Friday, 6 January 2012

A Bad Winter for Trees....

Two famous botanic gardens some 8,000km apart are counting the cost of and recovering from this winter’s storms.  Before Christmas the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden was on the receiving end of a vicious Santa Ana wind storm that took down 235 trees and left over 700 requiring extensive restoration pruning.  One of the lucky survivors was a 27m-tall blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), one of the first to be brought to California from Australia and believed to be 140 years old.
Eucalyptus globulus (attribution: Forest & Kim Starr)
This week in Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh has been hit by the worst storm in its history.  In excess of 40 trees are down including some historically important specimens.  One of these is a Chinese Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) collected at the beginning of the 20th century by the plant hunter Dr Joseph Rock - see next post.  

Ailanthus altissima foliage
The Tree of Heaven was introduced from (the then) Peking to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris the 1740s by the French Jesuit Pierre Nicolas Le Chéron d'Incarville (1706-57) for whom the genus Incarvillea is named.

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