Rare tiny flower stolen

Last updated 07:54 14/01/2014
lily stolen

STOLEN: The nymphaea thermarum.

Relevant offers

Europe

English footballer Rio Ferdinand loses wife to cancer Royal baby: Aunty Pippa, Granddad Charles among family to visit Kate Middleton's little princess Bookies pick Charlotte and Alice for royal baby name Where's the Royal baby in line to the throne? Germany foils suspected Boston-style attack, officials say Queen Mother shot rats to prepare for Nazi raid US authorities knew of Germanwings pilot's depression Dead man convicted for stealing Russian spaceship spins out of control British election highlights splits in society

A minuscule, nearly extinct water lily has been stolen from London's Royal Botanic Gardens.

Britain's Metropolitan Police said the flower theft took place sometime on Thursday when a Nymphaea thermarum, considered the world's smallest water lily, was pulled from a shallow pond in a glasshouse at the garden in Kew, west London.

The Botanic Garden's director of horticulture, Richard Barley, called the incident "a blow to morale."

The lily - so rare that it doesn't have a common name - was discovered growing in the damp mud of a hot water spring in southwest Rwanda by a German botanist in the 1980s.

The minuscule plant grows delicate white flowers with yellow stamens and lily pads as small as 1 centimetre across.

When the mud around the Rwandan spring dried up in 2008, the plant disappeared from the wild, but the gardens' Youki Crump said in an email that a handful had since been successfully reintroduced to the area.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, founded in 1759, is among the world's premier organisations for plant conservation. Its second site, in southern England, hosts the Millennium Seed Bank, a project aimed at safeguarding the future of the world's wild plants.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content