Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bois Dentelle, Two Lonely Trees On A Hill
There is a hill called Piton Grand Bassin. This hill sits high in the beautiful cloud forest of Mauritius, an island off the coast of southeastern Africa. This is a very special place.

Why, you ask?

Because there are two bois dentelle trees (Elaeocarpus bojeri) living on this hill. That may not seem all that remarkable in and of itself, except for the fact that these are the only two members of this species living wild anywhere on the entire planet.

These two trees, best known for the gorgeous sprays of white flowers they produce, are the last of their kind.

Unlike some species on the brink of extinction, these trees aren't at risk because humans want what they have, but rather because they have nothing we want. Ignored and unappreciated, these wonderful organisms have fallen victim to invading plants like the more aggressive and commercially desirable guava.
But all hope is not lost. The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, in a last ditch effort to save this vanishing species, has managed to produce several offspring from the seeds of these trees.

Who knows, perhaps in a few decades the cloud forest will be filled with the scent of blooming bois dentelles. Till then we can only wait, wait and hope that these two lonely trees can go on standing just a little while longer.

1 comment: