This is reminiscent of
the saddest tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a primitive cycad
collected from Zululand, Encephalartos
woodii, which is extinct in the
wild, one of a handful of specimens of this species. It resembles a
spikey-leaved palm, but it is not a close relative of this advanced
family: it is a dioecious species and, like the lost entwives, the
female of the species has apparently not been preserved. Surely this is
the most solitary organism in the world, growing older, alone, and
fated to have no successors. Nobody knows how long it will live.
Perhaps it is a mercy that, unlike [Tolkien's] ents, it cannot speak.
- Excerpt from
Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on
Earth, by Richard Fortey