Newest species of tree

Discovered accidentally by a picnicking family in a remote hilly wooded area of northwestern Madagascar in 2006, but only recognised to be a dramatically new species and genus following DNA analysis a year later, the Tahina palm tree (Tahina spectabilis) was not officially named and described until January 2008. What makes this species’ belated scientific discovery so surprising is its huge size, standing over 18 m (58 ft 6 in) tall, with fan-like leaves 5 m (16 ft) across, and its bizarre, suicidal life cycle. Taking decades to bloom, when it does it produces an explosion of hundreds of nectar-rich flowers towering above its crown, each of which develops into fruit, but in so doing the tree’s nutrients become so depleted that as soon as it has fruited the tree collapses and dies.