The rediscovery of a Sri Lankan legume tree (Crudia zeylanica) in 2019 was rare good news of a species still surviving despite being declared extinct years earlier. But that tree is now threatened by a road project, prompting an outcry from conservationists, the general public, and even Buddhist monks, who anointed it in a ritual meant to discourage anyone from cutting it down. There’s still hope for the species, however, with botanists finding C. zeylanica specimens in six other locations and managing to germinate its seeds in a lab. The botanist responsible for the tree’s rediscovery, Himesh Dilruwan Jayasinghe, also rediscovered two other plant species declared extinct in Sri Lanka’s 2012 red list; an update to the red list is due in the next few weeks. COLOMBO — Scientists have been writing obituaries for the Sri Lankan legume tree since 1982, when the last known specimen of this endemic plant died. In 2006 Sri Lanka declared the species, Crudia zeylanica , officially extinct in that year’s edition of the national red list of threatened species, and emphasized it again in the latest edition, in 2012 . Then, in 2019, C. zeylanica rose from the dead : a group of […]

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