Kew man keeps hope alive for extinct St Helena Olive

Plant experts still hope to rediscover the St Helena Olive, the unique island tree that was declared lost in 2003 – for a second time. The stubby tree was presumed extinct until island naturalist George Benjamin discovered a single specimen in 1977. That one wild tree died in 1994, and the species became extinct when cultivated […]

St Helena Olive turns to stone in island’s extinction project

Bamboo sculpture on the skyline with graveyard in foreground and quarry rubble in mid-distance

The lost St Helena olive looks set to be recreated in stone, as part of a project to record the world’s extinct species. The Memo Project is being established on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, where the RMS St Helena docked before the ship’s UK voyages were stopped in 2011. It involves creating carvings of […]

George Benjamin: the man who saved the St Helena ebony

George Benjamin had already discovered the last surviving St Helena Olive tree when, in 1980, he spotted an unusual plant on a cliff. It turned out to be one of the island’s “lost” endemic plants: the St Helena (dwarf) ebony, now widely re-established on the island. George died on 30 April 2012. BASIL GEORGE has […]