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World's largest plant discovered in Australia

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World's largest plant discovered in Australia

By Katie Hunt, CNN 
Updated 10:55 AM EDT, Wed June 01, 2022
An underwater image of the seagrass in Shark Bay in Western Australia.

(CNN)The world's largest living plant has been identified in the shallow waters off the coast of Western Australia, according to scientists.

The sprawling seagrass, a marine flowering plant known as Posidonia australis, stretches for more than 112 miles (180 kilometers) in Shark Bay, a wilderness area protected as a World Heritage site, said Elizabeth Sinclair, a senior research fellow at the School of Biological Sciences and Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia.

That's about the distance between San Diego and Los Angeles.


The seagrass meadow covered almost 200 square kilometers (77 square miles or 49,000 acres), Sinclair said -- bigger than Brooklyn. That's a much larger area than the Pando quaking Aspen trees in Utah, which are often described as the world's largest plant. The clone spreads over 106 acres, consisting of over 40,000 individual trees, according to the USDA Forest Service.

At about 4,500 years old, the Shark Bay seagrass is ancient, but its age isn't record-breaking, the researchers said. A Posidonia oceanica plant discovered in the western Mediterranean that spans up to 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) may be greater than 100,000 years old.

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