World's loneliest plant is a relic of the dinosaur age

World’s loneliest plant is a relic of the dinosaur age

With no surviving mate, this plant is probably the rarest in the world.

Bryan Nelson

Encephalartos woodii

This clone of the last Encephalartos woodii in the world still stands at the Durban Botanic Gardens. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

If you want to know what it might have been like to walk beneath the canopy during the Age of Dinosaurs, make a visit to South Africa’s Durban Botanic Gardens and stroll under this tree. It’s a clone of the rarest and, some might say, loneliest tree in the world, derived from a single specimen found in 1895 that has no surviving mate, reports NPR.

The plant — Encephalartos woodii — is a type of cycad, part of an ancient lineage that was once among the most numerous types of plant on Earth. Forests of them once covered the globe, and dinosaurs walked among their trunks, nibbled on them, and likely found solace in their shade. Though they look like palm trees or large ferns, they’re actually only distantly related to both. Read more.