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  • Writer's picture三重県剪定伐採お庭のお手入れ専門店 剪定屋空

A Miraculous Plant Discovery

In the news on March 1, 2024, a new plant with a quite peculiar form named "Mujina no Shokudai" made its appearance.


A group led by Professor Kenji Suetsugu from the Graduate School of Science at Kobe University discovered a plant belonging to the Thismia family in the Osumi Peninsula's Kimotsuki Mountains in Kagoshima Prefecture. They established a new genus called Relictithismia and described a new species within it, Relictithismia kimotsukiensis.



A Miraculous Plant Discovery


A group led by Professor Kenji Suetsugu from the Graduate School of Science at Kobe University discovered a plant belonging to the Thismia family in the Osumi Peninsula's Kimotsuki Mountains in Kagoshima Prefecture. They established a new genus called Relictithismia and described a new species within it, Relictithismia kimotsukiensis.


The discovery of a new genus and species of plant within Japan is a remarkable event that hasn't occurred in nearly a century, garnering significant attention in the botanical research community.


Mujina no Shokudai, when viewed from above, exhibits a mysterious appearance reminiscent of a starfish extending its tentacles or a mushroom-like fungus. It produces glossy flowers that resemble glasswork.


This plant does not perform photosynthesis; instead, it lives by stealing nutrients from fungi in the soil (!) and remains mostly buried underground, only revealing itself above ground during flowering. (Unfortunately, we couldn't capture the real thing this time, so we tried to express it through an illustration... Does it convey the image? Please do an online search to see its actual appearance!)


Incidentally, "Mujina" refers to tanuki (raccoon dogs) or badgers, sharing the same nuance as the Thismia family name, which translates to "raccoon dog's candlestick." In Japan, six species of the Thismia family, including the "Kobe Tanuki no Shokudai," also known as the "fairy's lamp," are native, but all of them are endangered. The discovery of a new species among such highly rare species is astonishing.


Alas, there might be plants that have disappeared unnoticed due to development. Moreover, there could still be numerous unknown plants living in the world, couldn't there?


Reference: NHK News: 2024.03.01

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