Key Largo Tree Cactus Lost to Rising Sea Levels

(Key Largo, FL) - A gigantic tree cactus has been wiped out in the Florida Keys due to saltwater intrusion and rising tides.

The Key Largo Tree Cactus isn't really a tree and looks like a pipe organ, according to Jennifer Possley with Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

The only known population of the cactus in the U.S. was first discovered in the Keys in 1992. Since then, it has succumbed to a hostile environment, high tides, soil depletion and animal consumption.

Possley says they saved pieces of the species before it disappeared from the Keys.

Possley says, "While there's no great place to replant it in the hostile environment of the Florida Keys, the Key Largo tree cactus still grows on some Caribbean islands, including northern Cuba and parts of the Bahamas."

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