16 July 2024

Rare and Endangered Fir Tree Cones for First Time in Decades in the Welsh Marches

One of the worlds rarest and most endangered species of Fir Tree has “coned” for the first time in decades at a garden attraction in the Welsh Marches.

Hergest Croft Gardens in Kington, is a 70 acre estate of horticultural importance within the UK and is host to over 130 “Champion Trees”, 5,000 rare trees, plants and shrubs together with the National collections of Maples, Birches and Zelkovas. The last recorded time that an older specimen of this tree produced a cone was in the early 60’s.

The “Abies Bracteata” or Santa Lucia/Bristlecone Fir is a native of Monterey, California where its natural habitat is less than a 30 square km area and is regarded as an endangered species. Whilst there are several other trees of this species growing in selected gardens in the UK, a “coning” is a very rare experience.

The exciting discovery was made just before Christmas when the huge tree was undergoing routine maintenance by Herefordshire based Tree Surgeons, Abortech.

“We are absolutely thrilled and very excited about this event” said Austyn Hallworth, Head of Marketing & PR for Hergest Croft Gardens.

“This discovery is so horticulturally important and crucial for its survival outside of North America, that we have sent seeds to specific centres throughout the UK and Europe in an effort to propagate and cultivate for the future” he said.