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					                                         THE FRIENDS OF TREBORTH
                                                  BOTANIC GARDEN

                                                 CYFEILLION GARDD
                                                FOTANEG TREBORTH


Number / Rhif 32                                           May/Mai 2008



Welcome to another edition of the Newsletter.

I am writing this in early April, as winter reaches its tentacles towards us for
one more icy blast: let‟s hope it is the last, but April can be a cruel month.

As we try to start another gardening year, perhaps we should try and make
space in our gardens for more native species; after all a „weed‟ is only a plant in
the wrong place! At Treborth we have been planning the replanting of the
newly renovated border outside Nigel‟s office and have decided to use mature
Gwynedd and North Wales species for it.

Here in Bethel I have an old Physic Garden and the Welsh Herbal to go with it,
so I try to leave as many native plants as I can between the vegetables. We have
a very old Comfrey border and there is also Heartsease and lots of Greater
Celandine too. One day I may get round to making a border just for them.

Let‟s hope late Spring is kind to us - good gardening!

                                                                    Judith Hughes

                             Growing From Seed

I have gardened, or more accurately had a garden, since my early twenties. My
first was a pocket handkerchief completely dominated by the large unkempt
yew hedge that that had bordered the drive to the “big” house. We planted sweet
peas, lupins and marigolds but we were newly married and had better things to
do at weekends.

My second was a walled town garden that had been laid out many years
previously with trained fruit trees, herbaceous borders, pergolas and clipped box
hedging. Now all, and particularly the box, was infested with a sea of ground
elder but this was before the craze for instant makeover and anyway we had
little time, money or inclination to rip out the fine classic plants that were
already there so we spent seventeen years battling with Aegopodium podagraria
(I have recently seen this plant for sale in Canadian garden centres!) and made
few changes. I have photographs of moments when it looked lovely but also
memories of weekends when we gazed in despair at the little progress that we
had made. Had I known then what rough treatment box will withstand we might
have done better. Here I began to grow vegetables in an allotment and a few

By the time we arrived at the third garden we had learnt some valuable lessons
and sprang at the chance to develop our own but attempted too much too
quickly and more time had to be spent just “housekeeping” to prevent it looking
unkempt than growing interesting plants. I did have a lovely new cedar
greenhouse but in retrospect it was badly sited and I fried an awful lot of
seedlings and young plants. It was here that I began to grow succulent plants as
they managed to survive scanty care in the summer when we sailed.

I did come away from here with an assortment of cacti & aloes and also two
nice plants of my own. The first was a Narcissus hybrid of distinct and
attractive form which I discovered in the rough grass of the paddock. After
several years of bulb scaling I built up stock to over a hundred which was most
satisfying. The second was a peony seedling, one of several I managed to
germinate from open pollinated seed saved in 1994. The lone survivor finally
flowered in 2006 to much excitement on my part. It is probably no better than
any of the currently available cultivars but it is lovely and it is mine!

When I moved to my present garden in Llanfairpwll I decided that I would
make a serious effort to expand my horticultural knowledge. To this end I
decided that each year I would attempt to grow from seed at least ten new
species including one new genus and to experiment with plants from different

ecozones. If the time spent fussing with my „babies‟ means that other aspects of
the garden are occasionally not as others would have them I can usually be
relied on to scurry round before visitors arrive.

Thanks to my predecessors in this garden I have little room for new shrubs and I
have reached an age when the sowing of tree seed seems tempting fate so I am
concentrating on perennials and bulbs.
For the last 10 or so years I have used Arthur Bower‟s New Horizon Peat Free
Compost because it came well out of informal trials made by the National Trust.
I have never used any of the John Innes formulae mainly because of the weight
factor. I have to admit that I am not very precise with my mixes and as I rarely
grow the same plant twice comparisons are not easy. Depending on how long I
expect the seedlings to remain in the original container, I mix the sifted compost
either with about ¼ by volume of vermiculite for annuals and quick germinating
perennials, or 1/3 grit and sand for bulbs and seed which may take more than
one season to germinate. I sow into plastic food boxes for the former and 9 or
13cm square pots for the latter.

In the first years I put the containers in polystyrene shipping boxes as I had read
that this would provide suitable light levels and a stable atmosphere but I have
given up on these as I now think the temperature was too stable and I sometimes
missed the germination moment and was left with badly drawn seedlings. This
year I am experimenting with putting each container into a zip lock bag which I
hope will allow me to control moisture levels individually. Tender species are
put in my propagator but most of the others just have to take their luck in open
cold frames (mesh sides and Correx top).

