Kew horticulturalist saves African plant

Garden and greenhouse fans in the UK could one day see the benefits of the work of a UK-based horticulture expert who managed to save a rare African species of waterlily.

Carlos Magdalena works out of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and recently solved a propagation puzzle that has been baffling scientists for a quarter of a century.

The Nymphaea thermarum was discovered growing close to hot springs in Masyuza in the south-west of Rwanda in 1985.

However, its natural habitat was destroyed just five years later, meaning the only surviving plants were those brought back to Bonn Botanic Gardens by Professor Eberhard Fischer.

Some specimens were given to Kew in the hope that they could be successfully propagated, although it took another two decades before any headway was made.

"It was only when I searched a little deeper that the key I needed came to the surface," Mr Magdalena said.

"Now we have over 30 healthy baby plants growing here at Kew and some are producing seeds."

In other news, the Royal Horticultural Society has warned gardeners that their plants may still be vulnerable to frost.