A man who had a passion for the natural world is trying to find out why a floral from his childhood has never been seen before.
Dr David Pendergast was born with a congenital heart defect.
He was not given the ability to breathe on his own, and eventually developed breathing problems.
He said his father, who was a cardiologist, told him to try to find a flower in the garden of his grandmother’s home.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what to do with it, so I’ll put it in my garden,'” Dr Pendergar said.
“I’m not sure what that meant exactly, but I was like, ‘You know what?
I think this is pretty cool’.”
The garden was never cleaned, but Dr Penders grandfather’s grandmother had kept a small floral in the back garden of the house.
It was one of many small flowers in the house, which he would collect to bring to his grandmother to share with her.
Dr Pendergal and his grandfather’s great-grandmother had shared the flowers for decades.
“When I started my research, I had never actually seen a flower,” Dr Pendargar said of his discovery.
“It’s very rare, really rare, and I think I may have been the first person in the world to do it.”
Dr Penders grandmother, whose maiden name was Helen, died when he was 10 years old.
He began collecting the flowers when he first came across them at the farm where he grew up.
“That was probably around the time I started collecting,” Dr Paden said.
But he had not collected the flowers from his grandfather until about 20 years ago.
Dr Paden has now discovered that the flower that his grandfather kept in his garden was a common African rose.
“They were all quite common, and they were very similar,” Dr Boulter said.
It is thought the rose was first discovered by Dr Penda’s grandmother, who passed away when he still had a small amount of his grandfathers small garden.
“And so it just kind of stuck out to me,” Dr Rugg said.
Dr Rugg is one of only two researchers from the University of Queensland to have been granted permission to use African rose plants in research.
He said it was an exciting time to work with the plant, as it was such a common one in Australia.
“As I’ve gone through the field, I’ve been trying to understand what they are and what the role of this species is,” Dr Kato said.
The research, published in the journal PLoS ONE, looked at the gene responsible for the flowers’ ability to reproduce and showed it was involved in the process of making the rose’s flower buds.
“The idea is that these are the genes that allow the flowers to actually develop their own stem and these are genes that actually produce the seed,” Dr D’Agostino said.
In Australia, there are around 200 different species of African rose, ranging in size from about 1.2 to 6cm, depending on where in the continent they are found.
“In South Africa, it’s a really, really common species and so we know it’s in many different places around the country,” Dr Waddell said.
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