A botanist from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has discovered a tiny new flower species growing in three shallow swamps in northern NSW belonging to a genus used in a variety of medicines.
A flash of purple
Botanist from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Dr Richard Jobson was performing some field work in northern NSW when something caught his eye.
"I saw a flash of purple from a tiny plant with a single flower about one centimetre in diameter - I knew I had found something new to science," said Dr Jobson.
Dr Jobson then had to wait several years until there was enough rain in the area for the elusive flower to re-emerge and provide the evidence to officially confirm it as a brand-new species Lobelia claviflora.
“The deep purple bands on the flower’s throat inspired the name ‘claviflora’, which comes from the Latin ‘clavus’, resembling the purple stripe decorating the tunic worn by persons of state in Ancient Rome,” Dr Jobson said.
“Besides its striking purple colour and tiny stature, another interesting feature is its inflated stems, which is possibly an adaptation that allows it to support itself in water,” Dr Jobson said.