Monday, March 5, 2012


São Tomé is a volcanic island deep in the ocean. Therefore it is full of basaltic debris - in fact it's pretty much made up of volcanic debris. As a result trees have a big problem where to put their roots - they have to find a nook or cranny where a root can penetrate. Hence roots grow horizontally until they find a suitable hole or crack in the ground. This gives rise to wonderful roots as they wander hither and thiter kooking for a hole in the ground.

Pandanus thomensis has adopted an alternative strategy to the problem. It has multiple aerial roots that it puts where it can. This is perhaps the success of the genus Pandanus worldwide - it has a pantropical distribution - it can adapt to all sorts of distibutions and then speciates rapidly according to the local conditions ...

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