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Ten Remarkable New Plants Discovered in 2022

The world’s largest waterlily, a long-lost relative of the sweet potato, and an herb that grows exclusively in rapids and waterfalls are among more than 100 new species of plant and fungi recorded by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this year.

“It’s easy to think we have a picture-perfect understanding of the natural world and all its plants and fungi, but as these annual lists show us time and time again, we’ve only really scratched the surface of discovery,” Martin Cheek, senior research leader with Kew’s Africa Team, said in a statement.

Scientists highlighted 10 particularly notable species:

  • Hydnum reginae, or Queen’s hedgehog, a lumpy, white fungi found in the ancient beech woodland in Surrey, England. Scientists described it as having an “ill-defined but pleasant, slightly sweet” odor and “mild, soapy then slowly slightly bitter” flavor.

“Unfortunately, many of the species described this year have already been assessed as either Vulnerable or Critically Endangered with extinction, or are even already Extinct, highlighting the need to accelerate the rate at which we make new discoveries,” Cheek said. “We cannot put a stop to the biodiversity crisis unless we know exactly what it is we are saving and where.”


Species or Ecosystems: How Best to Restore the Natural World?

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