Norfolk’s rediscovered ‘ghost ponds’ offer up trove of long-lost plants

Norfolk’s rediscovered ‘ghost ponds’ offer up trove of long-lost plants

Rewilding projects reveal rare species preserved in buried ancient wetlands

The fertile land of Norfolk is home to a host of stately homes, rare wildlife and more ponds than any other county. Now, estates in the area are trying to hunt down ancient “ghost ponds” in the hopes of reviving centuries-old seeds and discovering long-lost plants.

Botanists believe that this will lead to new plant discoveries; seeds can survive for centuries under layers of leaves and mud so once they are given water and exposed to sunlight the plants will grow. Already, six plants of the endangered wetland flower grass-poly have been found at the edge of an old cattle-watering pond on the Heydon estate in north Norfolk. The species had not been seen in the county since the early 1900s.

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