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UK News Conservationists find rare grass-poly plant in Norfolk

06:15  29 november  2020
06:15  29 november  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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In the pink delighted conservationists find rare grass - poly plant back to blooming life after 100 years. Centuries ago there were thousands of ponds dotted around farmland in Norfolk , but many have been neglected, becoming what are known as ‘ghost ponds’.

The pinkish-flowered plant , known as grass - poly , was found growing on the banks of an old farmland pond in Norfolk . The mystery species "came back from the dead" after seeds submerged in the mud were disturbed during work to restore the pond. And scientists say conservation efforts could lead to

a pink flower with green leaves: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A rare plant that vanished from a farmland pond more than a century ago has ‘come back from the dead’.

Delighted conservationists found the pinkish-flowered species, known as grass-poly, growing in rural Norfolk by a neglected waterhole.

The stunning plant reappeared after seeds submerged in the mud were disturbed during work to restore the pond.

a pink flower with green leaves: Carl Sayer, a professor at University College London, stumbled on the plant when he went to survey the pond at Heydon, about 24 miles north of Norwich, shortly after the country¿s first lockdown ended © Provided by Daily Mail Carl Sayer, a professor at University College London, stumbled on the plant when he went to survey the pond at Heydon, about 24 miles north of Norwich, shortly after the country¿s first lockdown ended

Scientists said the discovery gave fresh hope that conservation efforts could herald the return of other botanical treasures once feared to have been lost for ever.

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Conservationists aim to preserve – and potentially save – different species and ecosystems around the world. This is especially vital for rare species, but scientists have A recent study from the U.S. and Australia highlighted the need to identify how these rare species contribute to their ecosystems .

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Carl Sayer, a professor at University College London, stumbled on the plant when he went to survey the pond at Heydon, about 24 miles north of Norwich, shortly after the country’s first lockdown ended.

He sent a picture to local botanist Dr Jo Parmenter, who identified it as grass-poly, one of the rarest plants in the UK.

‘It’s really quite beautiful,’ said Prof Sayer. ‘We only found a handful of these plants in the pond but we’re hoping to cultivate this population and keep it going and expand it now we know it’s there.’ The last confirmed record of grass-poly, which has the Latin name Lythrum hyssopifolia, growing in Norfolk was more than a century ago. Elsewhere in the UK, the plant is found in a few isolated populations growing around lakes and on muddy open ground.

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Native grasses are the dominant plants in the vast range-land plant communities and a I t will assist soil conservationists , farmers, ranchers, land users, and others in identifying the 100 grasses This grass increases on ranges that are grazed continuously. I t is an invader on ranges in poor condition.

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At Heydon, the seeds of the plant remained buried in the mud, like a ‘time capsule’, said Prof Sayer, adding: ‘There’s no oxygen, it’s very dark, and it’s perfect for preserving seeds.’ When willow trees were pulled out to restore the pond, the soil was disturbed and exposed to light, prompting the seeds to germinate.

The discovery shows that plants once believed to be extinct can be brought ‘back to life’ with good conservation, he added.

Centuries ago there were thousands of ponds dotted around farmland in Norfolk, but many have been neglected, becoming what are known as ‘ghost ponds’.

Dr Parmenter said that this year has been an ‘amazing’ time for plants, with many unusual discoveries.

She put that down partly to the pandemic, with more people going out on local walks.

‘I think that it’s taught us to appreciate the things local to us, as well as the glamorous and exotic,’ she said.

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usr: 3
This is interesting!