A tropical tree in Cameroon’s Ebo Forest has been named after actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who campaigned for the preservation of this tropical forest. Scientists from the Kew Gardens botanical garden, near London, announced this on Thursday.
The researchers at Kew Gardens and their partners around the world officially named more than 200 plant and mushroom species last year. Uvariopsis dicaprio has now been added to the species, which range from a tobacco plant to an orchid. The 4-meter high tree with large yellow-green flowers was discovered in the Ebo forest north of the economic capital Douala.
He was named after the actor because in 2020 he sided with the conservation organization Re:wild to prevent more than 68,000 hectares of Ebo Forest from being exploited for lumber. The government of Cameroon reversed the decision in August 2020, to the satisfaction of environmentalists, who had pointed out, among other things, the endangered primates in this jungle.
“We have really appreciated Leo’s support in this campaign to protect Ebo, and we thought it appropriate to honor him in this way, giving his name to a unique species in this forest,” explained Martin Cheek, the chief scientist on the Kew Gardens Squad for Africa.
Uvariopsis dicaprio is already in danger of extinction because the forest in which the tree grows is still threatened with exploitation for logging, mining, and agriculture.