Posidonia Australis: World’s largest known plant is 4,500 years old, stretches across 180 kms

What is the News?

Researchers have discovered the largest plant in the world named “Posidonia Australis”.

What is Posidonia Australis?
Posidonia Australis
Source: Indian Express

Posidonia Australis is also known as ribbon weed is a species of seagrass.

It was discovered in the shallow waters of the World Heritage Area of Shark Bay in Western Australia. 

The plant is estimated to be at least 4,500 years old.

It stretches across 180 km in length. This makes it the largest known plant on earth.

The plant appears to be extremely resilient without successful flowering and seed production. 

What is unique about this plant?

Firstly, it covers an area of 20,000 hectares which makes it the largest known plant on earth.

Note: The largest tree in India, the Great Banyan in Howrah’s Botanical Garden, covers 1.41 hectares.

Secondly, this plant is unique from others as it has twice as many chromosomes as its relatives. This makes it what scientists call a “polyploid”.

Note: Polyploids instead of taking half-half genome from both parents, take 100% genome of each of their parents, something not unheard of in plants. 

Source: The post is based on the article “World’s largest known plant is 4,500 years old, stretches across 180 kms” published in Indian Express on 6th June 2022.

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