Apart from complete germination failure – 50 out of 300 species sown since
2002 and that includes a batch 9 from the British Cactus Society with which I
totally failed – there are a number of reasons why neither my garden nor the
Treborth plants sales are inundated with interesting plants. Many packets of
rarer species contain only very few seeds. I continue to lose too high a
proportion of seedlings in the first months especially of bulbs where the few
that have germinated fail to survive their first dormancy. Small rodents are a
permanent problem in spite of the efforts of my loyal cat Madoc – mind you I
am not that keen on his presence among the seed trays. By April the bench in
the greenhouse looks like a high security prison with cages over everything but
bulb leaves quickly grow through them and are promptly trimmed. I suspect
also that the compost breaks down after about 9 months and drainage suffers. I
am not methodical enough in potting on at the right moment. (When is the right
moment for lilies? Most of mine are only a couple of years old and either started

to regrow in September or remained in growth until after Christmas and I
daren‟t disturb them.)

Of course it is early days yet but there are four species from the first 3 seasons
which are now established in the garden and I feel would make worthwhile
additions to others.

The first two are both hardy herbaceous climbers, Aconitum hemsleyanum from
China, and Dicentra macrocapnos from Nepal.

Aconitum hemsleyanum. The seed for this was obtained from J. & J. Archibald
and sown 20/1/04 in my usual seed mix and put in one of my polystyrene crates.
First germination was noted on 30/3 and four seedlings were potted into 7cm
pots 14/6. The plants were then grown on in a mesh covered frame but only one
survived the winter. The survivor grew on slowly for a year, was potted on into
a 13cm pot 11/2 and eventually planted out at the base of a pergola 14/4. It now
grew away strongly and flowered in mid summer. The following year it had
begun to grow again by the end of February and by July had reached the top of
the pergola where it began flowering in August and continued for over a month.
It holds its own against 3 clematis and “Dorothy Perkins” and the strong blue of
its flowers contrast well with the crimson of an unidentified clematis that has a
similar flowering period. It dies away completely by late autumn and is much
more easily cleared away than the clematis. It sets seed copiously and this,
according to my son, germinates readily when fresh. I am not likely to raise any
more of this but if anyone would like seed please get in touch.

Dicentra macrocapnos. This seed came from the RHS Seed Distribution via
my son in 2005. It was sown 10/11 on surface of compost mix in a plastic box
and covered with a layer of vermiculite. The box was placed in unheated
propagating frame in my cool greenhouse. First germination was noted 13/2. 5
seedlings were potted up 30/5. The strongest plant flowered on 20/7 and was
potted on 22/7. The plants were over wintered in the cold frame and new shoots
appeared 2/4. I planted out the best plant about 30cm from the base the base of a
Syringa vulgaris with a couple of canes to lead the shoots up into the branches
28/4. It was quite slow to get going but eventually flowered flowering in the 1st
week of July in the lower branches. It continued to grow and flower through the
summer and early autumn until it had reached at height of 2 m.
It does not flower profusely but their clear yellow brightened up the rather dull
foliage of the Syringa attractively. It did not set seed which was a pity as I was
looking forward to seeing its rose-coloured pods.

I understand that one reason it is not seen more often is that it is difficult to
present well on a sale bench. New growth starts quite late in the spring and
extends quickly with the fragile young shoots hanging on to any neighbouring
plant and breaking off when attempts are made to extricate them. I lost a couple
this way. However, I did manage to bring 2 to last year‟s plant sales, so I hope
someone else is enjoying them. I see Crûg Farm carries this and several other
climbers in the genus.

To be continued in the next issue… Any questions or indeed helpful tips please
email me at erle@dsl.pipex.com

                                                                   Erle Randall

            Weather and Wildlife December 2007 - March 2008

December‟s 144 mm (5.7 inches) of rain brought the annual total to 1163 mm
(45.8 inches) some 9% more than average. The month was generally unsettled
and mild except for the third week which produced 7 air frosts on consecutive
nights, reaching a minimum of minus 2.0 degrees.

Generally mild and unsettled conditions continued into January which turned
out to be a very wet month (189.8 mm, 7.5 inches) with 22 wet days including
43.3mm (1.6 inches) on the 9th. There were no air frosts and only 3 light ground

February was drier with just 12 wet days producing a total of 66mm (2.6 inches)
of rain. There was a greater range of temperatures than the previous two months
with 4 nights of air frosts (down to minus 2.5 degrees) and one night where the
temperature went no lower than plus 9 degrees. Day time temperatures topped
10 degrees on 16 dates in February with a maximum of 14 degrees on the 9 th.

