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Extinction Watch: Just two in the wild

There is just onePennantia Baylisianatree growing in the wild. And there are only two BoisDentelleorElaeocarpusBojeri trees growing in Mauritius earning thespeciesa place on ‘The World’s 100 Most Threatened Species’ list. It is listed as critically endangered byIUCN. It is a photoautotroph, meaning it can transform light to chemical energy.

It’s a flowering tree known for its sprays of long white, bell-shaped flowers. The tree gets its common name: Bois Dentelle or “Lace Wood” from the delicate patterns of the flowers.

The two Bois Dentelle trees are found high in the cloud forest of the island of Mauritius on a hill called the Piton Grand Bassin. The tree has come so close to extinction, not because it is commercially viable, but because it isn’t. The tree’s environment is being overrun by more commercially attractive alien species such as Guava and a small evergreen shrub Litsea monopetala.

The last two of these trees would also have disappeared forever, taking with them the secrets locked in their genetics, if it hadn’t been for intervention. The government and NGOs are working together to save this species from extinction. Some of their offspring are being taken care of by the government of Mauritius in the hope of restoring the population.

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