Ten Extremely Rare Seeds on the Brink of Extinction

The Millennium Seed Bank has set out to collect 25 percent of the world’s plant species by 2020—before it is too late

(Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

Shining Nematolepis

Shining Nematolepis (Nematolepis wilsonii)
(Department of Sustainability and Environment)

Name: Shining Nematolepis (Nematolepis wilsonii)
Status: In February 2009, fires destroyed the last known population of shining nematolepis growing in a forest about 60 miles east of Melbourne. The Victorian Conservation Seedbank of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, a partner of the Millennium Seed Bank, is working to bring the Australian species back from extinction, having planted more than 150 plants grown from banked seeds near the original site.
Threats: There is always the danger that the flowering tree will fall victim to more brush fires. But even before the fires, the species had diminished, in part because of sambar deer, introduced to Australia from southern Asia in the 1860s. Apparently, the tree is just the right texture for the deer to rub against to de-velvet their antlers each spring. In the process, the trees are damaged or killed.

Learn more about Shining Nematolepis at the Encyclopedia of Life.


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