March proved cooler than average with just eleven days reaching 10 degrees,
though there were no air frosts and only one ground frost. It was characterised
by stubborn northerly air flow between the 16 th and 27th. Rainfall proved
average at 90.6 mm (3.6inches)

Lesser Swallow Prominent moth (Pheosia gnoma) is regularly recorded at
Treborth in the spring and again in late summer/early autumn when the second
brood matures. It was a big surprise therefore to record this species on two
nights in early December.

Less of a surprise is the winter time appearance of the appropriately named
December Moth (Poecilocampa populi) but what is interesting is the nightly
variation in numbers of this species. Of 128 individuals of December Moth
caught in December 2007, fifty-three (41%) were captured on the night of
12/13th and twenty-four (19%) on 26/27th. The remaining fifty-one moths (40%)
accumulated over 16 nights. This highly skewed temporal distribution has been
noted every year without any obvious cue for the accentuated appearance on
just a few nights. It is also worth noting that like many moth species attracted to
the Robinson light trap males (122) far outnumber females (just 6).

The moth scene began the New Year in no less interesting fashion with the
very early appearance of two species of spring moths, Common Quaker
(Orthosia cerasi) and Small Quaker (O. cruda), both recorded on 1/2 January,
some six weeks ahead of schedule. But such precocity was not maintained and
the first three months of 2008 have been entomologically rather sterile, with

lower than expected numbers of individuals (404) and species (28) of moths
(see table below).

Though the dawn chorus event on 15 March was an enjoyable jaunt it lacked
contributions from trans-Saharan migrants such as Chiffchaff (singing from 13th
last year) and Blackcap. The northerly airstream so prominent in March had
dulled the advent of spring. Indeed without the glorious fanfare of Song Thrush
each dawn (and evening, what a bonus!) you might be forgiven for thinking the
birds were taking a year out from all the frenzy of territoriality, courtship and
raising young.
Those repeated notes so vibrantly trumpeted by the Song Thrush are a clarion
call for every songster to shake off the cobwebs and join in. And repeated notes
are a popular refrain – the accentuated „chiff-chaff‟ of Chiffchaff finally slices
the fragile air on the first morning of British Summer Time, confirming the
overnight arrival of countless, largely unseen warblers from the south,
reinforcing the cosmopolitan community of the Garden.

But welcome as the little leaf warbler is I am still drawn by the equally
repetitive song of a resident bird - a Great Tit whose notably tuneless and
strangely non-metallic refrain has kept me company since early February – at
first I simply did not recognise the song, then I glimpsed the perpetrator perched
surprisingly high in the pines and birch overlooking the pigeon loft with its
gently cooing inmates. As the days went by its vocal signature grew on me and I
looked forward to it, something constant and reassuring in the face of cold
winds, heavy showers and all the vagaries of a Welsh spring – its brave delivery
fortifying all who care to listen.

                                                                    Nigel Brown
                  Macro Moths trapped at Treborth Jan – Mar 2008

                      Species                      Number       % of total
DecemberMoth (Poecilocampa populi)                    2            0.5
Yellow Horned (Achlya flavicornis)                    9           2.25
March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)                    17           4.25
Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata)                    1           0.25
Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata)              1           0.25
Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)                     6            1.5
Northern Winter Moth (O. fagata)                      1           0.25
Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)                  4            2.0
Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)         1           0.25
Early Tooth-striped (Trichopteryx carpinata)          2            0.5
Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)                        7            1.5
Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)             3           0.75
Oak Beauty (Biston strataria)                        16            4.0

                        Species                    Number   % of total
Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaeria)                   3      0.75
Dotted Border (A. marginaria)                          9      2.25
Mottled Umber (Erannis defoliaria)                     1      0.25
Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata)                        1      0.25
Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa)                      7      1.75
Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea)                          1      1.25
Small Quaker (0rthosia cruda)                         56      14.0
Common Quaker (O. cerasi)                             90     22.25
Clouded Drab (0. incerta)                             32       8.0
Twin-spotted Quaker (O. munda)                        25       6.2
Hebrew Character (O. gothica)                         81      20.0
Pale Pinion (Lithophane hepatica)                      7      1.75
Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)                          2       0.5
Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)                        1      0.25
Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)                          16       4.0
                                           Total     404      100

                                                                 Winter Moth

                          Using Willow to make
                  Wigwams, Fences, Tunnels and Sculptures

Willow is an interesting plant which you can use to make living or non-living
structures, sculptures and fences. It is tough, quick-growing, pliable and easy to
use. Working with willow is environmentally friendly; it has traditionally been
grown as coppice where the cycle of growth and harvesting provides a
sustainable source of rods for new structures. You could try growing a few
varieties in your own garden for their attractive colourful bark which is
especially prominent in the first year‟s growth.

