'Miracle plant' found at record altitude
AFP · 25 May 2011, 11:18
Published: 25 May 2011 11:18 GMT+02:00
"It is almost a miracle, but at 4,505 metres, at 40 metres below the Dom peak in the canton of Valais, the ... Saxifraga oppositifolia has been recently discovered," said the university in a statement.
"It is the highest elevation flowering plant that has ever been documented in Europe, and the location is probably the coldest point in the world where a flowering plant has been found," it added.
The plant, also known as the purple mountain saxifrage, is common in mountainous areas, but it was found for the first time at such high altitude between solid rock by botanist Christian Koerner.
Scientists said that at such an altitude, the plant regularly has to endure night-time temperatures of below zero degrees Celsius and winter temperatures that plunge as low as -20.9 degrees Celsius. In summer temperatures reach a maximum of 18.1 degrees Celsius.