Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Uncovering Acers in Vietnam

Posted: March 21, 2017 at 18:28 pm

In early April 2017, Westonbirt’s Dendrologist, Dan Crowley, will be setting out on an exciting documenting expedition to Vietnam, thanks to funding from the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

Together with colleagues from the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden (UBC) and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Dan will be exploring the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, Sapa Province in northern Vietnam, and working to document the Acer species in the area.

Research trip to Vietnam

About Hong Lien Son National Park

Vietnam as a whole is an area of extraordinary biodiversity (though until recently it has been little explored by plants experts), and the Hoang Lien Son range, a southern extension of the Himalayas, is a particular hub of plant diversity. The national park is home to over 2000 plant species, including some incredibly rare taxa! The area is of particular interest to us here at Westonbirt, as plants from the region have been shown to be hardy in UK cultivation, and we have some examples growing in the arboretum.

What are we looking for?

There is a diverse range of Acer in the region, and in recent years new taxa have been discovered. One of Dan’s chief aims on his travels will be to further define these new Acer taxa, and to perhaps make some exciting new discoveries!

What are we hoping to bring back to Westonbirt?

The information Dan gains on his trip will allow us to expand our knowledge of Acer and help us to better care for and curate the examples currently growing at Westonbirt. His work documenting the species in the area will provide a better understanding of what is currently growing in the region, and therefore will help to form conservation objectives.

We have a number of taxa at Westonbirt Arboretum that are found in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. A taxon in the Acer pectinatum complex can currently be found thriving in Silk Wood, and an Acer pictum now growing in the Old Arboretum was collected in the area. This last one is particularly exciting as this taxon was not previously thought to be found in Vietnam; Dan will be working on establishing its exact status!

Watch this space for more information on the trip, as Dan will be sending us updates, highlights and photos from his adventures!