County Champion

Planted: 1928

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This tree is in the centre of the Chinese and Japanese Section.

Distribution:China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam – Mixed forests on mountain slopes, in thickets and hedgerows.
Rare to Very Rare
Planting Date:1928 from G Reuthe, Seal Chart, Sevenoaks, Kent
Growth Habit:In the wild, it has the scrubby habit of a woodland marginal plant. Grown as a specimen, with little competition, it develops into a well-balanced, round-headed small tree.
Bark:Dark grey, rough and fissured.
Leaf:Pinnate leaves of 7-15 sessile, lanceolate, toothed, leaflets.
Flowers:In June/July in UK fragrant, upright, yellow, male catkins, in groups of 7 or 8, form at the end of twigs and surround a central female catkin with cone-like basal portion in bottom third. This portion contains the female flowers which are wind and insect pollinated by the encircling males then left alone to develop into 2.5 cm long green cones.
Fruit:The cones later turn brown and, before falling, release winged nutlets which are dispersed by the wind.
 Height and girth in 2023:Height 9.5 m and girth 102 cm
Uses:Young leaves can be cooked, and eaten, as last resort famine food. Roots when burnt become very fragrant, can be used in the bath. Black dye for cloth and nets can be obtained from the fruit and the wood is good for fuel.
Plant Hunter:Described in 1843 from a specimen collected in Japan by German doctor and botanist, Philip Von Siebold.  1844 seed collected in China by Robert Fortune (notorious tea-plant smuggler) and sent to England.
Introduction Date:Plants from the 1845 introduction did not prove to be hardy. Further seed collected in China was introduced by Ernest Wilson 1900-1907.
Anecdotes and Comments:Few specimens from the early part of 20th century have survived.
Rated National Champion in 2009 on account of its age “leaning, but healthy”. But has now been overtaken by younger trees.
Rated County Champion by height and girth by The Tree Register in April 2023.