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Strange new cave-dwelling plant thrives with little light

December 29, 2012

Strange new cave-dwelling plant thrives with little light

Researchers discover new species of cave-dwelling plant.

Researchers have found a strange new cave-dwelling plant in China that thrives with little light. The exploration of caves and gorges in South West China, Myanmar and Northern Vietnam has yielded many new planet species in recent years, but this latest discovery may be the most fascinating.

“When my Chinese colleague Wei Yi-Gang from the Guangxi Institute of Botany first mentioned cave-dwelling plants to me, I thought that he was mis-translating a Chinese word into English,” says Alex Monro, a Kew botanist and nettle expert. “When we stepped into our first cave, Yangzi cave, I was spell-bound. It had an eerie moonscape look to it and all I could see were clumps of plants in the nettle family growing in very dark condition.”

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