A specialist horticultural thief has stolen the Nymphaea Thermarum, also known as the pygmy Rwandan water lily from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
The rare plant was stolen between 08:30hrs and 14:55hrs on Thursday, 9th January 2014.
The Nymphaea Thermarum is the smallest water lily in the world. It was discovered in 1987 and was restricted to just one known location in Mashyuza, Rwanda.
The plant however, disappeared from this location about two years ago due to over-exploitation of the hot spring that fed this fragile habitat, and no plant is known to have survived in the wild. Kew Gardens is one of only two places in the world to cultivate this plant, and there were only 30 plants on display.
The value of this plant is considered to be ‘priceless’. Anyone with information is asked to contact the CID on Richmond-Upon-Thames Borough on 020 8721 5934.