New magnolia species discovered at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum has discovered a brand-new magnolia species – and has asked for members of the public to vote for its name.

Famous around the world for its collection of trees, a new magnolia species has been discovered at Westonbirt Arboretum – with a public appeal launched to name the new tree.

In June 2020, Forestry England announced that one of the magnolia trees growing at the National Arboretum, near Tetbury, had been identified as a hybrid of two existing species: a Magnolia sprengeri more famously known as Westonbirt Diva and campbellii.

After asking the public to vote on the new name for the tree, it will now be officially registered and known in the horticultural community as the Westonbirt Hope.

The tree is around 45 years old and was grown from seeds collected from Westonbirt Diva. Staff only realised the plant was a hybrid when it started flowering 10 to 15 years after it was planted.

Forestry England director at Westonbirt, Andrew Smith, said: ‘Our mission here at the arboretum is to connect people with trees to improve quality of life, and so we felt that it was important to give the public the final decision on the cultivar name of the new hybrid; it’s a fantastic way to engage people with the stunning collection of trees here.’

The Westonbirt Hope tree has finished flowering for the year, so visitors will have to wait until spring 2021 to see the tree is all its glory.

For more information, visit forestryengland.uk.

© SoGlos
Monday 29 June 2020

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