Eden Project's rare vine in rainforest biome

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See the rare jade vine bring colour to the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project in Cornwall. The Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is one of the most prized treasures of the Phillippine rain forest. Sadly it's also one of the most threated by the deforestation taking place there. This rare and endgangered plant represents a fascinating story of pollination. In the wild the Jade Vine is pollinated by bats but, as we don't have bats flying around the Biomes at the Eden Project in Cornwall, Rainforest supervisor John Nichol mimics their action with his hands. He explains, "In the wild, as the bat hangs upside down to drink nectar from the the flower, another part of the flower deposits pollen on the back of its head. As it moves on, that pollen is deposited on the femail part of the next flower and pollination occurs. This is one of the novel feats of nature." The jade vine is a member of the same family as peas and beans. Its tangled woody branches grow flower spikes known as racemes and it's from these that the gorgeous aquamarine flowers bloom. It is a climbing plant that grows up through the forest canopy to reach the light. More at www.edenproject.com Date: March 2009

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