To help you identify certain trees, we’ve created this tree walk beginning at the lime tree avenue (01)at St Clements entrance or main entrance, and travelling anticlockwise around the park. If you’re nifty with your phone, open this page twice into two separate tabs. Zoom into one tab to follow the map, and a second for tree descriptions further down this page. Enjoy!
RED ‘most interesting’ on the map and discussed below
BLUE ‘unusual and interesting’ trees (60-96) at end.
Headington Hill Park has been maintained as public parkland space and arboretum since 1953, with many trees from the original, privately-owned collection still flourishing. From 1,000 trees or more, we’ve compiled a walk highlighting some of the most interesting, old and rare species. The plan shows 51 special trees, from which we’ve designed a super-special shortlist, shown in red. Look out for them as you make your way around.
- Lime tree avenue (Tilia × europaea). This avenue of 20 limes was planted along the footpath that leads towards St Clement’s Church (completed 1829) to align with the avenue of limes within the churchyard itself. The church contains a memorial to the James Morrells, Snr and Jnr, who, along with other family members, are buried in the churchyard.
- London plane (Platanus × hispanica). A large, fine specimen, hybrid between P. orientalis and P. occidentalis. First planted in the UK around 1680. The London plane is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and root compaction, and for this reason is a popular urban roadside species. It is one of the most efficient trees at removing small particulate pollutants.
- Chilian pine or monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). The first tree planted by the Friends in December 2017. It is endangered in its native Chile, but now widely grown as an ornamental tree and it was very popular in Victorian times. The leaves are thick, with very sharp edges and tips, and they have a lifespan of over 20 years. The cones produce nuts. This pine was known to exist 500 million years ago, but was first discovered by Europeans in the 1780s. It is said that in 1850 the barrister Charles Austin on being shown one for the first time exclaimed: ‘It would puzzle a monkey to climb that’, hence the name.
- Northern red oak (Quercus rubra). This is a good size specimen, which displays rich red autumn colour. Its bark features ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the centre. A few other oaks have bark with this kind of appearance in the upper tree, but the American Red Oak is the only one with the striping all the way down the trunk. Unlike other oaks, the wood of the Red Oak has a very open grain so is unsuitable for boatbuilding.
- Butternut (Jugans cinerea). Sometimes known as the White Walnut. Very rare in the UK, this is an old and large specimen, 22m high with a spread of 34m. This tree is listed as one of the ‘Monumental Trees of England’. It originates from the eastern USA and Canada where it is listed as ‘endangered’. The nut matures in mid-autumn, and the bark and nut rinds were once used to dye homespun cloth. During the American Civil War the Confederate soldiers were known as ‘butternuts’ because their uniforms were coloured with butternut dye.
- Foxglove tree or princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa). This is a group of three originating from a previously fallen tree. A native of China, it has one of the largest leaves found in the UK and produces violet foxglove like flowers in May. There is a tradition in Japan to plant one of these trees at the birth of a girl and this fast-growing species matures as she does. When the girl is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry.
- Nettle tree or honeyberry (Celtis australis), A group of three. Related to the elm, and originally from Southern Europe, it was introduced into England in 1796 and is confined to collections. The fruit of this tree is much loved by birds and other wildlife. It is supposed to have been the ‘Lotus’ fruit of the ancients. In the 8th century BC Homer has Ulysses refer to the ‘Lotus-eaters’ and the ‘lotus’ in the Odyssey,
- English oak (Quercus robur). A large and splendid tree, with a spread of over 30m and a girth of 3.7m. This tree is of great age, around 150 years, and is certainly one of the first trees planted in the arboretum when the Hall was built. (The Forestry Commission paper, ‘Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain’ concludes that with large oaks and other species, the age in years is approximately equal to the girth measured in inches at chest height.) The oak, the national tree of England, supports the highest biodiversity of insect herbivores, small mammals and birds of any British plant.
- Japanese maple (Acer palmatum cultivar) A group of three plus two singles. This small species of tree, introduced into England in 1820, displays strong red or golden autumn colour, and has become synonymous with the high art of Japanese and oriental gardens. It is also a popular choice for ‘bonsai’.
- Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis). This is a large specimen, but younger than the one in Christ Church, planted around 1636 by Edward Pococke which was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabawocky’. It is also known as the Tree of Knowledge or the Tree of Hippocrates as it was under these trees that Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’ taught early medicine at Kos.
- Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara ). A native of the northern India and is the national tree of Pakistan. The name derives from the Sanskrit for divine druid tree. It has a conic crown with drooping branchlets from the level branches. The timber is rot resistant and fine grained, and traditionally used for the construction of religious temples. The inner wood is aromatic and used to repel insects.
- Turkey oak (Quercus cerris). Originally from Asia Minor, this is a good sized specimen. It is faster growing than the English Oak and the acorns have cups covered in hairy bristles. The tree harbours gall wasps, whose larvae damage the acorns of native British oaks and prevent the production of galls or oak apples. Oak galls have been used in the production of ink since at least the time of the Roman Empire. Gall ink was also used to write Magna Carta and the 1217 Charter of the Forest.
- Black birch (Betula nigra). This is a rare species originating from the Eastern USA. It has attractive and variable bark, usually being dark grey-brown to pinkish-brown and scaly. The fruit is unusual among birches in that it matures in late spring. It is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts. Native Americans used the boiled sap as a sweetener similar to maple syrup.
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum). This is abundant in eastern and central North America. Its flowers, petioles, twigs and seeds are all red to varying degrees. It is best known for its brilliant deep scarlet foliage in autumn.
- Pride of India, golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata). Native of eastern Asia, it was introduced from China in the 1760s. It has unusual foliage with small panicles of yellow flowers, followed by papery bladder-like seed pods ripening to pink in the autumn.
- Japanese bitter orange (Poncirus trifoliata). This tree is rare with only a few examples in the UK. Unusually, it is a hardy member of the orange family, armed with large spines, lovely white scented flowers in the spring, followed by small ‘bitter’ oranges in the autumn (not edible). Studies have shown that Poncirus trifoliata contains a high concentration of ‘aurapten’, which give immunity against ‘citruse trieeza virus’ (CTV), a disease responsible for the death of millions of citrus trees.
- Persian ironwood tree (Parrotia persica). It is one of several in the park. It has dark red flowers in early spring and the leaves turn rich purple to brilliant red in the autumn. A native of northern Iran and a member of the Witch Hazel family. It is named after the German naturalist Friedrich Parrot (born 1791).
- Swamp or bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) Several trees. Deciduous (hence bald) conifer from southern USA where it thrives in wetlands. The feathery foliage turns orange-brown to dull red in the autumn.
- Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). Thought to be extinct for 65 million years until, in 1944, a small population was found in China. Now widely distributed in parks and arboreta, it is the smallest of the three giant redwoods, but it can still reach a height of 60m. The distinctive grooved bark develops into buttresses on the lower trunk and the deciduous foliage turns golden in the autumn. (A large group of young trees have recently been planted at the bottom of South Park).
- Indian bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides). Originating from the south east USA, this is one of several in the park. It has very large, heart-shaped leaves, campanula-like flowers followed by long bean pods. The wood is brittle and hard, and does not rot easily.
- Katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), a group of six trees. A native of Japan and China, the katsura tree has small, heart-shaped, copper-toned green leaves, which turn stunning shades of yellow, honey-orange and pink in the autumn, and as they fall they produce a delicious and distinctive scent of burnt sugar or caramel from late summer/early autumn.
- Pin oak (Quercus palustris). This is uncommon in the UK. Unlike other oaks it is fast growing and short lived. The leaf is mostly hairless except for a very characteristic tuft of pale orange-brown down on the lower surface which turns bronze in the autumn. The tree can be recognised by its distinctive dead branches on the lower trunk (‘pins’). The name may also derive from the use of this wood for timber dowels or pins in timber framed structures.
- Copper beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea). A large noble tree with smooth silver- grey bark, deep purple leaves and pink tinged flowers. Beech nuts are a useful food for wildlife.
- Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). Sometimes known as Bull Bay, it is a large evergreen tree with dark green leaves (unlike the other nearby magnolias (Magnolia soulangeana) which are deciduous). It has large creamy white, lemon scented flowers from July to August. Native of south eastern USA, it was introduced into the UK in 1726 by plant collector Mark Catesby.
