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Falkland Islands snakeplant Nassauvia serpens

Snakeplant is one of 13 species understood to be unique to the Falkland Islands. One of the most unusual plants on the Islands, it has long straggling stems, reaching up to 2 m in height, which form large tangled patches amongst rocks and boulders.

Situated 500 km from mainland South America, the Falkland Islands are a remote archipelago of two larger islands (East and West Falkland) and over 700 smaller islands.

The snake plant (Nassauvia serpens) is one of 13 endemic species found only on the islands, with a total of about 350 other wild growing species. The snake plant can be found growing within areas of inland rock, together with an array of fern species, including several delicate filmy ferns, and the sculptural looking shield fern. The tiny white flowers have club-shaped heads, with purplish stamens, with the heads of the flowers turning brown as the seeds develop. In full bloom these delicate flowers produce a strong, sweet scent.

One of the most unusual plants on the Islands, the snake plant has long, straggling stems, reaching up to two metres in height. The dull green leaves are tough and slightly curved, with sharp hooks along the edges, and whitish underneath. The long curving stems of the snake plant often form tangled patches amongst the rocks and boulders, with these patches measuring a metre across.

The Falkland Islands are one of the sixteen UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs), which encompass some of the most remote and biologically interesting places in the world. Most UKOTs are islands, distributed around the globe from Antarctica to the Mediterranean and from the South Pacific to the Indian Ocean. Kew works with partners in the Territories and internationally to safeguard their remarkable biological diversity.

Fact 1

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