Australian Museum Journal Polynesian plant introductions in the Southwest Pacific: initial pollen evidence from Norfolk Island

Shortform:
Macphail et al., 2001, Rec. Aust. Mus., Suppl. 27: 123–134
Author(s):
Macphail, Mike K.; Hope, Geoffrey S.; Anderson, Atholl
Year published:
2001
Title:
Polynesian plant introductions in the Southwest Pacific: initial pollen evidence from Norfolk Island
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement
Volume:
27
Start page:
123
End page:
134
DOI:
10.3853/j.0812-7387.27.2001.1347
Language:
English
Date published:
28 November 2001
Cover date:
28 November 2001
ISBN:
ISBN 0-7347-2305-9
ISSN:
0812-7387
CODEN:
RAMSEZ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
ARCHAEOLOGY; NORFOLK ISLAND; BOTANY
Digitized:
28 November 2001
Available online:
28 November 2001
Reference number:
1347
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (12kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (765kb PDF)

Abstract

Thick organic swamp sediments, buried under land fill on Kingston Common, preserves evidence of the Norfolk Island flora and vegetation back to the middle Holocene and probably much earlier times in the Late Quaternary. These sediments provide (1) a bench mark against which the impact of humans on the flora and vegetation of a long-isolated island can be assessed and (2) a means of determining whether particular plant genera and species are introduced or native to the island. Although sediments contemporary with Polynesian occupation about 800 years ago were destroyed by European draining and cultivation of the swamp during the early nineteenth century, the pollen data indicate that New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) was introduced to Norfolk Island by Polynesians. Other putative exotics such as Ti (Cordyline), a bull-rush (Typha orientalis) and, less certain, herbs such as the sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), were part of the native flora long before the earliest recorded Polynesian settlement. Wildfires have been part of the landscape ecology of Norfolk Island since at least the middle Holocene.