- Handkerchief, dove tree (Davidia involucrata), pair. This tree is strikingly unusual, with white bracts around small flowers which appear in late May, followed by fruit in the autumn. Named after Father Armand David (1826–1900) who discovered a single tree in China in 1869.
- Cappodocium maple (Acer cappadocium). This species originates from northern Iran and Central Turkey (ancient Cappodocia) and shows good autumn colour. Unlike other Maples it can often produce numerous root sprouts.
- Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna). A native of southeast Europe and south-west Asia, the leaves are softly hairy on both faces. The ‘Turkish nuts’ are surrounded by thick, soft spiny husks. It is now a popular urban tree as it gives good shade and can withstand air pollution.
- Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). The second tree planted by the Friends in 2018. Also known as the Giant Redwood (and unofficially as a ‘Wellingtonia’, named by the British after the Duke of Wellington), it is the largest of the three redwoods (the other two are the Coastal Redwood  and Dawn Redwood ) and now considered endangered because of a declining population. It is a Native of the Sierra Nevada in California where they are known to grow to a height of 80m. The Giant Redwood is one of the oldest living things on earth and can live for 3,000 years. A semi-mature example about 160 years old can be seen outside the University Museum of Natural History.
- Hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia). This is the only Ostrya native to Europe but rare in the UK. The timber is very hard (Ostrya taken from Greek word ‘ostrua’ – bone- like.) The leaves are similar to other hornbeams but it has a hop like fruit.
- Chestnut leaf oak (Quercus castanifolia). Originally from Iran/north Africa, although introduced into the UK in 1846 it is still relatively rare. The leaf is like a sweet chestnut. The acorns are very bitter and only eaten by squirrels as a last resort.
- Cut Leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica heterophylla). This is a form of Common Beech with deeply serrated thread like leaves. It was introduced into the UK in the early 1800s.
- Southern beech, roble beech (Nothofagus obliqua). One of 43 species of Nothofagus, (known as Lophozonia obliqua since 2013). Originally from Chile and Argentina and was introduced into Britain in 1849. It displays strong autumn colour.
- Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). Although a native of South East Europe it is now wide spread and best known for its fruit called ‘conkers’. They have a dense canopy and were planted to give good shade. This tree is a veteran of almost 200 years, estimated from its girth of 2.44m. This particular tree (compared with others in the park) is interesting in that the main branches have been bent down and pinned to the ground where they have re-rooted to form a ring of secondary trunks. This is known as ‘layering’ and it is believed this was practised by the Victorians to increase the span of the canopy to give greater shade and provide and an interesting space to sit under.
- Lucombe oak (Quercus x hispanica ‘lucombeana’ ). William Lucombe was a horticulturalist and nurseryman who discovered and gave his name to the natural hybrid Lucombe Oak in 1762. The tree is a hybrid of the Turkey Oak (quercus cerris)  and a Cork Oak (quercus suber) and has characteristics of both parents, though are normally evergreen. Lucombe felled the original hybrid in 1785, keeping the timber to be used for his coffin. However, he didn’t die until the exceptional age of 102.
- Whitebeam (Sorbus aria hybrid). The top of the leaf is mid-green, but the underside is almost white (hence the name), transforming the appearance of the tree as the leaves ‘dance’ in strong winds. It has clusters of white flowers in spring followed by speckled red berries in autumn.
- Cut leaf or fern leaf alder (Alnus glutinosa lacinata), a group of three. This was introduced from St Germain in France in the 1820s. A more ornamental form of the native alder which shares its cousin’s characteristic dancing catkins in early spring, but differs in leaf, offering deeply cut, almost oak-leaf shaped foliage which gives a feathery effect.
- Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba), pair. A native of China with distinctive fan-shaped leaves, it is one of the few species surviving from the Eocene period (270 million years ago). These are separate male and female trees. The male has small pollen cones and the female produces yellow, unpleasant smelling brown fruit containing the seed. Extracts from the leaf are claimed to stimulate blood vessels in the brain.
- Purple leafed sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus purpureum). A Sycamore variant with large leaves that have a strikingly purple underside.
- Rowan + mistletoe (Sorbus aucuparia + viscum album). This tree is notable for the large infestation of Mistletoe. mistletoe is a parasitic plant which played an important role in Druidic mythology and was associated with fertility and vitality through the Middle Ages. By the 18th century it had also become incorporated into Christmas celebrations.
