10:29 AM ET 07/08/97 Australian botanists find 43,000-year-old plant HOBART, Australia (Reuter) - Australian botanists said Tuesday they had discovered a naturally cloned shrub thought to be 43,000 years old, which would make it the world's oldest known living plant. Carbon-dating indicated the Lomatia tasmanica shrub, commonly called King's Holly, found in the rugged wilderness of Australia's island state of Tasmania, was 43,000 years old, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service chief botanist Stephen Harris said. Botanists previously thought the world's oldest living plant was a 13,000-year-old huckleberry in the United States. The plant, found in a 0.4 square mile patch of rainforest in Tasmania's wild and thinly populated southwest, was originally found in the 1930s but its age had not been suspected, Harris told reporters. The shrub was a self-propagating clone which did not produce seeds but reproduced by shedding ``cuttings'' of itself onto the forest floor which grew into genetically-identical plants, he said. The plant looked like several hundred individual shrubs but they were all genetically identical, meaning they were essentially the same plant, he said. ``When people think of a 43,000-year-old plant they probably visualize something gnarled and twisted. This just looks like an undershrub in the forest,'' he said. Cuttings from the plant were identical to fossilized remains in the forest floor carbon-dated at 43,000 years, he said. The plant had glossy, pointed leaves resembling holly and flowered regularly, which was unusual for a plant that did not seed, Harris said. ^REUTER@It came upon a midnight clear.