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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Rare plant thriving in heatwave
Solanum
The plant has thrived in the hot conditions
A rare subtropical plant spotted in central London has been thriving under the heatwave, experts have said.

The solanum laciniatum, commonly known as the Kangaroo Apple, was found by residents in Churchill Gardens estate in the borough of Westminster.

The small shrub with ornate purple flowers and red berry-like fruit is native to south-eastern Australia.

The species has been flourishing in Britain thanks to the mild winters, botanical experts said.

The plant was introduced to the UK by Joseph Banks in 1772 and has been cultivated for its quick growth and spectacular flowers, said the Natural History Museum which identified the plant.

Kangaroo apples were used in the former Soviet Union and in New Zealand in the chemical industry for the production of industrial steroids.


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