Leonardo DiCaprio, one of Hollywood's most outspoken environmentalists, has been honored with a rare tree species named after him.
Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, London gave a "critically endangered" evergreen tree, found in a Cameroonian forest, the official moniker of "Uvariopsis dicaprio." It's the first plant species to be named as new to science this 2022.
The tree stands at around 13 feet tall and can be identified by its distinctive, vibrant yellow-green flowers that grow from its trunk. It's closely related to the ylang-ylang tree, which is native to the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Australia.
Asked about why the tree was named after the Oscar-winning actor, Dr. Martin Cheek said it was because the scientists thought "he was crucial in helping stop the logging of the Ebo Forest."
International experts have written letters to the government to save the animal and plant species at risk of extinction in the forest. DiCaprio tweeted about the issue on social media in August 2020 to his millions of followers, raising awareness about it. The government later revoked logging concession in the Ebo Forest.
"Had the logging concession gone ahead, we would have likely lost this species to timber extraction and slash and burn agriculture that usually follows logging concessions," Cheek added.
Recently, DiCaprio took his environmental efforts and climate change advocacy to the mainstream with the Netflix hit Don't Look Up.