been derived in the southern hemisphere also from woody stock at the fringes of the great rain forest belt.