- Silver maple (Acer saccharinum). A Maple with silver underside to the leaves that ‘dance’ in the wind and in autumn turn a golden yellow. It is a native of east and central North America.
- Liquid amber tree (Liquidambar styraciflua). A member of the Witch Hazel family, it is originally from the south east USA where it is known as a Sweet Gum and is often confused with maples. It displays flame red autumn colour. The species was introduced into Europe in 1681 by John Banister, the missionary collector sent out by Bishop Compton, who planted it in the gardens at Fulham Palace.
- Bhutan pine (Pinus wallichiana). This pine has leaves (‘needles’) that are in fascicles (bundles) of five up to 18cm long and they are noted for being flexible along their length. The cones are large and banana shaped. It originates from the Himalayas.
- Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera). This is originally from the eastern USA. It has unusual large, four lobe shaped leaves turning a clear bright yellow in autumn. The flowers, which appear in May are creamy yellow and tulip-like.
- Indian horse chestnut (Aesculus indica). This is a native of the Himalayan lowlands, and is the most graceful form of Horse Chestnut, with pendulous like leaves and small smooth brown fruit after yellow-pinkish flowers.
- Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum). From Southern Europe. In the spring the tree produces deep pink flowers on both the branches and the trunk and long flat pods that hang vertically. There is a long-standing myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species. Another possible source for the vernacular name is the fact that the flowers and seedpods can dangle direct from the trunk in a way reminiscent of Judas’ suicide.
- Paper bark maple (Acer griseum). Introduced from China 1901 by Ernest Wilson, and is now much planted in parks and large gardens as an ornamental tree. The bark is dark red, chestnut or coppery-brown, peeling and rolling away to leave smooth areas on the bole and branches. The leaves turn orange/crimson by the end of October. Attempts are being made to acquire new seed stock from the wild populations in China because it is believed that the current gene pool of cultivated specimens is very small.
- Coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Originally from the western USA and is the least common of the three giant redwoods in the UK. The Coastal Redwood is the world’s tallest tree which can reach a height of 115m and live for around 1,500 years.
- Japanese pagoda tree or chinese scholar tree (Sophora japonica). This is a native of China and a member of the pea family. Grown for its small white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering, it is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Guilty Chinese Scholar Tree was an historic pagoda tree in Beijing, from which the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.
- Cockspur thorn hybrid (Crataegus x lavalleei). This is a thornless hybrid of the American ‘Cockspur Hawthorn’. Clusters of creamy-white flowers are followed by red fruits, and in the autumn the leaves turn to yellow, then to red.
- Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis). This is the thornless variety of the honey locust which originates from central North America. Despite its name, it is not a significant honey plant; the name derives from the sweet taste of the ripe seed pods which mature in early autumn. It also produces strongly scented cream flowers in the spring.
In addition to the original Tree Trail produced by the Friends in 2017. We have now created a second tree trail of unusual trees that are of interest to add to the original arboretum collection. The tree labels are coloured Blue.
(Starting from bottom gateway near traf1ic lights and moving clockwise around
the park , 1irstly to left hand side of tarmac drive).
60). Black Maple – (Acer saccharum var nigrum). (un-common). Black Maple is a less common variation of the Sugar Maple. It’s hard, strong wood is an important timber for furniture and flooring. Black Maple leaves can be distinguished by the undersurfaces which are downy and the drooping nature of the deep green leaves. By contrast, Sugar Maple leaves are 3-5 lobed, much flatter and hairless, they tend to be a brighter yellowish-green, turning yellow-brown in the Autumn.
61). Monterey Cypress – (Cupressus macrocarpa). (threatened). Which is a native of California but is now confined to a small central coastal area. Historically during the peak of the last ice age, Monterey Cypress would have likely comprised a much larger forest that extended to the Continental Shelf. Salt resistant and frequently planted in the SW close to Sea as a shelter belt. Old trees reach a very large size, looking somewhat similar to the Lebanon Cedar in profile. It has found a natural home in New Zealand where is is known as a Macrocarpa.
62). Chanticlear or Callery Pear – (Pyrus calleryana).. Originally from China and Vietnam. Fine Autumn colour, foamy white flowers followed by small reddish brown fruit that are inedible, until softened by frost after which they are taken by birds. A narrow pyramidal shaped tree popular as a street tree. This form developed in the USA and named after the cockerel in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Tolerant of pollution and salt. (Group of 3 recently planted trees.)
