Is this a big leaf, or a really small person?
We were fascinated to see a news snippet online last week about an Amazonian tree with human-sized leaves being ID’d as a new species.
Almost 40 years after it was first seen, researchers have finally been able to describe and formally give a name to Coccaloba gigantifolia.
First encountered in a river basin of the Brazilian Amazon in 1982, researchers say the tree, which grows to about 15 metres in height and has leaves that can reach 2.5 metres in length, likely has the largest known leaf among dicotyledonous plants — a large group of flowering plants that include sunflowers, hibiscus, tomatoes, and roses.
Based on deforestation and a rapidly changing landscape in the Amazon basin it has been recommended listing the species as endangered.
The moral of the story: if you spot something new or unusual always report it straight away so that we can look into it, just in case it is in fact something never seen before. And be sure to get amazing photos using yourself to show scale if needs be!