A strange event at the London Kew Gardens, reminiscent of a famous book plot, sent a shock wave in the scientific community.
An extremely rare water lily, one of a handful still left in the wild, has been stolen from the famed botanical gardens in London.
The flower, Nymphaea thermarum, was extracted from the special berth of temperature controlled mud in which it was growing.
Because of its rarity, the plant is priceless especially in the black market, if it were to be sold.
Stealing the plant was probably rendered easier by the fact that it is quite small. As the picture shows, the flowers of the diminutive plant are little larger than a person's fingernail.
The plant comes from Rwanda and lives in freshwater springs. This location is the only one in which the plant is known to exist. However, there were no more specimens left in Rwanda due to destruction of the fragile habitat in which it lived until very recently.
The reason why it is still extant is due to the extraordinary efforts of the Bonn Botanical Garden, where the plant was successfully revived from a small number of specimen that had been saved.
A few of the successfully propagated plants have been returned to Rwanda, and a few others distributed to particularly well organized botanical gardens, like the Kew.
The plant is so rare, it does not even possess a common name, but is simply indicated as the Rwandan pigmy water lily.
Source : CNN/1.14.14