Two elm trees thought extinct in Britain have been discovered growing at Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s residence in Scotland.
Extinct Elm Trees Discovered!
The majestic 100ft tall Wentworth elms (Ulmus ‘Wentworthii Pendula’) have a weeping growth habit and large glossy leaves, and had been growing in the garden at Holyroodhouse for decades without anyone realising their importance.
All specimens of the variety were thought to have died out in the Dutch elm disease epidemic, but during a recent tree survey botanists realised they were looking at the only two remaining examples still growing in a UK garden.
How are they still here?
Mystery still surrounds the question of how the elms came to be in the garden. The most likely explanation is that it was given to the Queen by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), which took delivery of three Wentworth elms from Germany in 1902. Only one, however, is recorded as being planted at the RBGE, and it succumbed to Dutch Elm disease in 1996. The whereabouts of the other two trees are unknown, so staff at Holyroodhouse are trying to find out if these trees are its surviving siblings. They are also now investigating how to propagate the elms in a bid to reintroduce the species back into gardens more widely again.