63). White Mulberry – (Morus alba). Native of China. The white mulberry is widely cultivated to feed the silkworms employed in the commercial production of silk. It is also notable for the rapid release of its pollen, which is launched at over half the speed of sound. Its berries are edible when ripe.. It has a variable shaped leaf, brittle branches and has a smoother leaf than the better tasting Black Mulberry.
64). Caucasian Wingnut – (Pterocarya fraxinifolia). Native to the Caucasus and Iran. It was introduced to France in 1784, and to Great Britain after 1800. It flowers in April producing unmistakable long pendulous catkins bearing winged nuts. It suckers widely.
65). Macedonian Oak – (Quercus trojana). (un-common). Native to the Balkans and SE Italy. Related to the Turkey Oak (12), The acorns are largely enclosed in a scaly cap. Can be semi-evergreen.
66). Spanish Oak – (Quercus x hispanica var Wageningen). (Rare). Thought to be hybrid between (Q. castaneifolia and Q. lucombeana). Large glossy leaves, can be semi- evergreen.
67). Red Horse Chestnut – (Aesculus x carnea). Hybrid between (A. hippocastanum and A. pavia). The origin of the tree is not known, but it probably first appeared in Germany before 1820. It has red flowers and a smoother, smaller, brownish conker when compared with the common Horse Chestnut.
68). Evergreen or Holm Oak – (Quercus ilex). Native of Southern Europe. Species name refers to holly like leaves. Grown in the UK since the 1500’s. The timber hard, durable and produces good charcoal. It is possibly one of the best trees to find truffles under. It thrives on shallow chalk and excellent for exposed coastal positions. – A large old specimen the other side of railings, just below the Hall, is probably one of the earliest plantings in the Park.
69). Sweet Chestnut – (Castanea sativa). Native to Southern Europe, related to Oaks, it produces fine timber and edible nuts in good years. It also coppices well producing straight poles for fencing etc as split chestnut. Creamy flowers in late summer ,which are popular with bees, before producing typical spiky fruit. Sweet products sold in France and known as “Marron glaces”.
70).Saucer Magnolia – (Magnolia x soulangiana). Developed in France by plantsman Étienne Soulange-Bodin, a retired cavalry officer in Napoleon’s army, at his Château de Fromont near Paris, first flowering in 1826, now a popular flowering tree, In the Spring it produces large tulip shaped flowers, white stained rose-purple at base, before the leaves appear. A pair of trees probably planted to frame the view of Oxford from the Hall
71). Kashmir Rowan – (Sorbus cashmeiriana). (un-common). Native to the Western Himalayas including Kashmir. It has pink flowers and white berries on pink stalks. ripening in the Autumn which often persist long after the leaves have fallen in the Winter,
72). Locust or False Acacia – (Robinia pseudoacacia). Native of Eastern USA and introduced to UK in 1600. Vigorous tree often with sharp thorns and producing suckers. Produces fragrant clusters of pea-like flowers in late Spring. This example is a sucker from a previous older felled tree. Tough, strong, durable timber valued for gate posts and fencing. Traditionally it produced “tree nails” for wooden ships. A big honey producer when introduced to China and Hungary and sold as Acacia honey.
73). Broad Leafed Spindle – (Euonymus latifolius). Native of hillsides and cliffs in Southern Europe to Asia Minor. Introduced into the UK in 1730. It produces large striking four lobed fruit , splitting to reveal orange seeds in Autumn with scarlet colours.
74). Dipelta floribunda. – (Dipelta floribunda). Sometimes known as Rosy Dipelta. It is a native of China and produces fragrant Weigela like flowers in the Spring. Together with conspicuous papery wing like fruits and peeling bark. (Group of 3)
75). Snake Bark Maple – (Acer capillipes). Native of Japan, with notable green and white striped bark. It has characteristic winged seeds, red when ripe and shows good Autumn colours. (One of several in the Park.)