Now is a good time to start planning a project. Willow rods can be planted from
late autumn to early spring. If you have your own willow, this is a very cheap
project and you don‟t need any special gardening skills to succeed. It is
exciting to create a living structure that can either be pruned and woven to shape
or simply left alone to grow wild.

When choosing a site you have to remember that willow will naturally seek out
any source of water, so you must plant them well away from underground
drainage systems. It needs sunlight and will not grow in deep shade. Most
varieties prefer damp soils, but the smaller, narrow leaved varieties are better in
drier soils.

It is important (but not essential) to stop grass and weed growth around a newly
planted structure; this can be done using mulch such as an old carpet (not foam-
backed), newspaper, cardboard, bark chippings or straw.

Wigwams and Domes
Making a wigwam is a fun and easy project to do with the whole family. They
make a good play house and a tunnel can be added at a later date. You can make
it any size to suit your needs, but remember that the larger the wigwam the
longer the rods you will need. Mark out your circle, remove a strip of turf where
you will plant your willow rods, loosen the soil and mix with some homemade
compost if available. If the soil is hard make holes with a crowbar about 15-
20cm (6-8”) apart and plant the willow rods (2 year old shoots recommended)
about 30 cm deep (12”). If you are using a mulch mat, spread this on the ground
and plant your rods through it. You can cover this with some bark chippings or
gravel to create a dry area for the children to sit and play.

Willow fences are easy to construct and can be made to any height; low to
delineate a special area or high to screen an unsightly view. They are also an
effective windbreak, which gently slows down the wind as it passes through.

Plant sturdy uprights 45cm deep (18”) and about 20-50cm (10-20”) apart. Plant
slightly thinner “diagonals” in pairs evenly spaced out between the posts to
create a criss-cross diagonal pattern. Tie the diagonals together where they cross
each other and prune to the required height.

I have seen some excellent tunnels in school grounds, much appreciated by
children. Low tunnels will appeal to young children as they are not accessible to
adults. They are straight forward to construct, think of it as two parallel fences
bent over and joined at the top. Make them long or short, wiggly or straight to
suit your area.
Most importantly, enjoy your willow projects and if you are a bit artistic you
can make beautiful living or non-living sculptures.

Fact box
Willow has been used for making fences and hurdles for centuries. There are
also records of willow being laid on the ground in ancient times to form
trackways over boggy terrain. Willow has also been used for medicinal
purposes and records indicate that Hippocrates used willow bark for pain relief
in 400BC. In more modern times, (early 19th century) the active ingredient,
salicylic acid was isolated and an artificially synthesised form of this is the
active ingredient in today‟s aspirin.

For more information contact :
                          Anna Williams, 01248-360981, 07900267546,
                          Email : annawilliams@wildlifetrustswales.org
                         376 High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1YE
or visit : www.gardenforwildlife.co.uk / www.garddiobywydgwyllt.co.uk


September/autumn is a good time to sow a perennial native wildflower meadow.
You will need a bit of patience as establishment of wildflowers can be slow.
Don‟t expect flowers until year 2, unless you mix in some annual cornflower
seeds. The reward is worth waiting for though, and you are helping our wild
flora and fauna at the same time. One of my favourite areas in our garden is a
wildflower bank which has taken a few years to look as stunning as it did this
year with cowslips, lady‟s mantle, vetches, mallows, bird‟s foot trefoil, ox-eye
daisies all inter mixed in nature‟s own beautiful casual design.

The success of a perennial wildflower meadow lies in the soil, they will
establish best on poor soils, light sub-soils, grits, gravels and limey soils. The
trouble for most gardeners is that we must do exactly the opposite of what we
would normally do. We must reduce the soil fertility as a rich, fertile soil
encourages strong growth of grasses and weed species which will compete with
your wildflowers and win!

You can reduce your soil fertility by stripping off the turf and 50mm of topsoil
to reveal the subsoil. Use the turf to make a feature and sow corn- field annuals
on this richer soil. It is essential to get rid of weeds such as docks, thistles and
nettles before sowing begins. Time clearing the weeds is well spent, as you
would waste your wildflower seeds in a weedy soil.

The best sowing time is autumn (as in nature itself) or early spring. The flowers
you can grow will depend on where you live. You will have to choose flowers
to suit the site and the soil (sunny/shady, wet/dry, acid/calcareous). Have a look
around to see what grows locally and take advice from seed companies
specialising in native flowers such as Landlife Wildflowers, Liverpool. They
have a very useful website: www.wildflower.org.uk, or phone 015-7371819 for
advice and to buy seed mixes and wildflower plants. Use a pure wildflower mix,
experience at Landlife has shown that you don‟t need to sow grasses as they
will come in anyway and your flowers will get a head start.

