"Tolkien's tree" will have to come down, says Oxford's botanic garden

Oxford University has said it will have to remove one of its Botanic Garden's best-loved trees after it lost two limbs last month.

Image: Oxford University Botanic Garden
Image: Oxford University Botanic Garden

The black pine (Pinus nigra) is thought to be over 200 years old and was a favourite of Lord of the Rings author J R R Tolkien during his time as a lecturer at the university. 

The area around the tree was evacuated before the limbs fell, and will remain cordoned off "for the next few weeks" while the work is undertaken, the university said.

Acting director of the garden Dr Alison Foster said: 'The black pine was a highlight of many people's visits to the garden and we are very sad to lose such an iconic tree.

"We intend to propagate from this magnificent tree so that future generations will not miss out on this important link to Tolkien, and are considering using the wood for an educational project."

The garden's trees are inspected annually for safety issues.

Dr Stephen Harris of the university's Department of Plant Sciences added that a count of the tree's rings would establish whether the tree had indeed been planted in 1799 from seed collected in Austria, as had long been believed.


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