New Plant Species Evolves in Britain

Scientists have discovered a new plant species in Britain. They say this is the first known new species to develop in Britain in the past 50 years.

The small plant was found in York by a biologist on his lunch break. It is a type of ragwort, and its "parents" were the Oxford ragwort and common groundsel. It originally was a hybrid, but has changed enough over the years so that it can no longer breed with any of the two parents - but breeds and propagates quite nicely amongst itself. It has therefore been certified as a new species.

The two previous cases of new species in Britain involved the Welsh groundsel in 1948 and the Spartina anglica in 1903.

Richard Abbott, who discovered the small plant, is holding back on filling greenhouses with this new form of plant life. He wants to see if the new species can survive and flourish on its own.

What Defines a Species?
What Is a Hybrid?

Lisa's Biology Pages