New trail takes in trees that tell a story

Otago Daily Times - - INSIDE OUT -

DUNEDIN Botanic Gar­den has just re­leased a new tree trail. Vis­i­tors have been ask­ing about cer­tain trees and there are also other, lesser­known trees with their own spe­cial sto­ries to tell.

The trail leads vis­i­tors through the botanic gar­den, sam­pling a small se­lec­tion of trees. Va­ri­ety and year­round in­ter­est were key cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing au­tumn colour and win­ter out­lines. With strong shapes and some quite quirky forms, na­tive plants are a par­tic­u­lar goodie at this time of year.

Ages span from a tree so old it is be­lieved it dates back to when the site was used by the Ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion So­ci­ety, to an­other tree dis­cov­ered near Cape Reinga in 1975. The trail vis­its aki­raho, the pop­u­lar sub­ur­ban hedge plant, show­ing us what it looks like as a nat­u­ral tree. A tall, tree­like palm is in­cluded too — hemp palm, named for its fi­bre used to make rope, sacks and cloth.

Ed­u­ca­tion is a ma­jor goal of a botanic gar­den, so vis­i­tors are wel­come to pick a leaf to learn from. A small sniff of a crushed leaf of the headache tree can clear a headache, but be­ware — too much can ac­tu­ally cause one!

Each track’s ac­ces­si­bil­ity rat­ing is shown, so peo­ple can pick and choose their route ac­cord­ing to their cir­cum­stances. To do the whole thing would take a cou­ple of hours.

The brochure folds to not much big­ger than a credit card. It is avail­able at the in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, which is open daily from 10am­4pm.

Gar­den Life is pro­duced by Dunedin Botanic Gar­den. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Clare Fraser.

PHOTO: CHRIS­TINE O’CON­NOR

Clare Fraser makes her way along Dunedin Botanic Gar­den’s new tree trail.

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