Evolution in isolation is responsible for the existence of plants so strange that a new family has had to be created to include them, such as Lactoris fernandeziana, the only member of the Lactoridaceae, which is endemic to the Juan Fernandez Islands, and Degeneria
vitiensis, which is endemic to the Fiji Islands and is the only member of the Degeneriaceae.
The second half of the book (Chapter 8) discusses "Floral Diversity and Evolution of Selected Systematic Groups in the Tropics." Arranged according to Cronquist's system, the examples are chosen to span the greatest diversity, from primitive to the most highly specialized, and include, for the taxonomist and floral ecologist, many fascinating discussions of various Magnoliales (e.g., in Degeneria
- the carpels are not "open," as often reported!), Aristolochia and Rafflesia, Lecythidaceae, Passiflora, the legume (sub-) families, Asclepias, and the evolutionary steps that led to these bizarre flowers, and finally, in the Monocotyledons, the ginger and orchid families.