Not extinct after all!
ASPECIES of elm believed to have been extinct in the British Isles has been discovered growing in the gardens of the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. the two Wentworth elm trees, each about 100ft tall, are among the largest in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in edinburgh. Despite their vast size, it was only during a recent survey of the gardens that they were identified as the species Ulmus Wentworthii Pendula (left), the last remaining specimens of which were thought to have succumbed to the ravages of Dutch elm disease in the late 20th century.
‘that’s the most striking thing about this story,’ enthuses Dr Max Coleman of the royal Botanic Garden edinburgh (rbge). ‘It seems very odd on the face of it that these massive trees, which are probably the most photographed trees in the grounds of the palace, have gone unrecognised until now.’ It’s still unclear where the trees came from. Archivists from the royal Household theorise that the trees may have been given to Holyrood by the rbge and that their sibling at the botanical garden died. experts are now looking into ways of propagating the rare specimens, with a view to preserving the species. James Fisher