Monday, December 12, 2011

The Arderne Tower Tree

The spectacular Norfolk Island pine (Auraucaria heterophylla) of the Arderne Gardens, in the cool, leafy suburb of Claremont in Cape Town, is the tallest of South Africa’s Champion trees.

As Christmas is with us once again, we thought it appropriate to feature this majestic, distinctive conifer, which represents a gargantuan Christmas tree as our iconic tree of the month.

Native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific ocean, situated between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia these magnificent trees are members of the ancient Auraucariaceae family.

On first seeing the amazing trees on Norfolk Island, Captain James Cook reported that these tall, straight trees would be most suitable for masts for the sailing ships of the day. After some time however, it was found that the Norfolk Island pines were not flexible or resilient enough for the rigours that sailing ships masts had to withstand with the result that the industry was abandoned.

Nowadays the Norfolk Island pine is well represented throughout the world and is the most common species of Auraucaria in Cape Town where it is popular as a garden and street tree.

The aristocratic Arderne Tower Tree was planted in the mid 1800’s by the founder of the Arderne Gardens, John Arderne and his son, making it over 160 years old. This superb specimen is exceptionally tall, even for it’s kind, reaching 44,8 metres or 8 stories high. The diameter of the trunk is 2,11metres.

This Christmas, why not consider a live Christmas tree such as the splendid Norfolk Island pine which can be enjoyed by your family and friends for many years to come while contributing to the greening of our fragile environment.


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