A tree last seen nearly two centuries ago and believed to be extinct has been found in an urban area in northeastern Brazil, a team of scientists announced Tuesday.
The environmental group originally said that Ilex sapiiformis, which can reach eight to twelve meters in length, was spotted in Pernambuco state by an expedition that spent six days in the area searching for it. Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.
This species, known as Pernambuco ilex, was first recorded by Western science by Scottish biologist George Gardner in 1838.
Photo by Agence France-Presse
This was the only confirmed sighting until March 22, when the new expedition found four specimens on the bank of a small river in the town of Igarasso, on the outskirts of the state capital, Recife.
“It is incredible that Pernambuco ilexes have been rediscovered in an urban area where nearly six million people live,” said Christina Biggs, Lost Species Manager at Re:wild.
“This tree is a perfect example of the importance of continuing research,” she added.
The team of scientists discovered it by tracing the small white flowers characteristic of this species.
Mission leader Gustavo Martinelli said that the group now hopes to launch a breeding program for this species.
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