Perhaps one of the most important trees lost was part of our historic Chinese collections. The original seed for this plant came from The Arnold Arboretum in the US, the seed was collected in September 1925 by Joseph F. Rock, in China, Gansu, Upper Tebbu Country, Tatsuto, Kadjaku Valley and was received in Edinburgh 3rd. March 1926. It carries his collection number ROC 13648. It was received under the name Betula and recorded in ‘Enumeration of the Ligneous Plants Collected by J. F. Rock on The Arnold Arboretum Expedition to Northwestern China and Northeastern Tibet’. (Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 9(1): 4-27; 9(2&3): 37-125.Grafts Arnold Arboretum Library, JP. RVIIIF1-7t. 20. Rehder, Alfred and Ernest H. Wilson. 1928) as Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis. It has since been verified by Dr. Hugh McAllister of Liverpool Univ. B.G. (Ness) a renowned authority on Betula as Betula utilis var. utilis. We believe that the tree has been propagated once before in the 1960s.

To rescue the tree, scion material has been taken. Betula pendula rootstocks were used and a side graft was made. The plants are on a heated grafting pipe to help make the union. The plants will then be scion rooted to remove the rootstock. We hope that the plant will be back in the garden in three to five years time.

Fallen Betula utilis var. utilis. Photo by Tony Garn

Fallen Betula utilis var. utilis

Grafts of Betula utilis var. utilis. Photo by Tony Garn

Grafts of Betula utilis var. utilis