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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Royal Hakea, Plant of the Week

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, September 20, 2014/Categories: natural history, photography, plants

The super-continent Gondwanaland separated ~550 million years ago into Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica, and Australia. The continental plates that fractured Gondwana carried these massive pieces into their current global positions and carried with them unique plants that still exist. Western Australia's southwestern corner is one of those places and is considered a biological "hot spot". Many of the species found there are known from nowhere else on Earth.

Hakea victoria  , the Royal Hakea, is a remnant of the this ancient flora and a member of an equally ancient and strange plant family, the Proteaceae . Named for the Greek god  Proteaus , who had the ability to change form at will, this diverse plant family still grows in southern hemisphere landscapes.

Royal Hakea, Fitzgerald NP, Western Australia  (credit: SWP Media)

Hakea victoria close-up, Fitzgerald NP, Western Australia  (credit: SWP Media)

These strange plants and many others have existed for millions of years surviving all kinds of threats. A question remains if they will survive climate changes now predicted. It would be nice if they did.


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