Hyophorbe amaricaulis (also known as the "loneliest palm") is a species of palm tree of the order Arecales, family Arecaceae, subfamily Arecoideae, tribe Chamaedoreeae. It is found exclusively on the island of Mauritius, and only a single surviving specimen has been documented in the Curepipe Botanic Gardens in Curepipe. Thus, it is the most gravely threatened species of any kingdom.
In the 1700s, this palm species was described from specimens taken from the mountain Pieter Both, where it seems to have been widespread at the time.
Currently, only the single specimen exists in Curepipe Botanic Gardens, and it is not known if this specimen was planted here, or was a survivor from the area's wild population that became included when the gardens were established.
The palm is about 12 meters high with a relatively thin gray trunk with a waxy crown shank.
It is reported to have white to cream-colored flowers on an inflorescence with three-ordered branching. Its fruits are 3.8 cm long and a dull red colour, but years and years of efforts have not resulted in fertile offspring.
- Ian Parker, "Digging for Dodos", The New Yorker, January 22, 2007, pp. 64–73.
- This article is based in part on the article in the German Wikipedia.
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