New species of metal-eating plant discovered in the Philippines

from Scientists from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños
have discovered a new plant species with an unusual lifestyle — it
eats nickel for a living — accumulating up to 18,000 ppm of the metal
in its leaves without itself being poisoned
, says Professor Edwino
Fernando, lead author of the report. Such an amount is a hundred to a
thousand times higher than in most other plants.
The study was
published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

The new species is called Rinorea niccolifera, reflecting its
ability to absorb nickel in very high amounts. Nickel hyperaccumulation
is such a rare phenomenon with only about 0.5–1% of plant species
native to nickel-rich soils having been recorded to exhibit the ability.
Throughout the world, only about 450 species are known with this
unusual trait, which is still a small proportion of the estimated
300,000 species of vascular plants

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