A new African tree was discovered by forester Edwin Ujor in Cameroon in 1951. It took nearly 70 years for scientists to identify the plant. This year the tree was named Vepris Bali. However, no one has seen the plant since the 1950s.
The forester Ujor has discovered only one tree in the Bali Ngemba Nature Reserve, Bamenda Highlands. This area has lost a lot of forest vegetation. As a result, it resembles grassy plains. The Bali Ngemba Reserve counts at least 38 plant species that are endangered species worldwide.
Vepris Bali is considered extinct. Researchers worked hard to find a tree between 2000 and 2004. Success did not come. Several other studies have not provided a single clue that confirms the existence of the tree.
Moreover, the area in which the only specimen of Vepris bali was seen is used for agricultural purposes.
Flora Species Are Disappearing
According to The Guardian, Martin Cheek, a Kew botanist said: “When I began 30 years ago there was mostly nothing to suggest that new species I was publishing were about to go extinct. Increasingly I’m finding that species I’m describing are endangered or even extinct already.“
“There is no doubt it is a race against time. Until species are officially discovered and given a name, the International Union for Conversation of Nature won’t accept a conservation assessment for them. Then the species has got a better chance of surviving.”
Worldwide, thousands of plant species have disappeared. At the same time, scientists recognize about 2,000 new plants per year, according to the International Plant Names Index (IPNI).
“Many of these new species have potential benefits for humanity, from beautiful pot plants to new medicines or crops, but sadly we are finding that most of these new species are threatened with extinction due to habitat destruction, or are even likely extinct already,” Cheek stated.