Extinct plant growing in Irish greenhouse

Garden enthusiasts could one day have a plant once thought to have been extinct growing in their greenhouse.

The abutilon was thought to have been erased from existence until just a few years ago and one of the only remaining specimens has borne flowers for the first time.

Around 100 of the plants are now growing at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Dublin after cuttings were taken from what may have been the only remaining plant of its kind on the planet in 2005.

Almost five years of efforts to re-establish the abutilon pitcairnense, which was only found on the French Polynesian island of Pitcairn, have led to the clutch of plants springing into bloom at once.

Dr Noeleen Smyth, who brought the cuttings to Ireland, revealed that the botanic garden hopes to breed a more genetically diverse population.

"All we have at the moment are clones but we want to see whats happening at a genetic level and get as many individuals as possible," she explained.

Meanwhile, the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland is celebrating the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity by commissioning a bespoke piece of artwork.