Science Buzz

This plant grows only over rock that harbours diamonds

Diamond emerging from rockPandanus candelabrum is a West African plant that grows only over rock that may harbour diamonds.

Diamonds are formed in intense heat and pressure deep underground, and they’re brought up through the crust inside kimberlite pipes — columns of volcanic rock hundreds of metres across that extend deep into Earth, left by ancient eruptions that exhumed diamonds from the mantle.

P. candelabrum has specifically adapted to grow in kimberlite soils, which contain a lot of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.