Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 10:30 – The largest plant in the world has been discovered. It covers an area of about 180 km2 and is at least 4,500 years old. Named Australian Poseidonia, the plant is widely grown in Shark Bay, Australia.
Three times to Manhattan Island
The plant is not only unique in its size, it is estimated to be three times larger than Manhattan. It has twice as many chromosomes as its marine counterparts, making it a polyploid. This type of plant often lives in extreme conditions and will continue to grow if left untreated.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia and the University of Flinders off the coast of Adelaide are behind this huge discovery. They estimate that the plant will have a growth rate of 35 cm per year. So it would have taken 4,500 years to reach its current size.
Photo credit: Zahira Bell | University of Western Australia
Live without reproduction
Scientists have set up a series of experiments in Shark Bay to determine how a plant can survive and thrive in such harsh conditions. In fact, it can withstand large variations in temperature, salinity and brightness. These conditions usually cause a lot of stress for most plants.
Another interesting thing: it is very clean and can survive even without reproduction. Its survival for so long is very surprising. These plant species have actually reduced genetic diversity, which is essential for coping with climate change.
Photo credit: Rachel Austin | University of Western Australia
Over the years, the plant has become home to many marine species such as dolphins, turtles, crabs and fish.
With Information From the University of Western Australia.