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