“Extinct” tree re-discovered by ecology student on Indonesian island

Photo Credit: Manchester Metropolitan University

By Manchester Metropolitan University

A rare tree has been re-discovered in a remote area of Indonesia decades after it was thought to be extinct.

Liam Trethowan, an ecology PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, spotted a cluster of ‘Kalappia’ trees some 200 km from where it was last seen in the 1970s while conducting fieldwork in the Indonesian rain forest as part of a research trip to the Asian nation

The discovery, near the settlements of Abuki and Kolaka on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, raises hope among conservationists that many trees thought to be endangered or extinct may still survive in remote and under explored areas.

Trethowan published his findings in Ecology, the journal of the Ecological Society of America, entitled: An enigmatic genus on an enigmatic island: The re‐discovery of Kalappia on Sulawesi. The Kalappia tree stands 20m tall – though rumoured to reach 40m – and has bright yellow flowers that feature a unique spike, known as spurs, that are used by bees when they feed at the flower.

The bees create vibrations that cause the flower to release pollen, which they transport to other trees to allow them to reproduce.

Read more here: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/story/10635/