Tanzania: World’s Newest Plant With Strange Behaviour Discovered in Tanzania

Botanists have discovered what could be the world’s newest type of vegetation in the form of a lone, spear-shaped and nocturnal plant growing in Northern Tanzania, Citizen Tanzania reports.

The new plant is currently being studied at the National Herbarium which operates inside the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA) premises in Arusha.

The TPHPA head of national herbarium, Dr Neduvoto Mollel, said the new plant seems to come alive at night when the leaves bloom under moonlight but as soon as the sun comes out, the plant goes with its leaves looking slightly weathered.

“It is a very strange plant because its leaves expand and flourish during the night and contract at sunrise,” Dr Mollel explained.

The plant was discovered by American Botanist Barry Yinger and his Tanzanian associate Robert Sikawa. The National Herbarium in which the new plant is being kept and observed, located at Ngaramtoni in the outskirts of Arusha city, holds a collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data used for scientific study and identification.

“We have all reasons to believe that this new plant is endemic to Tanzania. It’s never seen anywhere else in the world because those who discovered it are experts, botanists who have travelled around the globe sampling and studying vegetation,” Dr Mollel pointed out.

Until now, the strange plant has neither local nor scientific names.

However, scientists in Tanzania have already sent the plant profile, descriptions and properties to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) with the proposed name from the country. The ICBN is the world’s authority behind the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical names that are given to plants.