This Article is From Jun 02, 2022

Watch: Researchers Discover World's Largest Plant in Australia

Experts believe the plant to be about 4,500-years-old and 180km-long.

Watch: Researchers Discover World's Largest Plant in Australia

Plant's surface area is believed to be slightly larger than the city of Glasgow.

Scientists have recently discovered the world's largest plant growing underwater in Western Australia. According to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the plant, discovered at Shark Bay, is believed to span as much as 200 square kilometres (77sq miles). This surface area is slightly larger than the city of Glasgow, more than three times the size of Manhattan Island or roughly 20,000 rugby fields, the Independent reported. 

Researchers said that the discovery was made by accident, after stumbling across the plant while carrying out genetic testing. They initially believed the plant to be a giant seagrass meadow, but they later found that it was a plant spread from a single seed. Experts believe the plant to be about 4,500-years-old and 180km-long. 

As per the study, the researchers said that the plant is a single clone of "Posidonia australis" seagrass and the largest known example of a clone in any environment on Earth. It is believed to have formed in shallow waters after the inundation of the Shark Bay area less than 8,500 years ago. 

Also Read | 765 Jumps In 24 Hours: Man Sets New Bungee Jumping World Record

Speaking to ABC Australia, evolutionary biologist and study co-author Elizabeth Sinclair, from the University of Western Australia, said, "We were quite surprised when we had a good look at the data and it seemed to indicate that everything belonged to the one plant."

Further, the researchers said that apart from the unusual size of the plant, its ability to sustain itself for thousands of years suggests it has developed resilience to recover from an extreme climate event via vegetative growth. They added that the signs of reproductive activity in the plant are also "unremarkable" because it doesn't flower or seed as much. 

Also Read | Record Number Of Women In Australia's New Cabinet

The experts said that the relative abundance of the plant suggests that it has evolved a resilience to variable and often extreme conditions that enable it to persist now and into the future.