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Self-planting plant discovered in Brazil

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Those Register readers who possess a garden yet are not fond of spending time on their knees clutching a trowel – take heart! Science has found a possible answer to your needs with the discovery of a type of plant which does not merely release its seeds, but actually bends down and buries them in the soil for you.

The quite literally green-fingered self-deploying plant has been dubbed Spigelia genuflexa for its ability to genuflect (bow down, roughly) in similar fashion to one showing respect to a religious figure etc. However rather than kissing a ring, the flexible S genuflexa bends forward to reproduce itself.

According to a statement issued by Rutgers University in the States:

After fruits are formed, the fruiting branches "bend down", depositing the capsules with seeds on the ground and sometimes burying them in the soft cover of moss, a phenomenon called geocarpy. This ensures that the seeds end up as close to the mother plant as possible, facilitating its propagation the following season.

The self-planting plant was discovered by amateur botanist Alex Popovkin on his property in Bahia, Brazil. Boffins at Rutgers aided him in pinning down S genuflexa as a new discovery.

"It's taken me 30 years, from my days as a volunteer at the greenhouses of the Botanic Garden of the University of St Petersburg, to realise my dream of living in the tropics and studying its plants up close," says Popovkin.

"It is very easy to think we have found and described most plant species of the world already, but this discovery shows that there are so many left out there without name and recognition," adds botanist Lena Struwe of Rutgers.

Full details on the discovery have been published in the journal PhytoKeys. ®

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