Leonardo DiCaprio inspired the name of this tree from Cameroon

Eric Gaillard via Reuters

Leonardo DiCaprio pictured on February 9, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

CAMEROON – The name of Leonardo DiCaprio is not only inscribed in the history of cinema. A tropical tree, discovered in the Ebo forest in Cameroon, has indeed just been named Uvariopsis dicaprio, scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, United Kingdom announced this Thursday, January 6. The reason? The Oscar-winning actor, great defender of the environment, was committed in 2020 to the preservation of this forest.

This plant, the first named in 2022, is 4 meters high, and has a trunk decorated with large yellow-green flowers.

The Hollywood star had fought alongside conservation organization Re: wild to prevent permission to harvest timber for timber production from more than 68,000 hectares of Ebo Forest.

The Cameroonian government finally canceled this decision in August 2020, to the satisfaction of environmental defenders who had notably underlined the presence of primates threatened with extinction in this virgin forest.

“We very much appreciated the support that Leo gave us in the campaign to protect Ebo last year, so it seemed appropriate to honor him in this way, by naming with his name a species unique to this forest”, explained Martin Cheek, principal researcher in the Africa team at Kew.

Uvariopsis dicaprio already threatened with extinction

“If the logging concession had been launched, we would probably have lost this species to timber extraction and slash-and-burn agriculture that usually follows logging concessions,” he added.

But Uvariopsis dicaprio is already considered critically endangered as the forest in which it is found is still threatened by logging, mining and land conversion to plantations.

“As long as a species does not have a scientific name, assessing its risk of extinction is almost impossible, making protection against extinction and researching their properties incredibly difficult,” Kew points out.

More than 200 species of plants and fungi, which range from a killer tobacco plant to an orchid that grows in total darkness, were officially named in 2021 by researchers at Kew (west London) and their partners in the world.

Some of these species are already considered threatened with extinction due to threats to their natural habitat, and three are said to be extinct.

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Source: Le Huffington Post by www.huffingtonpost.fr.

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