While few people know what the plant Pandanus candelabrum looks like, it may soon become the most sought-after piece of herbage in the world. That’s because this particular thorny plant typically grows on top of diamonds.
More accurately, Pandanus candelabrum grows on top of kimberlite pipes. These subterranean carrot-shaped formations were created by volcanic eruptions and are now replete with potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and diamonds.
The entire process is spelled out in an article published in the June-July 2015 issue of the journal Economic Geology in an article by Stephen Haggerty, a professor at Florida International University. Haggerty says he uses “diamonds as a proverbial window to Earth’s deep interior”.
He believes the plant has adapted to growing in these mineral-rich soils, providing a simple and efficient tool for identifying kimberlite pipes and potential diamond deposits. Kimberlite mining is less invasive than other types of mining because of the pipes’ narrow shape.