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The world's loneliest plant

Posted on Thursday, 12 May, 2011 | Comment icon 21 comments | News tip by: Bracket

Image credit: CC 3.0 Michael Wild

In 1895 John Medley Wood came across an unusual tree in Africa - the rare and ancient E. woodii.

Wood sent a stems of the tree back to London where it stayed for the next 98 years. Today this tree is thought to be the last of its kind, once a staple of forests worldwide when dinosaurs ruled the planet today it is a relic outside of its time. While clones of the plant have been made it cannot properly reproduce as no female variety of it is known to exist anywhere in the world.

"Named E. woodii, in Dr Wood's honor, it is a cycad."

  View: Full article |  Source: NPR

  Discuss: View comments (21)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by monkipuzzle on 13 May, 2011, 1:19
It's just a tree...
Comment icon #13 Posted by 747400 on 13 May, 2011, 8:34
And without them, how far would humanity have got?
Comment icon #14 Posted by monkipuzzle on 13 May, 2011, 9:16
As far as God would allow us too...
Comment icon #15 Posted by Bracket on 13 May, 2011, 17:58
Then why would God aloow stuff like this (not just trees but animals too) to happen?
Comment icon #16 Posted by Verneph on 13 May, 2011, 18:05
"God" only allowed us to by creating the trees first to give us oxygen so we can, you know, breathe. Almost all religious texts (I don't know which ones you adhere to) say that God created everything, including plants and animals, before humans. I'm pretty sure if a God exists It cares a bit more about its creations than that. Show some respect for another form of life, especially one far older than any of us.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Sakari on 13 May, 2011, 22:30
Being this is the only tree of its kind left in the world, and it is a male tree and needs a female to fertilise....I think it's name is rather insulting.... E. woodii Poor thing has had a woodii forever, and nothing to do with it......
Comment icon #18 Posted by Sundew on 14 May, 2011, 1:47
I have heard that the reason only a single male plant was found in the wild what that this plant is possibly a natural hybrid with E. natalensis and another Encephalartos species not identified. If so it is possible that there never was a female plant. There is hope that the plant can be tissue cultured and mass produced, however the clones would all be male. But in a few rare cases some cycads have reversed sex under extreme stress and with enough tissue cultured material it would be worth the risk to try this method to create a female. Or perhaps chemical manipulation in vitro could accompli... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Habitat on 14 May, 2011, 8:38 Maybe you'd like this one better.........
Comment icon #20 Posted by monkipuzzle on 14 May, 2011, 19:42
LOL. Araucaria is my favorite, actually. How'd ya know *kidding. God gave us the right to dominate over all other life. That's enough for me. The loss of one tree, which some think is the last of its kind, is not going to destroy us. Our sins will...
Comment icon #21 Posted by Habitat on 15 May, 2011, 0:30
In the Sahara somewhere is a tree (Lebanese Cedar) which is the only plant for 300 miles, supposedly. It is an ancient tree which has managed to tap into a subterranean aquifer in the gorge in which it stands, the riverbed long since dried up nearby. That truly is a lonely tree, God knows how many centuries since a bird alighted in it's branches.

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