Scientists discovered World's Largest Plant growing underwater in Western Australia

plant is large as 200 square kilometers (77sq miles), the Independent reported.

, Shark Bay plant researchers estimate that the plant is 4,500-years-old and 180km-long

when the study was conducted on the plant, researchers said that the plant is a single clone of "Posidonia australis" seagrass.

Shallow waters were believed to form after the inundation of the Shark Bay area less than 8,500 years ago.

Evolutionary biologist and study co-author Elizabeth Sinclair, from the University of Western Australia, was quoted as saying by ABC Australia.

plant has expanded over 180km (111 miles) in Shark Bay, making it the largest known plant on earth."

Sinclair said the plant is unique in that it is a polyploid, meaning the seedling contains 100% of the genome from each parent, rather than sharing the usual 50%.

As the species tends to grow around 35cm annually, the researchers believe that the plant spread from one tiny seed over 4,500 years ago.

“Shark Bay supports megafauna such as dugongs, turtles and dolphins as well as thousands of fish species.

Shark Bay is a pretty unique environment which is largely undisturbed and has remained that way for some time, leading to its listing as a World Heritage Site.

IShark Bay.  is largely protected from the ocean which provides a fairly calm environment for the plant to keep growing.

huge range of average temperatures; from 17 to 30 °C,” said co-author Dr Martin Breed, an ecologist from Flinders University, in a statement. “

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.