Kew Gardens have announced the theft of one of their most prized pieces – the world’s smallest water lily. The tiny Nymphaea thermarum lily, is extinct in the wild, and has hit the headlines as it was revealed to be stolen from the Prince of Wales Conservatory.
The lily is thought to have been removed from the damp, temperature regulated mud it needs to survive, and easily removed because of its tiny size. The plant’s lily pads can measure as little a 1cm across, with a white flower and stamen barely the size of a finger nail.
Due to its rarity, the lily is seen as being a priceless commodity for horticultural enthusiasts, and has likely earned the perpetrator thousands of pounds. Experts believe that plant crime is on the rise – to such an extent that Britain’s last remaining Lady Slipper Orchid has been moved to a secret location.