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Historical Records of Australian Science
  The history of science, pure and applied, in Australia and the southwest Pacific
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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 23(2)

Australian and Indian Plants: Making Connexions in Nineteenth-Century Botany

Sara Maroske

Historical Records of Australian Science 23(2) 107 - 119
Published: 09 November 2012


Despite the expectation in nineteenth-century botany that the plants of one country were most similar to those of adjacent countries, by the middle of the century it was accepted that there was a connexion between flora of northern Australia and ‘India'. The pattern and reasons for plant distribution around the world were studied in the emerging science of phytogeography, but this paper suggests that the strength of the Indo-Australian connexion was influenced by species limits in the established science of phytography or descriptive botany. This paper also shows that while the botany of Australia and ‘India' was predominantly studied in European nations, Ferdinand Mueller used resources obtained from Joseph Hooker in Great Britain, and Friedrich Miquel in the Netherlands to add new details to the distribution pattern of ‘Indian' plants in northern Australia. Although Mueller was unwilling to reflect on these findings himself, they seemed to challenge attempts to introduce evolutionary and geological explanations into phytogeography.

Full text doi:10.1071/HR12013

© Australian Academy of Science 2012

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