In the Peruvian Amazon, a plant called Plukenetia carolis-vegae grows. And like other species in the same plant family like Plukenetia volubilis and Plukenetia huayllabambana, P. carolis-vegae produces an oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, said Nature News.The two researchers who discovered the plant, Rainer Bussmann of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and Carlos Vega of the Institute for Sustainable Local Development, are hoping to find a way to raise the crop commercially while conserving the Amazon.

Bussman and Vega found the plant in a Peruvian farmer's garden in August 2012, who told them he spotted the plant in the forest and transplanted it to his garden, Nature said Bussman, who also discovered P. huayllabambana in 2008, reported that the two plants are similar and that lab results on P. huayllabambana suggest P. carolis-vegae could produce an oil rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid the human body cannot make.If these crops become popular, Nature added, their growth could help conserve the Amazon. The plants prefers shade, so trees wouldn't need to be cut down for their cultivation and could take the place of other crops, the growth of which would necessitate razing parts of the forest.

Experts said the jury is still out on whether ALA has the same benefits for the body and brain that omega-3 fatty acids from fish do, Nature reported. Bussman added, however, that oil from P. huayllabambana is quite tasty on salads, so even if the plants don't produce a dietary supplement, they could end up as treats for foodies.