One of world's rarest trees successfully propagated at Bedgebury

Experts from the Forestry Commission's National Pinetum at Bedgebury have succeeded in germinating seeds collected last year from one of the world's most critically endangered trees.

Image: Bedgebury Pinetum
Image: Bedgebury Pinetum

It is the first time in nearly 30 years that seeds of the Japanese birch (Betula chichibuensis) have been successfully propagated, boosting hopes that the species can be saved from extinction.

Only 21 trees were recorded growing in the wild in 1993, and it is listed as "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Last year Bedgebury staff joined a project by the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens and Harcourt Arboretum, working with the University of Tokyo, to collect wild seed in mountains near Chichibu, north-west of Tokyo, the tree's only redoubt in the wild.

The seedlings will be grown on at the Kent site with some trees then added to Bedgebury's own collection, others shared with Oxford University. Seed will also be stored in the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst, West Sussex.

Bedgebury dendrologist Dan Luscombe said: "Propagation from seed collected from trees growing in the wild is essential to the future of endangered species, because this retains their genetic diversity. This helps make the species resilient to threats such as pests, diseases and climate change."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Pest & Disease Management - Caterpillars

Pest & Disease Management - Caterpillars

Control strategies mainly focus on larval stages.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Arboriculture Contracts & Tenders

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.