Once you have established your meadow it is vital that you cut it every year,
otherwise it will soon loose its variety of flowers. There are 2 main options for
the timing of your cut. If you favour a spring flowering meadow, delay the cut
until mid/late summer. If you want a summer flowering meadow you should
cut it in late March/early April and then again in late August/September when
most of the flowers have shed their seeds. Leave the cuttings to dry and drop

any remaining seeds for a few days and then remove them. If you are planting a
small area it is worth hand weeding it as necessary.

Wildflower plug plants
If you only have a small area of grass where you want to introduce wildflowers,
another option is to buy plug plants. This is a much more expensive option; you
need about 5-9plants/square metre. You also need to remove the grass around
the plants and better still to scarify the whole area so the grasses won‟t swamp
the flowers.

Cowslips and primroses are good to plant as plug plants, as well as wild
strawberry and lady‟s smock. Plug plants could also work well in wet areas,
planting yellow iris, ragged robin, purple loosestrife, marsh marigold (needs
space), meadowsweet and water avens.

For further information contact :-
              Anna Williams, tel 01248-360981
                   or e-mail: annawilliams@wildlifetrustswales.org

                     ARABLE WEEDS IN GWYNEDD

The term „arable weeds‟ perhaps isn‟t the most useful of terms when it comes to
conveying the need for conservation action for this group of plants! Arable
plants, or „weeds‟ as they are referred to, have been perceived as an „enemy‟
since the dawn of agriculture and, in fact, many of these plants have been
following crop-farming people around the world since farming began!

However, in the last 50 years, the shift from mixed farming (livestock and
arable) to livestock-only farming has meant that there are few lowland arable
fields left in Wales, particularly in Gwynedd. Because of this, and several other
factors, many arable plants have declined during this time and, as a result, some
of the rarer species are now on the „Red Data List‟ of threatened species.

Several of the rarer arable plants are „archaeophytes‟, weeds that arrived here
before 1500AD and are the plants most closely associated with arable land.
Archaeological records (largely of seeds and pollen) show that archaeophytes
have been continuously present for periods ranging up to approximately 6,000
years. Arable weeds have therefore followed crop farming around the world,

and their history is in effect the history of the spread of farming people and the
development of farming systems.

The status of some arable plants is now known to be of particular conservation
concern. They play a very important role in arable habitats yet are the fastest
declining group of plants in the UK. The main reasons for this decline are the
widespread and increased use of herbicides and fertilizers, more efficient seed
cleaning techniques and also a general reduction in arable farming as more
farms specialise in pastoral systems. The arable plants are generally to be found
along the margins of the crop, particularly in areas where herbicide spray may
not have reached or parts where the crop has failed. A species-rich arable flora
also provides the foundations of a diverse farming environment by providing
feeding and nesting sites for a variety of farmland birds, including
yellowhammers and corn buntings. It also provides food and shelter for
butterflies, beetles, bumblebees and other insects, which in turn are also an
important food source for nestlings.

Due to the evident importance of arable habitats, Gwynedd Council
commissioned John Harold to carry out a survey in 2005 which looked at arable
fields throughout Gwynedd. The County contains a relatively low proportion of
Welsh arable land (3%) compared to east and south Wales, where traditionally
more arable crops were grown. However, the soils on the Llŷn Peninsula
(especially along the coastline and on the southern side) are good quality
agricultural land and, historically, much of Gwynedd‟s arable crops were grown
here. This survey showed that arable land in Gwynedd still supported important
assemblages of arable plants. Some of the important arable plants seen in the
survey were Weasel‟s Snout Misopates orontium, Corn Marigold
Chrysanthemum segetum, Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis and Field
Woundwort (Stachys arvensis) all of which are Red Data listed plants.

Following on from this survey, and the importance of arable weeds in
Gwynedd, the Natur Gwynedd Partnership carried out another survey this year
with the help of volunteers. This survey aimed to identify new sites of botanical
interest, and re-visited a few of the 2005 sites – with arable weeds you never
know what might turn up from one year to the next! A workshop was initially
held at Henfaes, Abergwyngregyn, in June to introduce the project to the
volunteers and get to know some of the plants and this was excellently led by
John Harold and Wendy McCarthy. Then, between July and the end of August,
volunteers visited a total of 22 sites (from a total of 15 farms) surveying for
arable weeds to establish their status in Gwynedd.

