Rare flowering of Chinese tree in Belgium

August 12, 2009
A flower from the Emmenopterys henryi tree, originally from the Chinese forests, is pictured in bloom at an arboretum near Antwerp, in Kalmthout, providing a very rare sight for Europe. The tree, a Chinese member of the coffee plant family, was first planted in Europe in 1907. Before today's flowering it had bloomed only four times in Europe.

An endangered Chinese tree has flowered in a Belgian arboretum, an event seldom seen anywhere in Europe, the garden's curator said Wednesday.

The Emmenopterys henryi, billed as "one of the most strikingly beautiful trees of the Chinese forests" has brought flower lovers flocking to the Kalmthout Arboretum in the northern province of Antwerp and will do so for up to a month, the site's curator Abraham Rammeloo told AFP.

He described the greeny-white trumpet-shaped , which grow in clusters, as being "a bit like climbing hydrangeas but much more beautiful,"

According to the arboretum, there have only been four previous major flowerings of the tree in Europe since it was first brought over from China a 100 years ago.

The first time was in Italy in 1971, another was at Wakehurst Place in England in 1987 and twice before it has bloomed at the same Belgian location.

"We're probably just lucky," said Rammeloo, before explaining that the 40-50 year old tree was relatively mature for Europe.

"We probably chose the most suitable location by accident," he added.

"We cleared a ditch and there was probably plenty of moisture for it there," which it needs and "a couple of other have been taken away in the last ten years to allow it more sun," he explained.

The tree, indigenous to southern China's temperate forests, is under threat there from and is now rare both in the wild and in gardens.

Rammeloo said the best time to see the rare in Antwerp would be over the next two weeks, although they could last through to mid-September.

A special viewing platform has been built for visitors to admire the little flowers, which blossom at the top of the tree.

Emmenopterys henryi have also flowered occasionally in the United States.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Tree-killing beetle found in California

Related Stories

Measuring nectar from eucalypts

July 31, 2007

The effect of logging on canopy nectar production in tall forest trees has for the first time been investigated by NSW DPI researchers, with funding from the Honeybee Program of the Rural Industries Research and Development ...

Blight-resistant American chestnut trees nearing reality

December 5, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The demise of the American chestnut is one of the great ecological disasters of our time, according to a chestnut expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, who envisions a day in the not-so-distant ...

Recommended for you

Gene editing: Research spurs debate over promise vs. ethics

October 9, 2015

The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle-cell, preventing ...

ZomBee Watch helps scientists track honeybee killer

October 9, 2015

While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don't know the scope of the problem.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 04, 2009
Emmenopterys henryi tree has bloomed in Raleigh, NC in 2007

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.