Banded Trinity Thismia americana plant botany Thismia americana - Extinction

Banded Trinity

Thismia americana

Conservation Status: Extinct

Cause of Decline: Unknown

Location: North America

Collection: Plants

FMNH catalogue no. 427103

In 1912, botany PhD student Norma Pfeiffer happened upon a small bluish-white flower near a lake in South Chicago. After extensive research, it was determined that the plant was a new species, whose closest relatives are found in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It was named Thismia americana, yet four years later it completely disappeared and has not been found since.

Thismia grows mostly underground and lacks chlorophyll; it maintains a symbiotic relationship with the fungi on its roots for food. Today, Thismia has almost rock star status among botany enthusiasts and annual hunts are held around Chicago each year attempting to locate the species again.

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