From sky News
most important botanical find in years.....
'Suicide' Plant Hailed As Botanical Wonder
Updated:10:32, Thursday January 17, 2008
A 70ft-tall plant that commits suicide when it blooms has been discovered in a remote region of Madagascar.
The 'suicide' palm treeScientists say the spectacular giant palm introduces an entirely new family of species, making it one of the botanical wonders of the world.
The palm had remained hidden for centuries until it was found in an 800ft-square area of swampland on the island off the southeastern coast of Africa, only accessible by air.
Dr John Dransfield, of London's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, heralded the palm as a "mind-blowing discovery".
"Coupled with the great scientific interest of the palm is the fact that it is such an amazingly spectacular species and with such an unusual life cycle," he said.
The palm sprouts a 70ft-long spire of tiny flowers once in its lifetime, dripping with nectar to beckon a host of pollinating insects.
After blooming and fruiting, the plant's nutrient resources are completely exhausted, causing it to collapse and die. Although the palm flowers fatally just once, no one knows how long it lives.
Almost as remarkable is the fact that scientists have not found it until now.
Standing at up to 65ft, with a spread of at least 30ft, the giant palm is in fact large enough to be visible on Google Earth.
Dr Dransfield said: "Somebody sent me the reference point, and I could actually see it, which was amazing. The fact that such an enormous palm has only now been discovered is astonishing."
There are now plans to grow it in botanic gardens around the world and sell its seeds to private collectors - although even Kew's famous Palm House may be too small to accommodate the new discovery.
i find this bit interesting...... Standing at up to 65ft, with a spread of at least 30ft, the giant palm is in fact large enough to be visible on Google Earth.
What would you put in to find it ? If anyone does it, put the photo up !
"WELL MY NUTS ARE HALFWAY UP MY ASS, BUT OTHER THAN THAT I'M PERFECT.....! "