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Kiwi nature-lover sold a seemingly normal houseplant for $25,000 in New Zealand auction

A houseplant with nine leaves has sold for $25,100 on an online trading site for plant-mad collectors, after more than 200 bidders tried to buy the rare wonder.

The 'very rare' white variegated Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, also called 'mini monstera' ,was auctioned off by a seller at Waitakere in the western suburbs of Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday.

Known as a 'mini monstera', this particular plant was from a natural mutation and especially valuable because it is variegated - meaning the leaves have more than one colour.

The popular but rare vining plant, native to southern Thailand and Malaysia, uses aerial roots to climb and grow up trellises or trees.  

Usually plain green, this special colourful mutation soon attracted a lot of online attention. 

This white variegated minima with nine leaves sold for $25,100 Australian dollars on a trading site

Known as a 'mini monstera', this particular plant was from a natural mutation and especially valuable because of its coloured leaves

'This plant has 8 leaves with the 9th just about to uncurl,' the ad reads on TradeMe.

'Each leaf has excellent variegation as does the stem and is well rooted in a 14cm pot.'

There were 248 bids for the plant, with $3,040 added to the sell price in only four minutes from 5.42-5.46pm.

The winner was from Auckland and as per the advertisement, would likely have picked up the plant from its home in the same city.

The houseplant had white and green leaves and was described as 'very rare' - and it quickly attracted a flurry of bids

Commenters on the auction called the plant 'beautiful' and 'stunning.'  

'I want to make love to this plant,' one person said.

'So dam beautiful.'

Others, understandably, thought it was too expensive.

'Out of curiosity do you come with it to take care of it at that price?,' another trader joked.

Another plant owner posted a Nightshade Plant with painted leaves on the auction site as a joke

While this plant is the most expensive ever sold on TradeMe, a Minima sold for $8,150 in 2020 and the owner of a Philodendron Florida Ghost took home $12,250 from the site in May this year. 

The stunning sum for the plant inspired one Christchurch resident to get creative with their own Nightshade Plant in a tongue-in-cheek listing.

The entrepreneurial plant lover painted a few leaves 'dulux' white, and bidders have already jokingly put forward AUD $25,000 for the special item.

'Unique item, never seen before,' the ad joked. 

'Pulled from garden within 15 minutes from listing, won't last the night.'

A spoof advert inspired by the eye-watering sale offered a painted plant for $25,000 

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