76). Chinese Red Barked Birch – (Betula albosinensis var. Fascination). A rare tree native to Central and West. China. Introduced into the UK in 1901. Bright orange finely flaking or coarsely rolling up and redder bark. Amazing long rich yellow –brown catkins like “caterpillars”. The darker green leaves turn golden yellow in the autumn. (Planted by the Friends in November 2020)
c77). Norway Maple – (Acer platanoides). Native of Northern. and Central Europe. Much planted in the UK. It has notable yellow flowers in Spring and leaves turning yellow in Autumn. Several varieties exist including variegated and purple leafed forms. A vigorous tree. The wood is hard and widely used for furniture and musical instruments. This species as grown in the former Yugoslavia is also called Bosnian Maple, and is probably the Maple used by the famous Italian violin makers, Stradivari and Guarneri, (they also used Hazel Spruce (Haselfichtea) a variety of Norway Spruce from the Alps).
78). Amur Maple – (Acer ginnala). (un-common) A tree named after the River Amur, dividing China and Russia. Shows good Autumn colour. Yellow/white fragrant flowers producing translucent winged fruits. This tree was blown over some years ago but “layered” itself and is now growing upwards.
79). Black Walnut – (Juglans nigra). Native to SE USA. A large vigorous tree producing an edible nut and fine easily worked timber that is the preferred choice for gun stocks. Visually the Black Walnut is similar to the nearby Butternut (05), the nuts however are quite different, as the Black walnuts are spherical and Butternuts are more oval-oblong shaped.
80). Japanese Zelkova – (Zelkova serrata). An uncommon relative of the Elm. Originates from Japan and mainland Eastern Asia. The first cultivation outside of Asia was by Philipp Franz von Siebold, who introduced it to the Netherlands in 1830 Prized for its timber in Japan and often used for bonsai. Less susceptible to Elm disease. It has yellow/green flowers in Spring and shows good Autumn colour.
81). Dutch or Smooth Elm – (Ulmus x hollandica). Hybrid group of Elms between (U. glbra and U. carpinifolia). The upper surface of leaf is relatively smooth compared to other elms.he great elm in The Grove of Magdalen College, before it was blown down in 1911, was considered the largest tree in the UK.
82). Incense Cedar – (Calocedrus decurrens.) Native of Western USA. Older trees reach considerable girth and height. Columnar form when older, some that are growing in California are over 200ft high and 500 years old. Small pendulous cones. The scented wood traditionally used for making trunks and wardrobes so as to deter moths from the clothing.
83). Narrow Leafed Ash – (Fraxinus angustifolia). (Un-common). A large specimen of this tree, originating from Southern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. These trees are now threatened by Ash Die Back disease. Excellent tree for timber (not durable outside). In the past the best wood was used for carriage work, tool and sporting goods handles. It is strong but elastic, as needed, for example, for axe handles. One of the last trees to come into leaf and the first to drop leaves . Related to the Olive tree. Young “green seeds or keys” were once pickled as an emergency winter food source. Old country saying,” When ash comes before oak there will be a soak, when oak before ash there will be a splash!
84). Bird Cherry or Mayday Tree – (Prunus padus). Notable drooping spikes of fragrant white flowers in the Spring. A native of most of Europe. Shiny black astringent fruit. The bitter smelly bark was once used in medicinal infusions and the bark of the tree, placed at the door, was supposed to ward off the plague!
85). Service Berry or Snowy Mespil – (Amelanchier laevis). Native to the Eastern USA. Part of the Rose family, producing masses of star like white flowers in the Spring. Followed by small black fruit and good Autumn colours. (Group of 3, recently planted trees,)
86). English Walnut – (Juglans regia). Most likely introduced to the UK by the Romans for their nuts. Originally from central Asia and Persia. Fine timber and in good years an edible nut (when the squirrels don’t have them)! Often branch tips killed by late frosts, so trees do not form a tall straight tree. Chemical drips from leaves that will inhibit the growth of other plants around. Also oil can be obtained from the nuts and used as a dye.
87). Paper Bark Birch or Canoe Birch – (Betula papyrifera). (Un-common). Native to the Northern USA, introduced into the UK in1750. The white papery bark develops with age and birchbark is used for making various items, such as canoes, containers, and wigwams. The tree shows good yellow autumn colours. (Group of 3 recently planted trees,)
88). Yew – (Taxus baccata). Native evergreen famed for attaining great age and large trunks,. the latter often as a result of many fused stems. Notable specimens in old Church yards claimed to be over 1000 years old. Attractive strong wood for a conifer, traditionally used for long bows. Pagan traditions of planting in religious sites, taken over by the Christian church as a symbol of Immortality. All parts except the red “Aril” are poisonous. Certain compounds found in the bark were discovered by Wall and Wani in 1967 to have efficacy as anti-cancer agents.
