Most people looking to celebrate Valentine's Day this year will settle for a box of chocolates and a dozen roses for their significant other. But a new plant just discovered in Hawaii might offer plant lovers the ultimate Valentine's Day gift.
According to research published today in PhytoKeys, a new species of plant called Coprosma cordicarpa, that coincidentally bears a heart-shaped fruit, was recently discovered in Maui. What could be more romantic than a trip to Maui to see heart-shaped fruit?
Jason Cantley, Burpee post doctoral fellow at Bucknell University, says the new plant differs greatly from other currently recognized species of Coprosma in the Hawaiian Islands.
If you want to see the heart-shaped fruit for yourself, you'll need to wait to book your trip for later this year. Flowering occurs during the dry season, and fruits appear most mature shortly preceding the wettest months of December and January.
The payoff might not be immediate, but most Valentines will be flattered even if they have to wait several months before they get their trip. The plant can be found primarily in open habitat receiving direct sunlight but was also observed in gulches and high elevation forests along the Kaupo Gap Trail.
If you happen to find it, take only pictures. Coprosma cordicarpa is designated in the Vulnerable category as a threatened species and indicates that the newly discovered plant faces a high risk of extinction in the wild without active conservation management. As much as a bouquet of heart-shaped fruit would further impress your significant other, the memory itself will have to suffice.
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Jason T. Cantley et al. New and resurrected Hawaiian species of pilo (Coprosma, Rubiaceae) from the island of Maui, PhytoKeys (2016). DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.60.6465