New tree species from Ecuador named in honour of Sir David Attenborough

Zarina Holmes

Last updated 7/10/2009 3:44:43 PM

A new species of tree found only in Ecuador is named after natural historian and broadcasting icon, Sir David Attenborough.

Blakea attenboroughii is a beautiful tree with magnificent bright blue flowers that has now been formally described and published in the Proceedings of the Californian Academy of Science.

The discovery was made in November 2007 when American botanist, Lou Jost, who works with the World Land Trust's Ecuadorian project partners, Fundación EcoMinga, was taking a WLT staff member and a representative from their sponsor, Puro Coffee, to visit the newly created nature reserve at Cerro Candelaria in Ecuador.

John Burton, the CEO of the World Land Trust commented, "Ever since the scientific naming of species commenced it has been used to honour great contributions to biology, and everyone involved was agreed that Sir David's contribution to scientific knowledge of animal and plant life are second to none.”

Sir David Attenborough has been supporting the foundation and being a patron since 2004, when he launched a campaign to raise funds for the purchase of a rainforest reserve in Ecuador.

The reserve areas purchased by local Ecuadorian conservation groups, with funding from the World Land Trust, are proving to be a real treasure trove of biodiversity with many new species of orchid and other wildlife being discovered.