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.
Trachycarpus fortunei
Chusan palm, fan palm, Chinese windmill palm

Tag -
54 deg 34.99N
5 deg 55.92W

The chusan palm is one of 9 species of the genus Trachycarpus. It originates in Central China, being first introduced in 1830 by Philip von Siebold and later, in 1849, by Robert Fortune (hence the species name). It is one of the hardiest palms and survives the cold winters in New York Botanic Garden. It is best grown where strong winds do not damage the huge leaves. It is usually dioecious (male and female on separate plants) with the male plants producing yellowish flowers and the female plants with greenish flowers. The Belfast Botanic Gardens specimen appears to be a male.

The chusan palm is cultivated in Asia for the very strong fibres that are used to make rope. In the UK it is often grown in seaside towms where it helps to give a tropical appearance to a chilly coastal town. It was awarded an RHS award of Merit in 1970.

Trachycarpus fortunei in Belfast Botanic Gardens Trachycarpus fortunei
Trachycarpus fortunei in Belfast Botanic Gardens Flowers of Trachycarpus fortunei

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2014. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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