16 Rarest Trees in the World (and The Last Known Pictures to Exist)

Explorer holding a map and looking at a tree with a question mark on it wonders about the rarest trees in the world, and the world’s rarest tree.

If you have been wondering what the rarest trees in the world are, then you are in the right place.

There are trees that are only found in one place and others in two. There are those that are extinct while others are at a high risk of the same.

Reading this article will arm you with comprehensive knowledge about the rarest, most exotic, and most endangered trees in the world. It will also help you know the ones that are at high risk of extinction. You will learn how you can make your two cents worth of contribution in protecting them.

Cataloging the Rarest Trees in the World

The rare tree names may not actually be the names of rare trees, but some of them are. Some of the rarest trees in the world are the African Blackwood, Saint Helena Gumwood, Monkey Puzzle,4 and African Baobab Tree. Others are Dragon Blood Tree, Bois Dentelle, and Three Kings Kaikomako.

#1. African Blackwood

It is also called “Mpingo.” It grows between Senegal and Eritrea. Its name comes from the color of its wood, which is a dark, almost purple hue.

It is an endangered species because its lumber is great for musical instruments and fine furniture. The absence of conservation efforts and over-harvesting has made it rare and placed it in the list of trees threatened by extinction.

A large African Blackwood tree trunk with branches and its green leaves.

(Image: Marie-Elisabeth GORGE7)

There you are, you can start by supporting conservation efforts for this tree.

Wide angle shot of a young St Helena Gumwood trees and its green leaves.

(Image: Luke McKernan8)

#2. Saint Helena Gumwood

It is mainly found in the remote islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, including Tristan da Cunha, Ascension, and Saint Helena. It has historically been damaged by invasive species of animals and plants. The East India Company also used it for fuel during its settlements.

#3. Monkey Puzzle

This is one of the most unusual names for a tree. This species is ancient and can be traced back to over 200 million years ago. It is resistant to fire because it evolved near volcanoes.

It is also called the Chilean Pine and is the national tree of the country.

An image of a Monkey Puzzle tree with its leathery, shiny green, triangular with a very sharp point, evergreen.

(Image: aitoff9)

Overgrazing, logging, mining, and a combination of many other human activities have led it to become endangered.

An image of a tall African Baobab tree surrounded by other leafless trees in a forest.

(Image: Amandad10)

#4. African Baobab Tree

Like the Monkey Puzzle, its origin is traceable to over 200 million years ago. It can live up to 5,000 years.

It features in much African folklore as a symbol of life.

Its conservation can greatly contribute to healing the planet by reducing global warming. Its numbers are dwindling at a very high rate in the continent.

#5. Dragon Blood Tree

It is primarily found in Socotra, which is an island in Yemen. Locals use it as an abortifacient and a stimulant. It used to be a popular source of ritual magic and alchemy because of its occult-like properties.

Its greatest threats are tourism, industry, and drying.

A dragon blood tree with a single trunk with multiple branches that forms a mushroom-shape with leaves pointing up to a deep blue sky.

(Image: Andrew Svk11)

A close-up photo of a Bois Dentelle trees and white bark with its yellowish and green leaves

(Image: S Molteno12)

#6. Bois Dentelle

This tree has only two remaining specimens in the world. Also called Lace Wood, it has white flowers that are shaped like bells. It lives in the forest of Mauritius.

Its greatest threat is a commercial application.

#7. Three Kings Kaikomako

This is the rarest tree in the world. It is also known as Pennantia baylisiana.

There is only one species in the world, and it is found on the Three Kings Islands in New Zealand.

A close-up photo of a three kings kaikomako branch with green glossy curly leaves and green berries.

(Image: Mike Dickison13)

World’s Rarest Tree: Three Kings Kaikomoko

The world’s rarest tree is Pennantia baylisiana, also called Three Kings Kaikomako. It was near extinction because the only remaining specimen was female and could not reproduce. However, botanists found viable fruits and planted them within botanical gardens around the world to save it.

Close-up photo of round, yellow greenish leaves.

(Image: Steve Attwood14)

The only remaining wild Three Kings Kaikomako is found in the northern part of the Great Island.

Rare Tree Names

There are very unusual and rare tree names in the world. Some are intriguing, others iconic, and others just downright strange.

