Surprise discovery of rare plant at Norfolk ‘ghost pond’

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A rare plant has reappeared after more than a century in hiding.

The pinkish-flowered plant, known as grass-poly, was found growing on the banks of an old farmland pond in Norfolk. The mystery species “came back from the dead” after seeds submerged in the mud were disturbed during work to restore the pond.

Carl Sayer, a professor at University College London (UCL), stumbled on the plant when he went to survey the pond at Heydon shortly after the first national lockdown ended. Having never seen anything like it before, he quickly snapped a picture, which he sent to local botanist Dr Jo Parmenter.

She identified it as grass-poly, one of the rarest plants in the UK.