Vast forests once spanned the Antarctic region, now better known for icebergs and penguins. Our Antarctic Forest biome hosts plants from parts of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Chile where remnants of these temperate, moist environments exist today. Antarctic forests host some of the most biodiverse flora and ancient lineages of plants in the world. These botanical hotspots occur at high elevations in the tropics (cloud forests) and along west coasts in places with warm temperatures (maritime climates). In both situations, the weather rarely freezes, and even less frequently gets too hot. Because both of these climates share many features, we house our collections from each in the same place, though they each contain their own oddities. The plants in these far flung locations, which were once part of a supercontinent, provided biological evidence of continental drift.
Pictured: Gunnera tinctoria from Southern Chile and Argentina