A newly discovered and extremely rare tropical tree has been named after Oscar-winning actor and one of most passionate eco-activists in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio.
The plant, officially called Uvariopsis dicaprio from now on, is a small evergreen tree in the ylang-ylang family with yellow flowers growing from its trunk.
DiCaprio’s name was awarded to it by UK scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew through a publication in the PeerJ magazine on Thursday.
The extremely threatened plant only grows in the Ebo Forest of Cameroon, which remains one the largest relatively untouched rainforests in Central Africa, hosting a range of absolutely unique flora and fauna.
This tropical tree from the Ebo Forest in Cameroon belongs to the ylang-ylang family. Scientists chose to name the tree ‘Uvariopsis dicaprio’ in honour of @LeoDiCaprio after he played an important part protecting the Ebo Forest (1/2) pic.twitter.com/w2zpxLiKSq— Kew Gardens (@kewgardens) January 7, 2022
The scientists and conservationists panicked when the Cameroonian authorities allowed industrial logging in Ebo Forest in 2020.
They’ve written an open letter to the government in Yaounde, warning that tree-cutting in the forest would put its unique biodiversity, including endangered gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, under threat.
And the issue was picked up by DiCaprio, who promoted the letter to millions of his followers on social media and joined calls to revoke logging plans in the Ebo Forest.
Cameroon’s #EboForest is home to gorillas & chimpanzees. Researchers have asked the Cameroonian Govt. to suspend logging plans & work with local communities to develop an inclusive land-use plan. Let’s #ProtectEboForest: https://t.co/t3BTgoeIDa— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) May 5, 2020
The campaign was able to achieve its goal, with Cameroonian President Paul Biya eventually backtracking on his decision.
DiCaprio “was crucial in helping to stop the logging of the Ebo Forest,” Dr. Martin Cheek of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew told the BBC.
The 47-year-old actor has been making headlines recently for his role in the satirical move ‘Don’t Look Up’. He plays a scientist trying to save Earth from an incoming comet, but the world refuses to heed to his warnings.