You may have examined some other Araucarians in person, even if you live in America: many of the expired trees in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona were members of this family called Araucarioxylon arizonicum that grew to 200 feet before 200 million years ago.
What all these trees have in common, besides their common ancestry, is P.O. Boxes in the southern hemisphere. They are, in fact, all members of the "Antarctic Flora", the remnants of the plant life that thrived on the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, the southern half of the former One-Continent-to-Rule-The-All Pangaea.
When Gondwana itself broke up, India and Africa headed northward, merged with the remnants of Laurasia (the northern half of Pangaea), and lost much of their Antarctic flora. Antarctica broke away from South America, became polar, and lost most of its plant life due to the persuasive presence of a crushing, miles-thick ice sheet.
But South America, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Southeast Asia still contain plants that were all once part of the Antarctic Flora, despite their now-extreme distance from one another. Hence, the southern beeches (Nothofagus sp.) are found in South America, Australia, and New Zealand. The monkey puzzle tree is found in South America, the Kauri in New Zealand and the Norfolk Island Pine in the Pacific north of Australia and New Zealand.
Thanks ed. I knew about these trees (old article in Sci Am) but not that they were for sale.
P. – S.
Shouldn't the… uh… meta-thread (?) be renamed from "Archaeology" to "Archaeology & Paleontology"?