A biologist recently discovered a new flower, named Mimulus peregrinus, Latin for “wanderer.” Mario Vallejo-Marin was walking along the banks of a stream in Scotland when he spotted the yellow monkey flower.
This is not just any ordinary flower. The M. peregrinus is the offspring of two foreign flowers introduced from the Americas, making it a hybrid. Hybrid flowers are typically sterile due to their odd number of chromosomes, making them unable to reproduce. But, due to a rare genetic duplication, this little yellow monkey flower is able to reproduce! The fertile hybrid represents a completely new species, native to Scotland.
Thousands of wild species and crops have been known to originate this way, but only a few examples have occurred in recent history within the last 150 years. This discovery can help other scientists understand where new species come from. Dr. Vallejo-Marin, can be quoted as saying, “Finding examples of the process in action is rare. So this is an exciting opportunity to study evolution as it happens.”
For more information, you can refer to Dr. Vallejo-Marin’s PhytoKeys article.