Skip to content

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.

No, give me more info

Trochetiopsis ebenus

St Helena ebony

About the plant

Trochetiopsis ebenus is endemic to St Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

  • Critically endangered

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Banked in the MSB
    Seeds from this plant have been banked in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst in Sussex
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Dark maroon stamen
  • Name ebony is derived from the hard, black wood
  • Cut down for its hard wood
  • Specimens today are low bushes
  • Over-grazed by goats
  • St Helena is a UK Overseas Territory

Clinging on

Trochetiopsis ebenus was believed to be extinct for over 100 years, until two plants were spotted. They clung to a cliff face near the Asses Ears where they were out of reach of grazing animals.

A local guide called Charles Benjamin retrieved cuttings from one of these last wild specimens in 1980. Using a makeshift harness, he carried a stem back up the mountain between his teeth.

Many thousands of St Helena ebony plants have been propagated from these two survivors, and replanted on the island.

Its hard black wood, which explains the tree’s common name, is so dense that it sinks in water
  • Critically endangered

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Banked in the MSB
    Seeds from this plant have been banked in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst in Sussex
  • Click on icon to reveal more