Leonardo DiCaprio Gets New Tree Species Named After Him by London Scientists

DiCaprio is having an influential month in the science world and on Netflix, thanks to record-breaker "Don't Look Up."

Leonardo DiCaprio attends the world premiere of "Don't Look Up" at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken environmentalists, and those efforts have now paid off in the form of a recently-discovered tree species being named after him.

According to USA Today, Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, London honored DiCaprio this week by giving the Leo tree in Africa’s Cameroon forest the official name of “Uvariopsis dicaprio.” The BBC reports the Leo tree is “critically endangered.” The plant species is “a small tropical evergreen trees” that is a member of the ylang ylang family.

Dr. Martin Cheek of Kew told the BBC that scientists named the tree after the Oscar-winning actor because “we think he was crucial in helping to stop the logging of the Ebo Forest.” DiCaprio has used his social media platforms to advocate against opening up the Ebo Forest for logging. Per USA Today, the Leo tree is “the first plant new to science to be officially named by Kew scientists in 2022.”

The official naming of DiCaprio’s tree comes at a time when the actor is taking his environmentalist efforts to the mainstream with the release of the Netflix’s hit comedy “Don’t Look Up.” DiCaprio has said that he had been looking for years to make a movie with an environmentalist bent, but it wasn’t until Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” script that the actor found the perfect vehicle. The movie is a wake up call to viewers about the climate crisis, a cause close to DiCaprio’s heart.

“Years ago, scientists predicted the damaging effects of climate change that we’re now experiencing. We must listen to scientists and take the necessary steps to mitigate the crisis,” DiCaprio posted on Twitter earlier this week in reaction to the buzz around “Don’t Look Up,” which is on its way to becoming the most viewed Netflix original movie of all time.

In its first two days on Netflix, “Don’t Look Up” recorded 111,030,000 hours viewed. The movie then recorded 152,290,000 hours streamed between December 27 and January 2, making it the most-watched Netflix original in a single week. Read more about “Don’t Look Up’s” record-breaking Netflix run here.