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Posts tagged "red cabbage"

Deep in the Australian outback, several thousand palm trees grow in a 60-square-kilometer region known as Palm Valley. Local lore says the plants are a remnant of the continent’s rainier past, the only palm species to survive in the interior when Australia began drying out 15 million years ago. However, tour guides may have to change their tale; a new genetic analysis finds that these red cabbage palms (Livistona mariae) arrived only 15,000 years ago, possibly among the foods carried by indigenous people as they settled the area.

The red cabbage palm was thought to be an ancient remnant mostly because “it didn’t seem reasonable that the palms got there any other way,” says David Bowman, a biologist at the University of Tasmania in Australia. The red cabbage palm’s closest relative, the Mataranka palm (L. rigida), grows in two areas 800 to 1000 kilometers to the north on either side of the Gulf of Carpentaria—too far away, it would seem, for these species to be anything but distant relations. Read more.