St. Helena Ebony Tree, Trochetiopsis melanoxylon

Extinct 1790 CESt. Helena

Trochetiopsis melanoxylon was endemic to St. Helena, a volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean. The plant was first collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1771, and has never been seen again, the first, of many, extinctions that took place on the island. The Island's native vegetation was first threatened by the introduction of goats by the Portuguese in 1502; by 1588, mile-long flocks of goats were documented. The ecology was further degraded by the first permanent settlement of the English East India Company in 1659; whatever plants that had survived the grazing of the goats, were then felled for fire and timber.

Lambdon, Phil, and Quentin Cronk. “Extinction Dynamics Under Extreme Conservation Threat: The Flora of St Helena.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 8, 2020. Crossref, doi:10.3389/fevo.2020.00041.

St. Helena: a physical, historical, and topographical description of the island. The botanical plates from original drawings by Mrs. J. C. Melliss. public domain via wikimedia commons.