University of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Helicia: Nought to 100 species in 5 million years

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 10:02 authored by Fayed, SA
When you first spot a Helicia tree in the rainforest it seems fairly unimpressive. Generally not a canopy tree, generally a bit scraggly looking and unless they fortune a sunny break in the canopy they don’t flower or fruit too much. However, they have the most surprising evolutionary pattern. Helicia come from the plant family Proteaceae and yet they break many typical Proteaceae patterns. They are the among the most recently speciating genera in the family (a distinction usually reserved for Proteaceae in temperate or Mediterranean climates) and they have the highest speciation rate out of all 80+ genera. Helicia also have the largest geographic distribution of any Proteaceae genus and extend further into Asia than any other Proteaceae. So why have Helicia speciated so rapidly and recently and spread so far..... and what can it tell us about evolution, speciation and extinction? This is the central question of my research, and it has taken me to tree canopies in Papua New Guinea, Cape York and the Daintree in Queensland. Come and have a look at the work-in-progress that is my thesis and a few odd photos that I picked up along the way.


Publication title

School of Geography & Environmental Studies Conference Abstracts 2010


Kate Boden


School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


School of Geography & Environmental Studies

Place of publication

Hobart Tasmania

Event title

School of Geography & Environmental Studies Conference, 2010

Event Venue

Sandy Bay

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager