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Journal Article

The New Zealand Flora-Entirely Long-Distance Dispersal?

Mike Pole
Journal of Biogeography
Vol. 21, No. 6 (Nov., 1994), pp. 625-635
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2846036
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2846036
Page Count: 11

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Topics: Flora, Genera, Fossils, Plants, Pollen, Taxa, Vegetation, Biogeography, Oceans, Palynology
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The New Zealand Flora-Entirely Long-Distance Dispersal?
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Abstract

The present New Zealand flora is popularly seen as a living example of `Gondwanan' vegetation isolated by sea-floor spreading in the Late Cretaceous. However, living plants on purely oceanic islands give clear evidence of many New Zealand genera which could have arrived this way. The geology of Norfolk, Lord Howe, Fiji and the Kermadec Islands is reviewed. They are shown to be oceanic, and their flora therefore dispersed. A good palynological record indicates that almost all of New Zealand's flora can be seen to have arrived 'post-drift'. The macrofossil record supports this showing complete change since the Late Cretaceous. Throughout the Tertiary New Zealand's flora had an 'Australian' character-the character of the present evergreen forests of New Zealand probably does not predate the late Tertiary or early Pleistocene times. The present New Zealand vegetation can not be called 'Gondwanic', either in character or in the sense that it has evolved in isolation, directly from Gondwana-period lineages. It is probable that the entire forest-flora of New Zealand arrived by long-distance dispersal.

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