rarest tree in the world

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by ToddTheLorax, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. ToddTheLorax

    ToddTheLorax Active Member

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    A student asked me what the rarest tree in the world is. I consider myself somewhat knowledgable about trees, but wasn't sure what to say. I've heard Ginkgo is extinct in the wild, but it's pretty commonly cultivated so surely it's not the rarest in terms of absoute numbers. Then I thought about Wollemi, which i think is just one population in a remote part of Australia, but then again it's been cultivated too. Any ideas?
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  3. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    Hmmmm. A tricky one. Depend on what is meant by rare! Check out the Bristlecone pine, one in particular is the oldest living organism, core samples have dated it to being 4789 years old. That is a really rare tree! Unique.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristlecone_pine

    Or do they mean rare in the wild. Near here grows Sorbus bristoliensis, there are only 300 or so in the wild . It is rarely found in gardens or arboretum. So it too is rare.

    http://www.ukwildflowers.com/Web_pages/sorbus_bristoliensis_bristol_whitebeam.htm

    What about this coconut tree? It is thought to be rare because of the shape!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7358713.stm
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Unfortunately due to relentless wholesale deforestation there will perhaps be a rather high number of species in tropical areas especially where the entire world population conisists of a handful of individuals - or fewer. You can't get rarer than one surviving individual.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Abies beshanzuensis, on Bai Shan Zu in southeastern China, originally 7 specimens found in 1963, of which four were dug up and moved to Beijing Botanic Gardens (and promptly died), now just 3 mature specimens left.
     
  6. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

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    How about Haptanthus hazlettii, an evergreen broadleaf from Honduras? Only seen once in 1980 and never seen again although searched for several times. It has been placed in its own family the Haptanthaceae. The specimen was picked up casually from the ground - so it could be a branch off a tree or perhaps only a shrub epiphytic on a tree.

    Who knows...it certainly cannot be common or widespread..perhaps it is extinct.

    Ciao
    BrianO
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  8. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Elaeocarpus bojeri, on the island of Mauritius. Common name "Bois dentelle". It was down to just two individual trees, but recent attempts to propagate it has resulted in 2 successful seedlings, and there were more success at efforts at grafting. Given that 80 species of plants on the island are already extinct due to rapid deforestation and introduction of invasive alien species, this is one species that is clearly on the blink of obliteration.
     
  9. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    Unfortunatly i cant remember the name of the tree. It was on an imax movie about australia. It lives in some canyon and the area hasnt changed for hundreds of millions of years. Theres only like 40 of them left in the wild. It looks like a pine tree with palmish or cycadish leaves. very very odd looking. Hopefully some one can get a name of it.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wollemia.
     
  11. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    ah thanks
     
  12. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    hardly the rarest tree now (Wollemia), its been propogated like crazy and spread round the world!
     
  13. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    im pretty sure it was an older movie so i definetly dont doubt it ( around 10 yrs old or so). But in the wild it is selected as obsolite, the other plants in the world are now out evolving it. It hasnt become almsot extinct in the wild becsue of deforestation or burning forest for farm land. Its a far older line of tree then what is common around the world as far as i know. Please correct me if im wrong
     
  14. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    quite possibly true, I am no expert on the particular species. :)
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    As a technical point, rarity - as judged by the IUCN - is based only on wild plants, not cultivated. So even some very widely cultivated plants like Metasequoia and Wollemia are still classified as Critically Endangered, as their wild populations are very small and in high danger of extinction.

    There's good reason for this, as in many/most cases, the cultivated plants are very often derived from only a very few (or even just one) of the wild plants, so the genetic diversity in the abundant cultivated plants is still much lower than in the small remaining wild populations.
     
  16. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    noted, thanks. :)
     
  17. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    I learned about that tree just a couple of weeks ago by watching a documentary on Australia. It's a very remote area and the vegetation there has very unique characteristics, some which are prehistoric in nature.
     
  18. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    yup thats the one. And also i jsut remembered something else. It technicaly hasnt been truely propogated. It was only been cloned. They arent even sure when the trees release spore ( luckily on the doc. they managed to get it on camera.) I suggest you try and find it. It was on OLN.
     
  19. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Tissue culture - that's how plants are now made available in a number of countries worldwide. It is still propagation.
     

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