Endangered plants are often less prioritized over endangered animals. But there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be looked after with the same level of care and vigilance. Below highlights some of the world’s most beautiful and eccentric trees that are on the brink of extinction.
Hailing from equatorial Africa, Australia and India, these majestic towers are visually inspiring for anyone who gets the rare opportunity to see them up close. For most of the year, the baobab does not produce leaves. The reason their trunks are so thick is due to the amount of water stored inside. During its natural cycle, the tree produces monkey fruit, which is actually edible. Kids and nostalgia fanatics know the tree from the Little Prince. Droughts, elephants and black fungus are the top contributors to the baobab’s endangerment.
This umbrella-like tree originates from the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra. It produces dark red sap that resembles blood (creepy). The tree is extremely isolated in the local region, though many have attempted to grow it on their own in other parts of the world. Hoping to save the tree from going extinct, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched several programs to protect it from tourists and black market collectors. Some forms of the dragon tree are poisonous for pets.
The monkey puzzle tree looks like the black sheep of the pine family. Genetically, it does not share any similar DNA with the group. These trees have been around long before man appeared on Earth. Their design also stayed the same for the majority of their existence. It is currently illegal to log the mysterious trees. Despite the ban, the plants still struggle to survive in their natural surroundings.
“There are severe threats to Araucaria araucana in the north of its range in Argentina, due to the establishment of plantations of exotic tree species within these native stands,” according to the monkey puzzle tree’s IUCN Red List entry. “In Chile, the main threat is anthropogenic fires: large areas in several national parks have been destroyed within the last 25 years.”
Banyan trees are known for their strange growing habits. The plant’s roots spring up from the ground, which form new trunks and eventually add support for the tree. Furthermore, the roots sometimes wrap themselves around the main trunk. Interestingly, it grows figs and attracts animals around its ecosystem, like birds and monkeys. Most of the trees can be found in India, but you can also spot them around South East Asia.
Candelabra trees appear to be a cross between a palm tree and a baobab. But actually, its closest relative is the monkey tree. The two parted ways when the Earth was still a single continent. Fast forward to today, the candelabra is mostly found in southern Brazil. At the moment, only three percent of the species are thriving in a 90,000 square-mile natural range. The main culprit for the rapid disappearance of the plant is logging.