A Rare Blossoming

3D front cover of A Naturalist in Western China with Vasculum, Camera and Gun Being Some Account of Eleven Years' Travel by Ernest Henry WilsonAt the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, a tree has blossomed which is very rarely seen in cultivation: Emmenopterys henryi (there appears to be no ‘common’ name) has burst into flower, in its thirtieth year. This is, according to the Garden’s website, only the fifth recorded flowering in the UK, so, alerted to this exciting event, your correspondent braved the 200 yards to the Gardens, and Him Indoors (let out specially for the occasion) took this picture.

Emmenopterys henryi, 16 September 2012

At least as striking as the blossoms are the beautiful white bracts, the stems of which are so slender that they move in the slightest breeze.

Because the flowering is so rare, it’s not clear how long we may have to wait for the next one: it was 23 years between flowerings of the specimen at Wakehurst Place. The tree was first discovered by the Irish botanist Augustine Henry (Acer henryi, Clematis henryi, etc. …) in 1887, but it was introduced to cultivation by Ernest (‘Chinese’) Wilson in 1907. So, for the next few days or weeks, possibly a once-in-a-generation opportunity!

Caroline

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One Response to A Rare Blossoming

  1. Pingback: Galanthophilia | Cambridge Library Collection Blog

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