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Picture: Peter Willows
Botanists are hailing the success a painstaking project to save the loneliest plant in Britain from dying out after they mated it with a partner from 175 miles away. A rare single female wild asparagus plant, which can only reproduce sexually, was found leading a solitary existence on the Isle of Portland in Dorset in 1997 and experts pollinated the plant with a male variety from Cornwall. The female plant produced 60 seeds which were carefully propagated in a greenhouse and then planted back on Portland bill. Out of the original plants, 51 are thriving today and 11 of them - seven males and four females - have now flowered for the first time.