Taraxacum pankhurstianum

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Taraxacum pankhurstianum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Taraxacum
Species: T. pankhurstianum
Binomial name
Taraxacum pankhurstianum

Taraxacum pankhurstianum, also known as the St Kilda Dandelion,[1] is a species of dandelion that was identified as new in 2012 after being cultivated at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from seed collected two years previously on the island of Hirta, the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago, on the western edge of Scotland.[2]

The species was named for Richard Pankhurst, a retired staff member at the garden who suggested that the seed be collected.[1]

Description[edit]

It is the presence of unique hairy exterior bracts on the flower bud that led botanists to believe it is a new species of Asteraceae, the largest family of flowering plants. The St Kilda dandelion is also much smaller than the common species.[1]

History[edit]

The plant has, so far, only been found on the island of Hirta which was abandoned by its last residents in 1936.[1][2] Botanists believe it may be endemic to the area and among the rarest plants in Scotland's flora.[3] It may be rare on St Kilda because it is eaten by animals including sheep and perhaps, some birds.[1]

The flower may have originated in Iceland and was carried to Hirta by birds, or the Vikings.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. "New Dandelion Found". Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c BBC News. "New species of dandelion discovered on St Kilda island". Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ UK Press Association. "New species of dandelion found". Retrieved June 29, 2012.