Botanists discover cave-dwelling plant


Botanists discover cave-dwelling plant

Botanists discover cave-dwelling plant in China. The South China Karst region resembles a lost world with its stone forests and towering limestone formations that look like petrified skyscrapers. Botanists recently found in the region impressive ‘nests’ of life, i.e. blooming pink flowers that could survive on just a tiny fraction of the sunlight other plants receive.

Botanists discover cave-dwelling plant, when botanist and nettle expert Alex Monro stepped into the Yangzi cave and had an eerie moonscape look to it, he saw clumps of plants in the nettle family growing in very dark condition.

The botanists dubbed the new species Pilea cavernicola that receives only .04-2.78% the amount of full daylight. This feat of survival speaks to life’s tenacity and the endless versatility of evolution, but despite its hardiness, Pilea cavernicola is officially a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The human threat Pilea cavernicola faces is big as China continues to expand mining operations in the region and farmers growing medicinal plants may also disturb the cave nettle by carving terraces right under its home.


photo:Flowers of a new species from the nettle family known only from caves, Pilea cavernicola, where it grows in very low light conditions. Photo by: Alex Monro.


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