King's lomatia - the Oldest Plant Clone in the World?
Recent research on an endangered species of Tasmanian plant has led to the discovery of what is thought to be the oldest known plant clone on Earth. Stands of genetically identical individuals of Lomatia tasmanica, or King's lomatia, have been estimated to be at least 43 000 years old.
King's lomatia, Lomatia tasmanica, is a highly endangered species of the family Proteaceae, found only in two tiny localities in the remote south-west of Tasmania. The total population comprises approximately 500 plants. The populations appear to be maintained vegetatively, by root suckering and coppice. One stand has spread over 1.2km, the second longest such clone in the world after the 2km long huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycerium) clone in North America. Full details of the species is available on the Department of Primary Industries and Water's web site.