Dorset

Abbotsbury Gardens celebrates plant's 'monster' leaves

Stephen Griffith and the Gunnera Manicata
Image caption The average leaf span of a Gunnera Manicata is about 2.5m (5.9ft)

A plant in Dorset has grown "monster" leaves spanning 3.3m (11ft).

The foliage of the Gunnera Manicata grown at Abbotsbury Gardens, near Weymouth, is almost a metre longer than its average diameter of 2.5m (8ft).

Head gardener Stephen Griffith said: "This damp cool summer has produced some enormous leaves measuring 3.3m across and could be a record breaker."

The plants are commonly known as Giant Rhubarb and are native to the Serra do Mar mountains of Brazil.

The Gunnera Manicata at the subtropical gardens is 30-years-old and Mr Griffith said they got bigger with age.

A Royal Horticultural Society spokeswoman measured RHS Wisley's own Manicata leaves and said they were between 2.1 and 2.2m (6.8 and 7.2 ft).

She described Abbotsbury's leaf as "something of a monster".

The sheltered gardens have their own a micro-climate and were established in 1765.

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