As in the 2005 survey, Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis and Field Woundwort
Stachys arvensis were seen in the majority of the fields while a few other

notable species were also seen at some sites. Corn Marigold Chrysanthemum
segetum was found at a single location, while Sharp-leaved Fluellen Kickxia
elatine was found at 3 different locations. Weasel‟s Snout Misopates orontium
was again present at a re-visited site. Because only a limited number of sites
could be visited, no significant conclusions could be made on the status of some
of the arable weeds. However, the survey identified a couple of new sites where
Red Data species are present and also showed that Corn Spurrey and Field
Woundwort (also Red Data species because of recent declines), are still present
in the majority of the arable fields on the Llŷn. The survey also showed the
diverse assemblage of arable weeds that exists on the arable land in the area.

In terms of the conservation of arable weeds, the recommendations of John
Harold‟s survey in 2005 still hold true whereby the plants, as well as the birds
and insects which rely on the habitat, would benefit from allowing a 2m to 4m
unsown strip (re-ploughed each spring) to:-

      •      allow a diversity of weeds to grow and seed
      •      encourage an abundance of invertebrates (essential for many
       •     create open and varied vegetation for farmland birds to feed in.
Particularly significant are the wildlife benefits – for birds and insects in
particular – from cultivated but unsown strips along the field margins; such
margins could contribute greatly towards regenerating the lost biodiversity of
arable farmland.

The information gathered from both surveys contribute greatly to the Natur
Gwynedd Local Biodiversity Action Plan, where „Arable Field Margins‟ has
been identified as a habitat of particular wildlife importance.

          If you would like more information on arable plants or on the surveys,
          then please contact         Bryn Griffiths on 01286 679381
                          Email :     bioamrywiaeth@gwynedd.gov.uk)
                          or go to : www.gwynedd.gov.uk/biodiversity.

                                                                Bryn Griffiths,
                                                           Biodiversity Officer,
                                                            Gwynedd Council.

                      Conserving the Welsh Cotoneaster

Wild Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster cambricus) is also known as the Great Orme
Berry or reigafal (rock apple). It has attractive grey-green oval leaves that are
woolly beneath and measure 15-40mm. Pink-white flowers around 3mm in
diameter appear from April to June in clusters of 2-4. The berries are small (5-
8mm across) and bright orange-red in colour, resembling a miniature apple. The
Great Orme is the only known locality for this plant in the UK where it grows
on isolated and exposed cliff ledges. The Great Orme Country Park is managed
by the Countryside Service of Conwy County Borough Council and is a popular
site with both local people and tourists, resulting in receiving over 600,000
visitors a year. A large area of the site is also a Site of Special Scientific
                                                         It     was      originally
                                                         thought that this plant
                                                         may be Cotoneaster
                                                         intergerrimus,      which
                                                         may        have      been
                                                         introduced to the UK.
                                                         However recent genetic
                                                         evidence from Kew
                                                         Gardens has shown it to
                                                         be a native species in its
                                                         own right, Cotoneaster
                                                         cambricus. When the
                                                         plant was first recorded
                                                         in     the     eighteenth
                                                         century,      it      was
                                                         described as being
                                                         widely distributed at the
                                                         locality but by 1978 it
        Wild Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster cambricus          had declined to six
                                                         individuals. Today the
population has since been supplemented by the introduction of new plants
grown in cultivation.
As well as being listed as a species in the Conwy Local Biodiversity Action
Plan Cotoneaster cambricus is also designated as a UK Biodiversity Action
Plan species – highlighting the need for action to conserve this species.

Conwy‟s Countryside Service has played a primary role in supporting and
implementing the conservation action for this species through the National Wild
Cotoneaster Steering Group, along with the Countryside Council for Wales,

        Botanical Society for the British Isles and local enthusiasts. The Conservation
        action carried out includes:

           monitoring the individual plants each year
           finding suitable locations for seedling plants
            to be planted in the wild and providing
            aftercare for those transplanted
           keeping the location of the plants
            confidential in order to protect them
           researching into the possible history and
            origin of the species
           successfully propagating the berries from
            the population to rear seedling plants
           depositing seed with national seed bank
           monitoring the individual plants to
            investigate the effects of grazing by the herd
            of goats that live on the Great Orme
           Rock climbing is controlled by a voluntary
            agreement with the British Mountaineering
            Council to ban climbing from certain cliffs     Propagation experiments of Wild
            to protect some of the wild cotoneaster          Cotoneaster. The wire mesh is
                                                           needed to protect the young plants
           Wild Cotoneaster plants have been sent to
                                                                 maintain Kashmir of the
            Kew, Ness and of course Treborth Botanic Gardens tofrom the specimensGoats. plant
            outside of the Great Orme

Through these actions the Wild Cotoneaster of the Great Orme has now increased its
population by over 4 times the 1978 level and will hopefully continue to grow. The
project has also played a vital role helping local people and visitors to realize its
importance without compromising the safety of this fascinating plant, ensuring that this
very rare species continues to thrive.

