Leonardo DiCaprio: A tropical tree is named in honor of the actor and environmentalist

In the Ebo forest, in Cameroon, a tropical tree has been named with the actor’s name Leonardo Dicaprio, committed to preserving the rainforest, scientists at Kew British Botanic Garden announced Thursday.

Researchers at Kew, a huge facility in west London, and their collaborators from around the world officially named more than 200 new species of plants and fungi.

Among these species, ranging from a deadly tobacco plant to an orchid that grows in total darkness, is the Uvariopsis Dicaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Uvariopsis Dicaprio

This four-meter tall tree, with a trunk adorned with large greenish-yellow flowers, was discovered in the Ebo forest, which is located north of Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.

The tree was named after the actor, who in 2020 joined the conservation organization “Re:wild“to avoid cutting down more than 68 thousand hectares of forest for the production of wood.

The Cameroonian government finally annulled this decision in August 2020, to the satisfaction of environmentalists who had pointed out the presence of endangered primates in this virgin forest.

“We greatly appreciate the support that Leo gave us in the campaign to protect Ebo last year, so it seemed appropriate to honor him in this way, naming a species unique to this forest after him,” explained Dr. Martin Cheek, Principal Investigator of the Ebo. Kew’s Africa team.

“If the logging concession had gone ahead, probably we would have lost this species due to logging and slash-and-burn agriculture that often follows logging concessions“he added.

But Uvariopsis Dicaprio is already considered critically endangered because the forest in which it is found continues to be threatened by logging, mining and land conversion to plantations.

“Until a species has a scientific name, assessing its risk of extinction is almost impossible, making it incredibly difficult to protect against extinction and research its properties,” the British Botanic Garden said in a statement.

Several species on the 2021 list are already considered endangered due to threats to their natural habitat and it is believed that three may have already become extinct.



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