From the Smithsonian Institution in the USA:
Smithsonian scientists find evidence that could rewrite Hawaii‘s botanical history
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered data that suggests one of Hawaii’s most dominant plants, Metrosideros, has been a resident of the islands far longer than previously believed.
Their findings are being published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B in London on April 16.
Metrosideros, commonly called “ohi’a” in the Hawaiian Islands, has puzzled researchers for years. Although previously thought to be a newcomer to the islands, these plants are well integrated into the islands’ ecosystems. However, scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo now are able to show, through molecular research, that Metrosideros may have colonized the islands soon after they formed. If so, these plants would have played an important role in shaping the ecology of the islands from the beginning.