Here is a list of the names and where the trees are found;

  • Aspen Tree in the United States.
  • Brazil Nut in Bolivia.
  • Yoshino Cherry in Japan.
  • Areca Palm Tree in India.
  • Traveller’s Tree in Madagascar.
  • Silver Birch in Finland.
  • Kauri Tree in New Zealand.
  • Baobab Tree in Southern Africa.
  • Dragon Blood Tree in Socotra.

Rarest Trees in North America

There are many rare trees in North America that you probably don’t know about. One is found in California and is called General Sherman. Also known as the Giant Sequoia, it is the biggest living tree (by volume) in all the Earth.

Photo of a General Sherman Tree with its brown bark and a hollow on its base situated in Sequoia National Park.

(Image: Domenico Convertini15)

It is estimated to be over 2,200 years old and weighs an estimated 747 airplanes.

There is also the Seven Sisters, otherwise known as the Live Oak. Its name is thought to originate from the woman who named it and was thought to have had seven sisters. It is fairly large and has a circumference of 467 inches.

Another rare tree in North America is the Osage Orange found in Virginia. It is much younger than the other two and is estimated to be about 200 years old. It has a height of 60 feet and a girth of 349 inches.

Some tree and plant experts call it the hedge or horse apple, or monkey ball because it produces spherical bumpy fruit with white latex that is sticky.

The Bennet Tree in California,6 also known as the Western Jupiter is another important rare tree in North America that you should know. It is estimated to be over 3,000 years old and is actually the fourth-longest living tree on earth.

Also, there is the Wili Wili Coralbean Tree in Hawaii. It is about 40 feet tall and 187 inches wide. It is native to the region. Its flowers can produce several colors, including white, green, salmon, and yellow.

It is deciduous and sheds its leaves in summer. Some years ago, it was endangered because invasive gall wasps attacked it, but Hawaiian officials identified another wasp that stopped the first.

Quinault Lake (Western Redcedar) is a rare tree found in Washington. It was an important tree for earlier Native Americans such that a section of them called themselves “people of the redcedar.”

It provides sails, diapers, and blankets. It is also important for baskets, totems, canoes, clothing, and even shelter. It is a third of the size of General Sherman, measuring 159 feet in height and 761 inches in circumference.

The Valley Oak in California is also a rare tree in North America. It is loved by woodpeckers. It produces acorns and birds drill holes in the bark to create hiding places for hiding food.

You should also know the Limber Pine, which is found in Utah. It looks sturdy but has tough flexible twigs. Americans used it in the 18th and 19th centuries as railroad ties and mine props.

A wide photo of a small leafy Limber Pine tree in the middle of a grass land.

(Image: Famartin16)

They have a long life and can live up to 2 millennia. They can grow up to 62 feet tall with a circumference of 275 inches.

The Honey Mesquite in Texas produces a yellow seed pod that is eaten by both human beings and animals. Although it is common in Texas, it is rare in the world and can be considered as a national treasure.

It can grow to be 56 feet tall with a circumference of 183 inches.

Bluegum Eucalyptus found in California is another rare tree in North America that you should know about. It has a height of 141 feet and a circumference of 49 feet.

Another Californian rare tree is the California Sycamore. It is rare in the world but common in California. It has a height of 94 feet and a width of 54 feet.

Its age is unknown.

Photo of a tall Common Bald Cypress tree with its brown bark and orange leaves near a lake.

(Image: 90126317)

The last rare tree in North America that you should know is the Common Baldcypress found in Louisiana. It measures 96 feet high and 56 feet wide. It is the largest of its species.

Rarest Trees in California

The rarest trees in California are;3

  • California Sycamore
  • Bluegum Eucalyptus
  • Valley Oak
  • “Bennet” Western Jupiter
  • “General Sherman” Giant Sequoia

Unique Trees in the World

There are many trees in the world, but there are also unique ones. They are unique because of one or more reasons.

For example, if they are found only in one place on the entire planet. They can also be unique because they have broken a record in terms of size or age. If it is the only of its species remaining in the world, then it is unique.

Some of these trees include;

#8. Areca Palm Tree

It is found in India. It is beautiful and charming and is used to make fragrant potions and spices.

It also blackens teeth.

A close-up photo of an Areca palm tree top with yellow green leaves pointing upwards.

(Image: David J. Stang18)

A photo of a deadvlei tree planted in the middle of a desert.

