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Nesiota elliptica

St Helena olive

About the plant

Nesiota elliptica, the St Helena olive tree, is extinct. It was an island endemic native to St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

  • Extinct

    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
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Stout shrubby tree
  • Last surviving specimen died in 2003
  • DNA is stored in Kew’s DNA bank
  • St Helena is a UK Overseas Territory

Gone but not forgotten

Kew and local conservationists collected cuttings from the last known wild plant before it died in 1994.

In 2003 the last surviving individual in cultivation succumbed to a devastating termite attack and fungal infections.

No living material could be salvaged, but sample of its genetic material (DNA) was collected for storage in Kew’s DNA bank. Fortunately, this precious resource is still available for research.

Nesiota elliptica is the only species in the genus Nesiota, so that the genus also disappeared with the extinction of the species in 2003.


When is a plant extinct?

It is difficult to confirm when a plant has gone extinct as it may be dormant or persisting with low numbers. We use the IUCN Red List system to estimate the probability of extinction and to raise a warning flag before it is too late.

Despite its common name, it is unrelated to the well-known Mediterranean olive
  • Extinct

    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
  • Click on icon to reveal more