Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Dawn redwood

Tag 058
54 deg 34.985N
5 deg 56.156W

There are three dawn redwoods in the Botanic Gardens, the most noticeable is just behind the Kelvin statue near the Malone road entrance. It is typical of the shape of young trees of this species; a very symmetrical, conical shape, tapering to a pointed tip. There is a much older tree, still with the typical conical shape, in the rock garden. The species was discovered in the wild in China in 1946 and the first batch of seeds grown in the Arnold Arboretum in Boston in 1948. After this, seeds were distributed all around the world and it is likely that the oldest Botanic Gardens tree dates from about 1950. The third tree is to the left side of the path leading from the Malone gate to the Palm House.

Metasequoia is one of relatively few deciduous conifers (as are the larches and swamp cyprus). The leaves are arranged on short branches which are shed as a unit rather like the compound leaves of an ash tree. The leaves are similar in shape to Sequoia, hence the name. The trunk is a reddish brown.

Detailed information on the dawn redwood can be found in the Wikipedia article. Below: pictures of the young tree near the Kelvin statue taken in mid-April with partially expanded leaves. Bottom right, the trunk of the old tree in the rockery and below left one of the original trees in the Arnold Arbortetum.

Metasequoia in Belfast Botanic gardens

Metasequoia leaf detail

above: young expanding foliage of Metasequoia

left: the young tree behind Kelvin statue

Metasequoia in Arnold Arboretum

Above: one of original trees in Arnold Arboretum

Right: oldest Metasequoia in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Old Metasequoia in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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