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.
Quercus canariensis
Mirbeck's oak or Algerian oak

Tag 085
54 deg 34.986N
5 deg 56.089W

This unusual oak keeps most of its leaves through the winter as this photograph taken in February shows. In spite of the latin specific name it is not a native of the Canary Islands, but of Southern Spain and North Africa. Although seldom seen, it grows well in England and Ireland and is completely frost-hardy. The leaves are glossy green, much brighter in colour than other evergreen oaks such as Quercus ilex. When new shoots and leaves are produced in the spring there is a striking contrast between the yellowish new leaves and the strong green old leaves. The bark is less strongly fissured than that of our native oaks (Q. robur and Q. petraea) and the acorn cups are whiskered.

The fine example in Belfast Botanic Gardens is beside the path from the Malone Road gate to the Palm House

Quercus carariensis in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Quercus carariensis spring foliage

Mirbeck's oak in Belfast Botanic Gardens - February Mirbeck's oak in Belfast Botanic Gardens - spring

Quercus canariensis new leaves

Quercus canariensis acorn cup

Old and new leaves of Mirbeck's oak in spring Whiskered acorn cup of Mirbeck's oak

Quercus canariensis overwintering leaves in February

Quercus canariensis bark

Leaves of Mirbeck's oak in February Bark of Mirbeck's oak

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

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