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Picture: Peter Willows
The multi-agency search team (l-r) Dorset Wildlife, Naural England, Dorset Environmental Record centre, The National Trust, National Museum of Wales.
A crack multi-agency search party descended on a secret location near Weymouth yesterday in a search for one of Britains rarest plants - after a 16 year conservation plan has finally rescued it from danger.
The botanists hailed the success of the painstaking project to save a Wild Asparagus plant, dubbed the loneliest plant in Britain after being found growing without a mate on Portland Bill in Dorset in 1997, from dying out after they mated it with a partner from 175 miles away.
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.
Experts from the National Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the National Museum of Wales took part in the painstaking search for the tiny plants.