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.
Pseudopanax crassulifolius
Lancewood

Tag 77
54 deg 34.973N
5 deg 56.109W

Lancewood is a native of New Zealand eventually growing to 15m height in lowland and lower montain forests. It is a plant with a dramatic difference between the juvenile form and the adult form. Several of our UK native plants show some differences in the juvenile state, such a ivy (Hedera helix) which has toothed juvenile leaves and entire adult leaves and beech (Fagus sylvatica) in which the juvenile leaves persist on the tree whereas the adult leaves are shed in the Autumn. The juvenile form of the lancewood has tough leathery leaves up to 1m long that point down, while the adult form has much shorter leaves in bunches on the branches (see photos below).

It has been suggested that the strange looking juvenile form may have evolved as a protection from predation by the now extinct flightless moa bird. Once the tree was more than about 2m high it would have been safe from attack.

Pseudopanax in Belfast Botanic Gardens Pseudopanax juvenile
Pseudopanax crassulifolius in Belfast Botanic Gardens Juvenile form of Pseudopanax crassulifolius - see source reference below
foliage of adult Pseudopanax crassufolius umbel flower head of Pseudopanax crassulifolius
Adult foliage of Pseudopanax crassulifolius Flower umbel of Pseudopanax crassulifolius

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2015 except picture of juvenile form which is from excellent botanical website stridvall.se.

Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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