Chorlton

Unusual Trees to Look Out for (4)

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Pterocarya fraxinifolia, Caucasian Wingnut Tree, 156/003

 

Meaning: winged-nut/leaves-like-an-ash-tree.

The Caucasian Wingnut tree in Beech Road Park, Chorlton, Manchester, is a particularly fine example of this specimen tree, which was sometimes planted in our Victorian and Edwardian parks.  It is occasionally characteristic of the trunk of this species to divide into two main branches not far off the ground.  It belongs to the walnut family (Juglandaceae) and is native to the eastern Caucasus, northern Iran and eastern Turkey.  In its native habitat it can reach nearly 100 feet in height, but in northern climates it reaches about 80 feet, with a branch spread of 70 feet.  Because of its nearly cubic proportions and because it is relatively fast-growing, it is prized as a shade tree. In a good year, the tree in late summer or early autumn is a delightful and strikingly decorative sight, festooned with its long, pale-green strings of seeds.

BBC Plant finder: “This superb, very large tree is rarely seen in the UK due to its enormous size: there are few gardens big enough to accommodate one. However, there are two excellent specimens in Cambridge and Sheffield Botanic Gardens that show how striking this plant can be. The tree has green leaves that can grow to over 60cm (2ft) long and that turn butter-yellow in autumn. In the summer, it produces eyecatching chains of green catkins that can grow up to 60cm (2ft) long. In its native Iran, it is often found growing by rivers, so its favoured position is in a moist, almost boggy soil where it can also get plenty of light.”

Sheets from the Grindon Herbarium

-Daniel King

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