(Image: HeidiNydegger19)

#9. DeadVlei Trees

They are only found in Namibia. They look like skeletons. In the past, they used to really bloom. But scientists established that over 900 years ago, they began to dry up.

Currently, they are over 1,000 years old.

#10. Yoshino Cherry

They are found in Japan. They are also called sakura or Cherry Blossoms.

They are a symbol of springtime in the country.

Close up image of a Yoshino Cherry tree branches with white flowers.

(Image: Couleur20)

A close up image of a General Sherman tree with its huge brown bark situated in Sequoia National Park.

(Image: Domenico Convertini21)

#11. General Sherman

You already know this tree from the rarest trees in North America and the rarest trees in California. One thing to add is that it is named after General William Tecumseh Sherman, who fought in the American Civil War.

#12. Silver Birch Trees

They are found in Finland. There are three species of these trees. They include the Lapland grow dwarf, downy, and silver birches.

A group of silver birch trees in the forest with white gray trunks.

(Image: MemoryCatcher22)

Far photo of a group of tall trees with bright yellow leaves on top of a mountain.

(Image: J Zapell23)

#13. Pando Tree

It is found in Utah. Its name is Latin meaning “I spread.” Although it is a single tree, it is an entire colony of aspen trees.

Some tree enthusiasts call it the trembling giant. It is the oldest living organism on Earth.

#14. Kauri Tree

It is found in New Zealand. Scientists say that it is among the mightiest trees in the world. It grows up to a height of 50 meters with a girth of 16 meters.

Kauri forests are very ancient. The Tane Mahita (God of the Forest) is the largest.

A view from the ground of a Kauri tree with huge white-gray trunk and green leaves.

(Image: Simon24)

Low angle image of a group of Ginkgo trees with yellow leaves.

(Image: morn_japan25)

#15. Ginkgo Tree

It is found in China. It is estimated to be over 1,400 years old.

It is located in the Zhongnan Mountains within the walls of the Guanyin Buddhist Temple in China. It has green leaves that fall in heaps every autumn. It attracts many tourists to the area.

#16. Baobab Tree

You also know this tree from the rarest trees in the world. You can find it in southern Africa, specifically in Limpopo in South Africa and in Zimbabwe.

They have large trunks that soak moisture during the rainy season. When their flowers bloom, they bring out the sour milk scent. This attracts bush babies and bats to drink the copious nectar.

An image of a tall Baobab tree with its leafless branches.

(Image: Quinn Norton26)

Dragon Blood Tree

As you know from before, it is found in Socotra, Yemen. It intercepts moisture from the air and channels it towards its root.

Wide photo of two Dragon Trees in the middle of a mountainous desert.

(Image: Rod Waddington27)

It has medicinal and economic importance though its future survival is uncertain due to climate change.1

Perhaps there is something you can do to help.

Beautiful Exotic Trees

There are many beautiful and exotic trees in the world. Here is a list of some of them;

  • Dragon Tree, found in the Canary Islands. It is estimated to be between 650 and 1,500 years old. Its canopy of leaves is umbrella-shaped and dense.
  • Wollemi Pine, found in Australia. It was previously known through old fossils that were estimated to be over 120 million years old. It was almost extinct, but Australia improved its conservation efforts and it now grows all over the country.
  • Silk Cotton Trees of Ta Prohm are found in Cambodia. Its roots are made of silk cotton. The places that it grows have a romantic and eerie feel.
  • Tule Tree of Oaxaca found in Mexico. It is a gigantic, knotted, and gnarly cypress. It is estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.
  • General Sherman, found in California. Although its largest branch fell off in 2006, this did not affect its status as the largest tree in the world.
  • Baobab Tree, found in Madagascar. It is estimated to be the oldest life in Africa. It is leafless for the most part of a year.
  • Wawona “Drive Through” Tree, found in Yosemite National Park in California. An estimated two-ton load of snow killed it in 1969. It was estimated to be over 2,300 years old by then.
  • Chapel Oak of Allouville-Bellefosse Tree, found in France. It is the oldest tree in the country and people try to protect it. However, it may not last long because the crown seems to be getting smaller each year.
  • Tree of Life, found in Bahrain. It is estimated to be over 400 years old and it stands alone in a barren desert in the country. Locals believe that its location is the Biblical Garden of Eden and people flock to see it.
  • Pirangi Cashew Tree, found in Brazil. It is the largest cashew tree in the world as it is on average 80 times bigger. It is estimated to be over 117 years old.
  • Axel Erlandson’s Circus Tree, found in Santa Cruz in California. It is named after Axel Erlandson, who opened a horticultural attraction in 1947 in the area.

