Passing Trees

Dead of 3,500-Year Old
Senator Is Still Unsolved

It’s been almost week now since the oldest tree in the U.S. burned to the ground in Florida. Investigators still have no idea what felled the 118-ft. tall bald cypress. But we should all be mourning the passing of a contemporary of Alexander, the Great, in our backyard.
Some would say, though, so what? Rainforests are being burned all over the world at record speeds and they’re much older. The oldest is still standing in Malaysia after 130 million years, which makes the Amazon, at about 50 million years of age, a far too-young-to-die forest.
Perhaps that’s why an increasing number of botanists are saying, screw it, we’re dropping the Latin. Meaning that the official procedure of naming plant species in Latin is getting in the way of quickly identifying new species.
Sadly, more and more are not even lasting that brief time, in ecological terms, that the Senator did. According to researchers, there may be as many as 100,000 plant species that are not yet known to science, waiting to be cataloged. That is, if we can find and describe them in time. Besides, Latin is already a dead tongue.
What botanists fear the most is deforestation, invasive species and climate change, all of which represent immediate threats to up to Continue reading