The Keelung City Government and the Wild Bird Society of Keelung are aiming to restore the Lysimachia candida, a species thought to be extinct since the early 1900s, at an ecological pool near Keelung’s Nuannuan District (暖暖).
The last time the plant was officially recorded was in 1897 by Japanese naturalist Seikihiro Yano.
Considered extinct by the Red List of Vascular Plants of Taiwan report, the plant was last month discovered by a plant enthusiast surnamed Su (蘇).
Photo provided by the Wild Bird Society of Keelung
Su said that she found the plant growing on a grassy slope, and sent a photograph to other enthusiasts because she had never seen it before.
Chung Shih-wen (鐘詩文), an expert at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, and Yang Tsung-yu (楊宗愈), a researcher at the National Museum of Natural Science, visited the ecological pool and identified the plant as Lysimachia candida.
The plant has flourished, with three to four clusters within a range of 100m, the experts said, adding that they surmised the clusters have been growing for about three to five years.
Society director Shen Chin-feng (沈錦豐) on Friday said that the city government should be credited for the rediscovery of the plant, as it had used lawn mowers and not herbicides to maintain the grass near the ecological pool.
The plant is facing the sun and is not covered by trees, meaning that given time, its survival is almost guaranteed, Shen said.
The society would be keeping the plant’s location a secret for now, Shen said, urging others who know about the discovery to also keep quiet to increase the chances that the plant will survive.
Shen also called on plant enthusiasts not to remove the plant from its habitat and to allow it to flourish and grow.
The plant usually develops fruit between March and July, the city government said, adding that it had agreed to collaborate with the society.
The society would be tasked with collecting the seeds of the plant while the city government would nurture the plants, it said.
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