Exotic Pine Trees

There are two main exotic pine trees in the world.

The first one is the Torrey Pine (Pine torreyana).2 It is the rarest pine tree in the US and one of the rarest trees in the world. It is an endangered species and grows on the San Diego coast.

Wide angle photo a Torrey Pine tree with its spiky leaves and a rocky mountain with trees on the background

(Image: Osbornb28)

It also grows in the Channel Islands.

The other main exotic pine tree is the sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana). It is also called sugar cone pine.

It is not just the most massive pine tree in the world. It is also the tallest. Among all conifers, it has the longest cone.

Oldest Tree in the World: Sweden

The oldest recorded tree in the world is in Dalarna Province in Sweden. It is spruce and is estimated to be over 9,550 years old.

It is a tenacious survivor and has endured growing among small bushes and erect trees. Climate change has also not killed it.

Recently Extinct Trees (Extinct in the Wild Trees)

There are many recently extinct trees. The following list gives you 10 of the most fascinating recently extinct trees.

  • 1. Sigilaria
  • 2. Lepidodendron
  • 3. Araucarioxylon arizonicum
  • 4. Araucaria mirabilis
  • 5. Saint Helena Olive
  • 6. Wood’s Cycad
  • 7. Franklinia
  • 8. Cyanea superba
  • 9. Kokia cookie
  • 10. Sephora toromiro

Extinct Trees in America

There are many extinct trees in America. Scientists recently discovered that there are over 65 extinct plants, consisting of 37 perennial herbs, 8 shrubs, 5 small trees, and 15 annual herbs that have not been reported.5

The table below gives you the common and taxonomic names of some of the recently discovered extinct plants in America.

Common NameTaxonomic Name
Caddo false foxgloveAgalinis caddoensis
Franciscan manzanitaArctostaphylos franciscana
Sandbar milkvetchAstragalus endopterus
Robbins’ milkvetchAstragalus robinsii var. robinsii
Hairy wood-mintBlephilia hirsuta var. glabrata
N/ABoechera fructicosa
Chenopod brickellbushBrickellia chenopodina
Point Reyes paintbrushCastilleja leschkeana
Palo Alto thistleCirsium praeteriens
Hoovers cryptanthaCryptantha hoover

Now that you have all this information. What will you do to help in protecting the rarest trees in the world?

Frequently Asked Questions About Rarest Trees in the World

What Is the Rarest Tree in the World?

Pennantia baylisiana is the known rarest tree species on Earth.

What Is the Oldest Tree in the World?

Methuselah, but this is under contention after a National Geographic scientist, Craig Welch, discovered the Gran Abuelo in Chile, which could ultimately be over 500 years older than Methuselah.

Are There Rare Trees in America?

Yes. There are very many rare trees in America. But the rarest is the Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia), which was discovered in 1835 by Hardy Bryan Croom.

Is the Oldest Tree in the World Methuselah?

Methuselah in eastern California has long been considered as not just the oldest tree, but also the oldest living thing in the world. Data shows that it is 4,853 years old. However, Craig Welch of National Geographic recently reported that the oldest tree may be a Patagonian cypress called Alerce Milenario or Gran Abuelo in Chile. He reported that it could be over 500 years older than Methuselah. Scientist Jonathan Barichivich is yet to publish his findings of estimating Gran Abuelo’s age using tree-ring data.

Which Is the Oldest Tree in America?

Methuselah, found in eastern California.

What Is the Rate of Tree Extinction?

Scientists estimate that the rate of extinction is one species per every one million per year. Over a third of tree species in the world are at risk of extinction. 440 tree species have less than 50 individuals.

Is the American Chestnut Tree Extinct?

No. It was almost wiped out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the ink disease and chestnut blight respectively. However, about 100 remain today.

What Is the Rarest Leaf in the World?

The rarest leaf in the world belongs to Pennantia baylisiana, which is the known rarest tree species on Earth.


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3Government of Carlifornia. (2022). California Threatened and Endangered Plant Profiles. California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from <https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Plants/Endangered>

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