                                                                             Becky Groves.

Stop Press !
     Air layering of several plants was carried out by staff of the National Botanic
     Garden of Wales in April 2008.

                           PLANTS AND PEOPLE

After many weeks of planning, The Friends of Treborth were successful in
securing a magnificent grant of £10,000 from the European Social Fund. This
was used to establish a pioneering project to involve the local community in
exploring aspects of „Plants and People‟ - in theory and in practice. It was
decided that a maximum of fifteen people would be recruited to take part in a
series of interactive sessions and field trips primarily based at Treborth.
Recruiting the participants was the easiest part of the job and we were
oversubscribed within a few weeks of putting up posters; obviously a reflection
of Treborth‟s reputation! The group that was selected have turned out to be an
extremely enthusiastic (and talkative!) team with a wide range of ages, skills
and previous experience working with plants. They have been a fantastic group
to work with.

The course started in January with Nigel giving an introduction to Treborth and
explaining the importance of Botanic Gardens. Everyone was obviously
inspired as they all returned two days later for the second session! Judith
Hughes and Ann Wood then took the lead with three consecutive sessions on
propagation, composting and growing and harvesting. Everyone thoroughly
enjoyed sowing their own lettuce seeds and a visit to Judith‟s small holding.
Dave Shaw followed on the theme of food plants and shared his expertise
during two „horticulture and agriculture‟ sessions and a trip to Henfaes Field
Station. Julian Bridges has been our trusty minibus driver throughout the
course. He also spent time with the group giving a tour around Pen y Fridd and
showing us crop plants from around the world. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed
seeing „everyday‟ plants such as coffee, cotton and rice.

Some recent ecology graduates, including myself, were given the chance to lead
the group for some of the sessions. I introduced the diversity of the plant world
during one session; this was then expanded upon by Sam Amy. Sam shared her
skills in plant identification and knowledge of angiosperms. The most hands on
session we have had was the „uses of plants‟ led by Tom Little and Pat Denne.
Tom showed the group how to make fire with a traditional fire drill, using
different plant materials as tinder. A few members of the group had a go and
even got some smoke out of the drill! Pat had lots of different plant fibres and
dyes on show including a big vat of indigo dye and impressed us all with the
variety of plants that can be used as natural dyes.

We have also had valuable help from CCW throughout the course with two of
their staff leading field trips to Newborough and Cwm Idwal (Graham Williams
and Barbara Jones respectively) and two of the interactive sessions (Paul
Brazier – identification and use of algae, Clive Walmsly – climate change). The

trip to Cwm Idwal was particularly exciting as the weather proved to be
changeable throughout the day. As we climbed towards the Devils Kitchen we
had to suffer hail and rain; everyone‟s spirits were kept high with Barbara
pointing out rarities including purple saxifrage in flower.

We even had Prof. Stephen Hopper give a personal description of the
biodiversity of South Western Australia during his visit to Treborth. Although
he only had 10 minutes to spare, it was a stimulating and inspiring account of a
world biodiversity hotspot.

The benefits of the project extend not only to the participants but to the
organisers, lecturers and the Garden itself. It has been a wonderful opportunity
for Treborth to excel in what it does best; education, community outreach and
natural history. There have been a number of enquiries from local community
groups and schools as to whether the course will be run again. If funding
allowed, it would be easy to fill a succession of Plants and People courses based
at Treborth. The current project has been a huge success and I hope that The
Friends are able to acquire funding to repeat the course in the near future.

                                                               Sophie Williams
                                                             (Project Manager)



Volunteers provide invaluable help in maintaining the Garden. However there are
many potential hazards and volunteers must implement safe working practices in
order to protect them-selves and others. Senior volunteers have a particular
responsibility to show a good example to student volunteers.

We must be seen to be working safely at all times, and recognize that methods of
working that we may consider safe in our own gardens may not be acceptable for
working in public places such as Treborth Botanic Garden.

If safe working practices are not followed then this could invalidate our insurance
with BTCV, and may even lead to the university's stopping the Friends' activities at


      Take care not to trip over, and be careful using tools, in or near the glasshouses
      - especially inside the glasshouses where conditions can be cramped.

      It is easy to slip on wet grass - be careful, particularly on the slopes and around
      the pond area.

