(NEXSTAR) — Leonardo DiCaprio has survived a sinking ship, fought a bear, and captured attention for his efforts to protect the environment. While his acting makes him infamous in entertainment, DiCaprio’s name will now forever be present in the science world, too.
Scientists in the United Kingdom have named a new tree after the actor, whose most recent role was as an astronomer who tries to help save humanity in “Don’t Look Up.”
The tree, officially known as Uvariopsis dicaprio, is found only in the Ebo Forest of Cameroon, according to a publication in the scientific journal, PeerJ. This is the first plant new to science to be officially named by scientists with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this year.
The ‘dicaprio’ tree stands about 13 feet tall, Kew reports, and has large, glossy, bright yellow-green flowers on the trunk. Kew scientists decided to name the new discovery after DiCaprio in honor of the role he played in lobbying efforts to revoke a logging concession for the Ebo Forest in 2020.
DiCaprio shared posts to his Instagram asking his followers to sign a petition urging officials in Cameroon to withdraw plans to log part of the Ebo Forest. In August 2020, government officials backtracked on its decision, overturning a decree that would have allowed for timber extraction across nearly half of the forest, Reuters reports.
According to Kew, the Ebo Forest is one of the largest intact rainforests in Africa’s Cameroon and is home to the Banen people, as well as countless unique plants and species. Kew scientists, as well as scientists from the National Herbarium of Cameroon, have been documenting the wide array of plant species in the Ebo Forest, supporting the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, which has been leading efforts to protect the forest for almost two decades.
While just recently named, the ‘dicaprio’ tree has already been added to the list of species threatened with extinction due to “anthropogenic pressures,” scientists explain in the January 6 publication.
In 2021, Kew scientists and their partners officially named more than 200 plants and fungi, BBC reports.
(Information from the Nexstar Media Wire)