Jan 6, 2022: According to a report by AFP, a new tree species has been named after actor Leonardo DiCaprio as a tribute to the Hollywood star’s anti-logging campaigning, London’s Royal Botanic Gardens announced Thursday.
Found in Cameroon’s Ebo forest, the evergreen with large yellowish-green flowers was the first new species to be officially named in 2022 by botanists from the renowned gardens in the London borough of Kew.
The tree’s scientific name, Uvariopsis dicaprio, recognises the 47-year-old US actor’s work to prevent logging in the endangered forest, where the only known specimen of the tree was found growing.
The Hollywood A-lister campaigned on social media after Cameroon granted permission for logging in the pristine wildlife reserve in 2020.
The concession was cancelled months later by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, “surely partly due to his support”, the scientists wrote in PeerJ online journal, referring to DiCaprio.
It is not unusual for species to be named after celebrities, already, a Caribbean crustacean parasite is named after reggae star Bob Marley, an Australian horse fly after singer Beyonce and a frog after Prince Charles.
The Uvariopsis dicaprio has been provisionally listed as critically endangered. The sole known specimen, which measures four metres high and has only male flowers, was discovered next to a footpath, the scientists said.
Best known for the 1997 film “Titanic”, DiCaprio recently appeared as an astronomer in the Netflix comedy “Don’t Look Up” about scientists trying to draw the world’s attention to a comet heading towards Earth.
Leonardo DiCaprio has himself nevertheless been criticised for flying in a private jet to pick up an environmental award in 2016.
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