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Return of the Kobe Fairy Lantern
They had discovered it 30 years ago, then had never seen it again. The Kobe fairy lantern, scientifically named Thismia kobensis, is making a comeback. A team of Japanese scientists found around twenty specimens in the heart of a cedar forest in the city of Sanda (southern Japan). The Thismia kobensis plant belongs to the genus of "fairy lanterns": these are plants that have no stem or leaf. Only their flower emerges from the ground like a mushroom. Fairy lanterns are species found primarily in Japan and the United States. These two countries differ in several common species due to the Beringia Passage (old name for the Bering Strait), a strip of land that linked the two continents during ancient ice ages. Unfortunately, today the Kobe Fairy Lantern is critically endangered due to habitat loss.
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