Sunday 19 May
Toromiro tree (Sophora toromiro)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Toromiro tree fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Toromiro tree description
Sophora toromiro is a small tree or shrub that no longer exists in its natural habitat. The bark of this shrub is a reddish brown colour and has vertical fissures (2). The long leaves are made up of small grey-green leaflets, which extend from either side of the leaf stem and are covered on the underside by silky hairs (3). When new, the leaflets are a yellowish to bright green colour and papery in appearance (2). The yellow flowers may be up to 3 centimetres long, there are 10 free stamens per flower and the thin ovary is particularly distinctive being 1.6 centimetres long and densely covered with small white hairs (2).Top
Toromiro tree biology
The toromiro tree was already rare by the time European settlers arrived on Easter Island in the 1700s, and very little is known about this tree's natural ecology (4).Top
Toromiro tree range
Once endemic to Easter Island (Rap Nui) in the South Pacific; possibly the remotest area of inhabited land on the planet (2). The native habitat of the island has been all but destroyed and this tree only persists in cultivation in a handful of botanic gardens and private collections around the world (2).Top
Toromiro tree habitat
The original habitat of Easter Island is thought to have been low scrub and woodland with palm thicket (4).Top
Toromiro tree status
Classified as Extinct in the Wild (EW) by the IUCN Red List 2002 (1).Top
Toromiro tree threats
The native flora of Easter Island has been decimated over the centuries ever since the first settlers arrived on this remote island. Forests were cleared for timber and agriculture and by the time the first European explorers arrived on the island there were no large trees to be seen (4). The introduction of livestock in 1866 was a further blow, as sheep, cattle and rabbits stripped the land of its remaining native plants (4). The last recorded specimen of Sophora toromiro was seen growing on the inner slopes of the Rano Kau volcano crater, but this last tree was cut down for firewood in 1960, and another part of Easter Island's floral heritage was lost (4).Top
Toromiro tree conservation
The toromiro tree persists today only in cultivation. In 1955 - 56 a Norwegian archaeologist and explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, collected seeds from the last remaining Sophora toromiro tree, protected within the volcanic crater on Easter Island (4). It is thought that trees found today in European botanic gardens are all descended from this one specimen (4). Other toromiro trees are known from botanic gardens in Chile and Melbourne and from private collections. The Toromiro Management Group (TMG) is responsible for managing these collections to ensure that this tree is not lost forever. The TMG is a consortium of botanic gardens, geneticists, foresters and archaeologists working together to secure the future of the tree, and ultimately to re-introduce it to Easter Island (5).Top
Find out more
For more information on the toromiro tree see the Toromiro Management Group:
Authenticated (9/5/03) by Gwilym Lewis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- The individual 'leaf-like' parts of a compound leaf.
- In plants, known as the gynoecium, the female reproductive organs of a flower.
- The male reproductive organ of a flower, it is made up of an anther (the pollen-producing organ) and a filament (stalk). (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure).
- IUCN Red List (January, 2003) www.redlist.org
- Mackinder, B & Staniforth, M. (1997) Sophora toromiro. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 14(4): 221 226.
- Lobin, W. & Barthlott, W. (1988) Sophora toromiro: the lost tree of Easter Island. Bot. Gard. Conserv. News, 1 (3): 32 - 34.
- Maunder, M. (1997) Conservation of the extinct toromiro tree. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 14(4): 226-231.
- Toromiro Management Group (January, 2003) http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/conservation/cpdu/Toromiro/toro_t1.html#Introduction
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.