The Washington PostThe Washington Post

A flower was named after its own extinction — then it was rediscovered

By Julian Mark

20 Apr 2022 · 4 min read

For decades, the Centinela rainforest in Ecuador was the subject of tropical botanists' dreams. The problem was it didn't exist anymore.

The slice of forest was said to be among the most biodiverse eight square miles recorded in the world, containing 90 species of plants that couldn't be found anywhere else. But, according to the scientists who had intensely studied the rainforest and presented their findings three decades ago, Centinela and all its biological treasures had been cleared and replaced with plantations, along with more than 90% of western Ecuador's rainforests.

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