Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Rare Coral Tree Re-discovered In Tanzania
Botantists rediscovered the trees in the southeastern African nation in 2011. The country has offered up another, perhaps more striking, discovery in recent months: a colorful new snake species.
"Both trees are still in critical danger of extinction, given that fewer than 50 individuals of each species are known," Roy Gereau, a botanist with the Missouri Botanical Garden's Africa and Madagascar Department, said in a statement.
The species, Erythrina schliebenii, a type of coral tree, has spectacular red flowers and vicious spines along its trunk. The tree was collected only twice, in the 1930s, from an area later cleared for a cashew plantation.
It was listed as "Extinct" on the IUCN Red List in 1998, but was rediscovered in a small patch of unprotected forest in 2001. When that forest was cleared for a biofuel plantation in 2008, it was again feared the thorny tree had gone extinct.
The other tree species, Karomia gigas, was known from only a single specimen cut down a few years after it was first discovered in coastal Kenya in 1977. Another specimen was discovered in 1993 nearly 400 miles (600 kilometers) away in a tiny fragment of forest in Tanzania, but a more recent search at the same site didn't uncover any of the trees.
(By Our Amazing Planet)