- Eucryphia serves as the name of a small yet lovely genus of rather large shrubs and small trees.
- Despite this fact, it forms part of the Antarctic flora group, due to its ancient origins. You might be wondering now.
- Here is the story. Along with other species, the Eucryphia evolved millions of years ago, on the supercontinent of Gondwana. The climate in the region of Antarctica during that era was much warmer.
- Subsequent continental drift and climate change brought the Eucryphia to an environment rather similar to that in which it evolved. This eliminated the need for any significant evolutionary adaptations. How unique.
Eucryphia Physical Characteristics
There are seven recognized species of Eucryphia, as well as several hybrids. Most are evergreen in nature but one is deciduous.
The shrub varieties rarely attain a height of more than 6 ft (1.9 m) but the trees sometimes reach a height of as much as 70 ft (21.3 m).
The blooms of all species also range in diameter from 1.2-2.4 in (3-6 cm). In color, these typically display a creamy white and have a strong scent.
The fruit of this plant consists of a woody capsule approximately 0.4 in (1 cm) in diameter. The leaves grow slim and long, and typically a dark green in color.
Eucryphia Distribution and Habitat
Five of the species evolved in Australia, while the other two evolved in South America. In addition, several hybrid varieties exist.
Habitats vary widely between the various species. Some inhabit high altitude regions of the Andes Mountains, while others appear along rivers and in areas of swamp.
The IUCN currently lists all seven forms of Eucryphia as Near Threatened. Habitat loss and climate change represent the greatest threats to this beautiful genus.