Archive for April, 2017

May Tree of the Month

Friday, April 28th, 2017

What is tree of the month?


Sorbus dunnii

Why is it tree of the month?

One of the most spectacular whitebeams in foliage, with leaves that have distinctly white (hence the name) undersides and near gold veins. They flush a bronzey red on the upper surface, before quickly turning green. Native to parts of China, it is extremely rare in cultivation, with plants that are growing elsewhere in cultivation all deriving from our oldest tree here at Westonbirt.

This itself is a grafted plant that was also propagated from a grafted plant that derived from the introduction of the species some 35 years ago. Are you still with us?!

Where can I find it?
Here at Westonbirt, we have 3 plants, all in Silk Wood. One is on Waste Drive (tree no. 45.1024), one on Barn Walk (tree no. 42.0634) and another on Willesley Drive (tree no. 30.0703). Find the plant using the Westonbirt map.

April Tree of the Month

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

What is tree of the month?

Amelanchier asiatica

Tree of the month

Why is it tree of the month

One of the joys of spring is Amelanchier asiatica, a small tree that flowers beautifully. It is native to parts of China, Korea and Japan. Our sole specimen was grown from seed collected in the latter and was planted here in 1995.

Where can I find it?

You can find it on Main Drive in the Old Arboretum. Tree #16.0453. Find the plant using the Westonbirt map.

April Fool

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Alright, we confess… there is no magnolia with multi-coloured leaves here at Westonbirt. But we hope you all enjoyed our April Fool! Well-spotted to everyone who figured it out!

While it may not have multi-coloured leaves, the Magnolia maudiae (or the smiling monkey tree, as it is sometimes referred to) is a very real tree, and can be found growing with many of our other stunning magnolias in Savill Glade. You’ll recognise it from its beautiful fragrant ivory flowers (which will appear in early April) and its silvery green leaves.

Find out more about the smiling monkey tree and the other magnificent magnolias we have here at Westonbirt.

Rare Magnolia maudiae subsp, aprilis-stultus discovered at Westonbirt Arboretum

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

At Westonbirt Arboretum we care for many rare and remarkable trees, and we are thrilled to announce that early this morning one of our Magnolia maudiae was discovered to be the incredibly rare Magnolia maudiae subsp. aprilis-stultus. This subspecies is distinctive because once it reaches maturity, for a few weeks in early spring its leaves lose their green colouring, and take on a variety of vibrant colours.
Magnolia maudiae is normally an evergreen tree, however, earlier this year the beautiful silver green leaves on one of our magnolias began to lose their green colour, and an astonishing variety of reds, pinks, purples, oranges and even blues appeared. This morning our collections team confirmed that what we had initially thought to be a normal Magnolia maudiae, was in fact a rare subspecies, Magnolia maudiae subsp. aprilis-stultus.
There are only a few hundred examples of this tree known to grow across the globe, the vast majority of which are to be found in China; so naturally we are very excited to have one growing here at Westonbirt!
Due to the rarity of this tree, and the fact that the vibrant colours show for a very short space of time, there are very few opportunities to study the extraordinary leaves. We will take this opportunity to learn as much as we can about the tree and to share our findings with our visitors.
The tree has now been cordoned off for study by our collections team, but visitors will soon be able to see it for themselves and discover more about this amazing magnolia. More information will be released shortly, so watch this space for further details!