LOMATIA TASMANICA

Long Durational Natural Phenomenon

EXISTENCE OF LOMATIA TASMANICA (KING'S LOMATIA)

DURATION: UP TO 135,000 YEARS 

Text via Wikipedia
Cover photograph by Natalie Tapson

King's Lomatia (Lomatia tasmanica) is a Tasmanian shrub from the family Proteaceae. The plant has shiny green leaves and bears pink flowers, but yields neither fruit nor seeds. Only one colony of King's Lomatia is known to be alive in the wild. It is also sometimes called "King's Holly" though it is not a holly.

King's Lomatia is unusual because all of the remaining plants are genetically identical. Although all the plants are technically separate in that each has its own root system, they are collectively considered to be one of the oldest living plant clones. Each plant's life span is approximately 300 years, but the plant has been cloning itself for at least 43,600 years (possibly up to 135,000 years).

Photograph (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Natalie Tapson

This estimate is based on the radiocarbon dating of fossilized leaf fragments that were found 8.5 km (5.3 mi) away. The fossilized fragments are identical to the contemporary plant in cell structure and shape, which indicates that both plants are triploid and therefore clones due to the extreme rarity of the occurrence of triploidy.

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