Tropical Gardening: Many plants from the Southern Hemisphere thrive in Hawaii

This Chambeyronia macrocarpa or red feather palm has become popular in Hawaiian landscapes. It is from New Caledonia and is noted for the new leaves that begin red and later turn green. (courtesy photo/Voltaire Moise)

It seems bizarre that many plants from some of the most ancient geological regions of the world readily adapt to Hawaii’s young volcanic soils. Some in Hawaii are from Australia and ancient islands like Madagascar and New Caledonia. When it comes to strange animals and plants, Australia is in the lead for its share of the unusual to unique. This ancient mini continent has mammals that lay eggs to the marsupials that carry their premature babies in pouches. Recent fires put many in the animal kingdom at risk and the plant kingdom as well. Some Australian ecosystems will be altered for centuries and some may never recover.