New flower species discovered in Pickens County, first known sighting in the entire world

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PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Local botanists have discovered a new plant that’s unique to the Upstate.

The plant, named Shealy’s Saxifrage, was found at the Nine Times Preserve in Pickens County. The flower was discovered by botanists Patrick McMillan, Laary Cushman and Vincent Richards. It’s the only known population of the flower in the entire world.

“It’s a very cool thing and it shows you that there’s still a lot left to be discovered right here on planet Earth,” Greg Lucas, education and outreach at South Carolina of Department of Natural Resources said.

Courtesy of Mac Stone

The flower was named after long time professor Dr. Harry Shealy at University of South Carolina- Aiken for his significant contributions and impact on the field of Botany.

“I feel honored and humbled,” Dr. Shealy said, “I had an influence in both lives [Cushman and McMillan] so I guess that’s why they decided to do it.”

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources urges nature enthusiasts not to disturb the rare plant community. Instead, they said it is best observed and appreciated from a distance.

“It is such a rare plant community that we really don’t want a lot of people getting too close to it. It’s something that’s better observed from afar because trampling on this type of plant habitat, which is on granite outcrop and high up, would disturb that particular type of plant habitat, ” Lucas said.

The flower is hard to miss. It’s white in color with yellow and red accents and can be found along the edges of slopping granite outcroppings, moss mats or in crevices.

Researchers say Shealy’s Saxifrage blooms from February to May.

For more information about the Nine Times Nature Preserve, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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