Monday, January 13, 2014

Nymphaea thermarum

reads' "Police have launched an appeal to trace a rare plant that was stolen from Kew Gardens. A Nymphaea thermarum, the smallest water lily in the world and extinct in the wild, was taken from the south-west London visitor attraction. A Scotland Yard spokesman said the theft had occurred between 8.30am and 2.55pm on Thursday at the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Experts believe the culprits would have had to dig or pull up the plant from a shallow pond. Nymphaea thermarum was discovered in 1987 in just one location, Mashyuza in Rwanda. But it disappeared from there around two years ago because of the over-exploitation of a hot spring that kept the plants moist and at a constant temperature."

Carlos Magdalena and Lily, source: here 

Further reading find was,
"The plant's native habitat was damp mud formed by the overflow of a freshwater hot spring in Mashyuza, Rwanda. It became extinct in the wild about 2008 when local farmers began using the spring for agriculture. The farmers cut off the flow of the spring, which dried up the tiny area—just a few square metres—that was the lily's entire habitat. Before the plants became extinct, Fischer sent some specimens to Bonn Botanic Gardens when he saw that their habitat was so fragile. The plants were kept alive at the gardens, but botanists could not solve the problem of propagating them from seed.
Botanists were unable to germinate any seeds until Carlos Magdalena, at Kew, discovered the solution—only after he was down to his last 20 seeds. By placing the seeds and seedlings into pots of loam surrounded by water of the same level in a 25 °C environment, eight began to flourish and mature within weeks and in November 2009, the waterlilies flowered for the first time. Nymphaea species typically germinate deep under water. N. thermarum seeds are different, needing CO2 in order to germinate. Once Magdalena understood that difference, he was able to germinate the first seeds. During this time, a rat had eaten one of the last two surviving plants in Germany. With the germination problem solved, Magdalena says that the tiny plants are easy to grow, giving it potential to be grown as a houseplant."

There is an almost extinct Water Lily (gone extinct from the wild) being conserved in Kew Gardens, someone stole it and police are looking for the water lily thief...this world just got a little beautiful again.