Ancient clonal tree, King’s lomatia, excites scientists in Tasmania’s remote south west

pink mountain flower

Before the last ice age, deep in the mountains and valleys of south-western Tasmania an unusual little sprout grew from a seed.

The plant grew and grew, eventually unfurling deep red flowers, but as the curled petals dropped to the ground no viable seeds formed.

Today, its wild population is limited to just a 1.2 kilometre square and it may be among the world’s oldest clonal plants — having grown from a single seed, genetically cloned many times over through the millennia.

Meet King’s lomatia — Lomatia tasmanica. And it’s critically endangered.

Lomatia tasmanica is in the same family as the waratah, grevillea, macadamia, and protea. The entire population is identical, cannot reproduce sexually, and there was a fossil showing it lived at least 43,600 years ago.

Learn more about the discovery of this amazing plant here.

Original story from the ABC.