Nymphaea thermarum: Nearly extinct water lily stolen from London botanical garden

12:34 PM, Jan 13, 2014   |    comments
A Nymphaea thermarum water lily at London's Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Photo courtesy C.T. Johansson, Wikimedia Commons
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LONDON (AP) - Police say that one of a small number of nearly extinct water lilies has been stolen from London's Royal Botanic Gardens.

The capital's Metropolitan Police says that the flower theft took place sometime Thursday when a Nymphaea thermarum, considered the world's smallest water lily, was pulled from a shallow pond in a glasshouse at the garden in Kew, west London.

The lily, discovered in Rwanda, is extremely rare and is thought to be the world's smallest, producing tiny lily pads as small as 1 centimeter (around one third of an inch) across.

It is extinct in the wild. The only surviving plants are at Kew, where there are about 50, and in Germany.

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