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Scientists find wildflower Gasteranthus extinctus is still alive despite its name05:42
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The bright orange flowers of the Ecuadorian cloud forest herb Gasteranthus extinctus, long believed to have gone extinct, light up the forest understory as if begging to be seen. (Riley Fortier)
The bright orange flowers of the Ecuadorian cloud forest herb Gasteranthus extinctus, long believed to have gone extinct, light up the forest understory as if begging to be seen. (Riley Fortier)

Nearly four decades after its last sighting, a bright orange South American wildflower showed its colors once again.

As its name implies, the Gasteranthus extinctus was thought to have been wiped out due to extensive deforestation in Ecuador.

But scientists on a research trip to the country last year found the plant, very much alive.

Here & Now speaks with one of the lead researchers, Dawson White, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Figure 1 - Sunset on the peak of Centinela Ridge in coastal Ecuador, near to where the first collections of the endangered wildflower Gasteranthus extinctus were made some 40 years ago. (Photo: Nigel Pitman)
Sunset on the peak of Centinela Ridge in coastal Ecuador, near to where the first collections of the endangered wildflower Gasteranthus extinctus were made some 40 years ago. (Nigel Pitman)
Part of the team that rediscovered Gasteranthus extinctus traverses steep ravines in the forests of coastal Ecuador in search of rare plants. From left: Washington Santillán, Sr. Hermogenes, Alix Lozinguez, and Nicolás Zapata. (Photo: Thomas L.P. Couvruer)
Part of the team that rediscovered Gasteranthus extinctus traverses steep ravines in the forests of coastal Ecuador in search of rare plants. From left: Washington Santillán, Sr. Hermogenes, Alix Lozinguez, and Nicolás Zapata. (Thomas L.P. Couvruer)
The bright orange flowers of the Ecuadorian cloud forest herb Gasteranthus extinctus, (Photo: Riley Fortier)
The bright orange flowers of the Ecuadorian cloud forest herb Gasteranthus extinctus, (Riley Fortier)
Figure 13 - Long believed to have gone extinct, Gasteranthus extinctus was found growing next to a waterfall at Bosque y Cascada Las Rocas, a private reserve in coastal Ecuador containing a large population of the endangered plant. (Photo: Riley Fortier)
Figure 13 - Long believed to have gone extinct, Gasteranthus extinctus was found growing next to a waterfall at Bosque y Cascada Las Rocas, a private reserve in coastal Ecuador containing a large population of the endangered plant. (Riley Fortier)

This segment aired on April 26, 2022.

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