Scientists have found new species of plants and insects while exploring parts of the government's Hanford nuclear reservation that have been off limits since World War II.

"We were excited. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover something new and unique," botanist Kate Beck of Bellingham said.The new plant and three new insects were found as part of a study being conducted by a national conservation group, the Nature Conservancy, for the Energy Department.

The plant was discovered when Beck and another botanist noticed bladder pods, part of the mustard family, blooming in July and August. Bladder pods usually bloom in May. The plant is three to eight inches tall with silver hairs and yellow flowers.

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The new insect species are members of the leafhopper group, which feed on plant juices. Entomologist Richard Zack of Washington State University said they look like cicadas but are one-tenth to one-fifteenth of an inch long.

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