It is tree-planting season, and so Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust grabbed a small break in last week’s rain to put 29 big specimens in Hailes Quarry Park – including some living fossils.
Six of the trees are the conker tree horse chestnut – important to plant as this species is threatened with horse chestnut canker, which kills the tree and is untreatable.
Six trembling aspen will add to the aspen already in the park, which look great in a breeze when its almost as if the leaves are vibrating, hence the name.
The damp conditions in some parts of the park are perfect for the magnificent weeping willow, and so there are six of these too, as well as the alder, which is suited to cold northern climates.
Finally, five”living fossil” dawn redwoods have been planted – a relative of the giant sequoia, this species was thought to have gone extinct 1.5m years ago. Fossils of the tree were discovered in China in 1941, but that same year a giant tree unknown to science, also in China, was discovered and proved to be the same species. It can grow to 35m and is an endangered species in the wild – just like pandas. There are only about 5,000 still growing in their natural habitat – pandas are a bit rarer, possibly as few 3,000 in their native environment. Unlike Edinburgh’s pandas, these dawn redwoods are unlikely ever to go back to China and will be in Hailes Quarry Park for hopefully a few hundred years to come.