A rare plant thought to be extinct in the wild has been discovered in a crater on Hawaii.
The tiny population of Delissea argutidentata was discovered in March 2021, according to a joint news release from Kamehameha Schools, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and nonprofit Three Mountains Alliance published on Monday.
Three separate Delissa plants were found in a crater on land owned by the school system on Hawaii Island, the release noted. The exact location where the extremely rare plants were found is being kept private to protect the species. A protective fence was also installed to keep them safe.
The newly-discovered plants are already being used to help replenish their species, according to the release. Seeds were retrieved from the three plants in the crater, which grew into 30 seedlings.
The school system’s natural resources manager Amber Nāmaka Whitehead called the discovery “the first step toward a much bigger focus on rare species recovery,” in the release.
“We need both: healthy native ecosystems and…