Otherworldly ‘elf lantern plant’, thought to be extinct, emerges from the forest floor in Japan

Scientists in Japan have rediscovered an extremely rare species of parasitic “elf-smelt” that was thought to be extinct.

The mysterious plant, Thismia kobensis, belongs to a rarely seen, fungal genus. The plants grow underground without photosynthesis, but send transparent flowers to sprout like ghostly lanterns from the forest floor.

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