updated 9/2/2010 12:20:54 PM ET 2010-09-02T16:20:54

A Hawaiian plant species thought to be extinct has been found on the Big Island.

The Nature Conservancy and Parker Ranch said Wednesday staff discovered the plant earlier this summer in an upland rainforest on the slopes of Kohala volcano.

They were surveying a rare tree snail population on the ranch when they stumbled upon a plant with greenish white flowers and dark green leaves. They couldn't identify it so they sent photographs to Thomas Lammers, a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh expert.

He identified the plant as Clermontia peleana singuliflora, a species last seen on the Big Island in 1909 and last collected in East Maui in 1920.

More than 30 of the plants have since been found, and the conservancy has collected seeds to propagate the species.

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