The Bongolesian Oxygen Plant (Oxygenesis bongolesia) is a marvel of modern botanical study. It has the curious ability to generate fantastic amounts of oxygen when subjected to the proper conditions of temperature, atmospheric pressure, and carbon dioxide emissions.
O. bongolesia has been known to the highland dwellers of the African nation of Bongolesia for milennia, although naturally no proper scientific study had been carried out by the natives. It might have gone on forever as a simple mossy ground cover had it not been for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Smith Expedition.
You will recall, of course, that the freelance antiquities hunter Doctor Albert Henry Jones Smith, formerly of the British Museum, led an expedition to discover the ancient city of Bongolia, in the highland areas of Bongolesia. There they found a tribe of fierce savages who ate all but three of the expedition, including Doctor Smith. The three survivors brought along with them a few scraps of gold jewelry and a small amount of the oxygen plant, which one team member described as 'possibly worth something for industrialists.'
Again, fate stepped in and the oxygen plant was mentioned as a botanical curiousity in the Times on a slow news day. That article was read by Sir Reginald, who immediately deduced it could be used to replace the bulky and heavy compressed air cylinders then in use aboard the first aetherships. The rest, as they say, is history.