Saturday, 20 July 2013

In Flower Now!! - But you might need binoculars!!

Visiting Cambridge University Botanic Garden earlier this week (more on this soon!), I made sure I passed by their specimen of Carrierea calycina, the Chinese goat horn tree, to check for flowers. I had been keeping an eye on our two specimens and was interested to see how this one was getting on, having first observed the plant growing on the lawn close to the glasshouses some time ago. On inspection, there were some flowers visible but most had gone over although I was assured that it had flowered well.

The Carrierea calycina at Cambridge University Botanic Garden earlier this week

So on my return to Westonbirt I paid a visit to our specimens, (seemingly) a male and a female, and although there was no evidence of any flowers on the male, to my satisfaction, I spotted a little more than half a dozen opening on the female along Morley Ride. However, they are all right at the top of the tree, which stands at around 20 feet tall! I understand that the flowers have a favourable scent, though there seems to be no chance of confirming this with our trees this year!!

The flowers opening at the top of our tree on Morley Ride yesterday

While I say that we have a male and a female, and having observed the flowers of both at close quarters, I am reliably informed that individual trees may possess both male and female flowers or possibly even hemaphrodites, as fruit has been produced on trees where all male flowers have been seen. I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on ours for any such occurrences!!

A female flower on our tree on Morley Ride in 2011

A male flower on our tree close to Savill Glade in 2011

Both our trees were planted in 1997 and flowered with us for the first time in 2011. Having heard, seen and read of more floriferous displays from other specimens in cultivation I am hopeful that we may see more on our trees in the future. But while it may not the most eye-catching of displays, and you might need binoculars to see the flowers, the tree is, of course, still worth seeking out!

Our tree on Morley Ride

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