89). Atlantic or Atlas Cedar – (Cedrus atlantica). (Endangered) A true cedar of North Africa, specifically the Atlas Mountains. More upright and narrow habit than the other two true cedars. Tips of branches typically turning upwards. The timber is highly scented. The bark can be used as a natural insecticide and molluscacide. (Pair of trees, one each side of the main path)
90). Mountain Ash, Joseph Rock – (Sorbus “Joseph Rock”). Of garden origin , arose as a single tree at Wisley Gardens in 1981. Sent by the Austrian Joseph Rock in a batch of Sorbus seeds from China to `Edinburgh in 1930. All true specimens are grafts from this tree. It shows Good autumn coloured leaves and yellow fruit.
91). Japanese Red Cedar – (Cryptomeria japonica var. Elegans). Native of China and Japan and Introduced into Europe in 1854 by plantsman Thomas Lobb. This form foliage turning red or bronze in winter before returning to green in Spring. Soft, feathery spirally set leaves. A desirable timber tree in Japan particularly for the construction of temples. (Planted for the Friends by the Lord Mayor of Oxford in November 2019)
92). Great White Cherry – (Prunus Tai-haku).The Great White Cherry is a medium sized vigorous wide spreading tree. Its key feature is the large pure white flowers which are held in bunches profusely all over the tree, just as the coppery young leaves emerge in the middle of April. Well known from historical records and drawings in Japan this spectacular cherry was thought lost until a specimen was discovered by chance in the 1920’s in the garden of naturalist Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram at The Grange in Benenden.
In 1932 the tree was reintroduced into Japan with cuttings taken from this tree. All the Tai Haku’s including those in Japan are descended from this single specimen.
94). Mongolian Lime – (Tilia mongolica ) This treewas discovered by Pere David in 1864, and introduced to the West by Bretschneider, who sent seed to Paris in 1880, and later the Arnold Arboretum in 1882. The tree is native to Mongolia, eastern Russia, and northern China, growing at elevations of 1200–2200 m. It is a small slow-growing deciduous tree of rounded, compact habit, reaching < 10 m in height. The dense, twiggy growth and glabrous reddish shoots, bear leaves 4–7.5 cm long, coarsely toothed with 3–5 lobes, superficially resembling ivy or maple leaves. The emergent leaves are bronze, turning glossy green in summer, and bright yellow in autumn. The greenish-white flowers are borne in clusters of 6–20 in June and July.
95). Brush Bush – (Eucryphia x nymanensis “Nymansay”). This tree is hybrid created from seed collected by Harold Comber from Argentina and Chile in the 1920s. Harold was Head Gardener at Nymans in West Sussex and went on a couple of intrepid expeditions sending back many remarkable plants never in cultivation before. This was one of them. Apparently there were two seedlings : Seedling ‘A’ and Seedling ‘B’. ‘A’ was considered superior to ‘B’ and hence the variety name ‘Nymansay’ The tree is evergreen, quite narrow and covered in fragrant white flowers in August. The Messel family developed the Nymans estate , FoHHP former Chairman, Alistair Buchanan is a direct relative of the Messels and family representative for over 30 years. This tree was planted for him in 2021.
96). Amur Cork-Tree – (Phellodendron amurense ). This tree is is native to eastern Asia: northern China, northeast China, Korea and Japan. It is a major source of “huang bo” – one of the herbs used in Chinese medicine.
The tree grows quickly and spreads out from the trunk with heavy lateral branches. The bark is thick and corky and has deep grooves. The young twigs are thick and yellowish-brown: older twigs develop a layer of cork. The glossy, green, imparipinnate leaves consist of 7 – 11 elongated ovoid to oval leaf segments 5 – 10 cm in length with a tapering pointed leaf top. The leaves give off an aromatic scent when rubbed. The autumnal colour is yellow and the leaves fall early in the season. The greenish-yellow flower plumes are followed by fleshy berries that turn from reddish-black to black and remain hanging in the tree the entire winter. Saplings are somewhat sensitive to frost.