Inside the Gondwanaland Conservatory, we house a unique collection of plants from a region of the world that no longer exists. When Pangea split apart 175 million years ago, it formed two large land masses: Laurasia and Gondwanaland. Gondwanaland would eventually split up to form 4 new continents and India, separating plant communities that had been growing amongst each other for millions of years.
The separation of Gondwanaland led to the individual—and sometimes isolated—evolution of related communities of primitive plants. Millions of years later, when you look at the characteristics and ranges exhibited by their descendents, you can clearly see where evolution diverged, stopped, and changed course based on their changing environments. Some examples of these plants are members of the family Proteaceae, which are endemic to several former regions of Gondwanaland.
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- South Africa