An incredibly rare species of parasitic “fairy lantern” that was thought to be extinct has been unearthed by scientists in Japan.
Thismia kobensis, the enigmatic plant, is a member of a rarely encountered, fungus-eating genus. Even though the plants don’t use photosynthesis to thrive, they still send out transparent blossoms that emerge from the forest floor like spectral lanterns.
The plant was discovered for the first time in 1992 near Kobe, Japan, but it was assumed to be extinct because an industrial complex had destroyed its habitat. Three decades later, the waxy, fang-shaped petals of the unusual plant have been discovered once more, this time on a forest route approximately 19 miles (30 kilometres) from Kobe. The discovery was reported on February 27 in the journal Phytotaxa (opens in new tab)
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