For nearly a century it was thought to be extinct and eventually it was there, barely hidden in the Australian forests. the orchid Prasophyllum morganii recently rediscovered in southeastern Australia. This lemon-scented flower was last identified in 1933, and scientists have since believed it to be extinct. In a world where biodiversity is threatened a little more every day, this news is something to surprise botanists and all nature lovers.
The Prasophyllum morganii — commonly known as the mignonette leek orchid — was first discovered in 1929. A rancher named Henry Morgan saw specimens of this flower in his garden near Cobungra, South Australia. Intrigued by this find, the latter decided to send orchids to a botanist friend, William Henry Nicholls, as reported GEO†
The amateur scientist immediately named the plant after Morgan and tried to preserve some of it in the form of dried flowers or in alcohol. This reflex allowed eight of these specimens to be archived in the Melbourne and Adelaide Botanical Centers. Since 1933, scientists have tried in vain to find other specimens of the flower. The Prasophyllum morganii is then believed to be extinct.
An unexpected discovery for the scientific community
But in 2020 the plant will unexpectedly reappear. After Australia’s east coast was devastated by the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires, the Australian government decided to launch surveys of the damaged areas to identify the impact of the disaster on local flora and fauna, the government said. new scientist† Several copies, which seem to correspond to the descriptions of the Prasophyllum morganii, are discovered. By comparing them to nearly century-old specimens of the orchid, the scientists conclude that it was indeed the famous lemon flower.
It’s not often you can find a species that you thought was extinct, so it’s really beautiful†
Noushka Reiter of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
If Australian botanists are thrilled with the news, we can’t forget the threat to this flower. Indeed, only 500 individuals of this species were counted during the 2020 surveys, suggesting it is vulnerable. From now, “Reiter and his colleagues grow this plant in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria and hope to multiply it in large numbers so that they can reintroduce it to its native habitat”gives the . at new scientist†