Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The loneliest trees: can science save these threatened species from extinction?

The Mulanje Cedar, Widdringtonia whytei, is the national tree of Malawi.

Mount Mulanje in Malawi is the only natural home of the cypress Widdringtonia whytei. In 2019, only seven mature specimens remained. As a result of conservation efforts, half a million of these trees now thrive. Credit: Morgan Trimble/Alamy

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Nature 609, 24-27 (2022)


Updates & Corrections

  • Correction 16 September 2022: This News Feature incorrectly stated that surviving specimens of the endangered catkin yew Amentotaxus argotaenia in southern China are male. In fact, the male-only population is specifically in Hong Kong.


  1. Botanic Gardens Conservation International & Fauna & Flora International. Securing a Future for the World’s Threatened Trees — A Global Challenge (BGCI/FFI, 2021).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Botanic Gardens Conservation International. State of the World’s Trees (BGCI, 2021).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Gatti, R. C. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 119, e2115329119 (2022).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Wyse, S. V., Dickie, J. B. & Willis, K. J. Nature Plants 4, 848–850 (2018).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Latest on:

Nature Careers


  • Postdoctoral fellow

    Investigations on Alzheimer's disease pathology and the search for novel therapeutic strategies.

    Montréal, Quebec (CA)

    Prof. A. Claudio Cuello

  • Postdoctoral positions at University of Pennsylvania

    Postdoctoral positions funded by NIH are for study of meiosis and spermatogonial stem cells using mouse models. Generous stipend and benefits.

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US)

    University of Pennsylvania - Department of Biomedical Sciences

  • Associate or Senior Editor, Nature Communications (Materials Science)

    Associate or Senior Editor (Materials Science) Organization: Nature Communications Location(s): New York, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Beijing, Hong ...

    New York (US)

    Springer Nature Ltd

  • Associate or Senior Editor, Nature Medicine

    Associate or Senior, Nature Medicine: Infectious Diseases New York, Shanghai or Beijing - Hybrid Working Application Deadline: August 1, 2024   Nat...

    New York City, New York (US)

    Springer Nature Ltd

  • Post-doctoral Fellow

    Funded investigator has an immediate opening for a post-doctoral fellow to develop therapies for genetic diseases.

    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, East Baltimore Campus

    Johns Hopkins University Department of Medicine

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links