UK garden attraction saves Rwandan species

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A UK-based garden expert has managed to save a plant species that looked destined for extinction.

The Nymphaea thermarum was discovered in Rwanda's Masyuza region in 1985, where it was growing in the vicinity of natural hot springs.

However, over-exploitation of the resource saw the plant die out five years after it was found by German botanist Eberhard Fischer.

Fortunately, the professor took samples back to Bonn Botanic Gardens, where they have been kept alive ever since.

Scientists have always struggled to propagate the waterlily, which seems to grow in a different way from other plants of its kind.

However, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens expert Carlos Magdalena, who has a reputation for saving rare species, managed to work out the best conditions for growing the tiny species.

"It was only when I searched a little deeper that the key I needed came to the surface," Mr Magdalena said.

"Now we have over 30 healthy baby plants growing here at Kew and some are producing seeds."

Meanwhile, the Royal Horticultural Society is set to host its Chelsea Flower Show next week.

Posted by David Webb   - 19 May 2010
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UK garden attraction saves Rwandan species

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