      Look after yourself - maintain body fluids and fuel, drink water regularly and
      eat energy snacks when needed. Take regular breaks and don't do dangerous
      work when you are tired.


      Walk forwards, never backwards, and keep an eye out for tree stumps, roots
      and brambles that can easily be fallen over.

      Be careful of hazards at eye level such as branches or brambles.

      Do not stand where a tree or branch is likely to fall.

      Do not stand behind anyone using axes or billhooks.

      All woodland work must be done at ground level - do not climb trees or use

      Keep woodland floor clear of debris - don't let it build up as it quickly becomes
      a real tripping hazard!

      Ensure no one is near enough to be hurt by falling branches or flying tools.


     Clothes should be tough enough to give adequate protection from weather and

     Always wear boots or stout shoes which have a good non-slip tread, preferably
     with strong toecaps to protect feet from dropped objects.

     Always use gloves and goggles when dealing with brambles, cacti or thorny
     shrubs (except when using axes or billhooks - see below).

     Always use a safety helmet when lopping branches or felling trees. Hats are
     optional but are highly recommended when tackling brambles. Safety helmets
     should be worn when felling trees or large branches.


     Check that your tools are sound with no loose or chipped handles. Clean them
     after use.

     Use tools as instructed - ask a supervisor if you are not sure.

     Gloves should not be worn when using axes or billhooks and these edge tools
     should not be used when conditions are wet.

     Carry long handled tools at your side, held at the point of balance.

     When using a spade or fork keep your weight over the tool to push it down
     with maximum force.

     When using a shovel, avoid twisting your body to deposit material. Use your
     arms and legs to do the lifting and moving.

     Do not leave any tools lying on the ground where they can be tripped over.
     Take particular care with rakes. They should never be left on the ground with
     prongs facing upwards.

     Never cut towards your body with an edge tool

                   AND UNDERSTOOD IT.
              Or sign, date and hand in the insert in this News Letter


Many members of the Friends enjoy bringing their dogs to Treborth to walk
around the Garden and enjoy the peace and quiet. However, over the last ten
years or so the numbers of dog walkers has increased and this is causing some
problems, such as damage to the plants, disturbance to wildlife, and dog
excrement. Your Committee feels that these problems need to be addressed but
do not want to ban dogs entirely (as is the case in many other botanic gardens).

Damage to plants - Dogs off their leads in the main part of the garden will
sometimes run through the beds, into the pond, and through the long meadow
plots. In the spring and summer this can cause considerable damage to plants,
for example the orchids in the meadow plots. Some owners even encourage this
by throwing sticks and balls for their dogs.

Disturbance to wildlife - The margins of the garden and the woodland are
havens for wildlife, particularly birds and small mammals. Dogs rushing
through the undergrowth can disturb these creatures. A study in Australia last
year found that there was a significant drop in bird numbers where dogs were
being walked.

Dog excrement - Many people are working in the garden and woodland -
volunteers are gardening, students are conducting research and children come
for fungus forays and other types of study and exploration. It is very unpleasant
to find a pile of dog excrement, and of course there is the health issue because
of the possibility of disease such as toxicara which can cause blindness and liver
disorders. We have discussed with the university the possibility of having dog
waste bins but at the moment this is not part of their policy of grounds
management. We are therefore reliant on people being responsible and picking
up and taking away their dogs‟ excrement.

Several ideas have been put forward to deal with these issues. Putting up notices
at the main car parking points is an obvious one which we will implement, and
we may produce a leaflet explaining the issues and asking for people‟s
cooperation. Designated dog walking paths would be another option.

Dr James Scourse, a Friend and a dog walker, has offered to chair a public
meeting in the near future to explore these issues further. When the date for this
has been arranged will put up posters in the Garden. However if you have any
views now that you would like to put forward, please write to me at the Garden
or email me at info@treborthbotanicgarden.org.uk.

                                                                    Sarah Edgar

                       Our Plant Display Pilot Project

In June 2007, whilst working for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH),
I relocated offices when they transferred to an exciting new building for
Bangor-The Environment Centre Wales. The building has been built to
encompass many environmentally friendly features such as rainwater
harvesting, photovoltaic panels and geo-thermal under floor heating. After
several months of settling in to the new surroundings the organisation‟s
attention turned to the finishing touches-the plants! As keen supporters of
Treborth Botanic Garden, CEH asked if we would help them adorn their new
workspace with some beautiful plants. Myself, Rachel Hughes and Becky
Groves agreed to work together as a team with Nigel as our consultant and to
treat it as an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of Treborth. We could also
put into action an idea that had long sat on the list called „ways to develop
Treborth Botanic Garden‟ and hopefully raise some good funds too!

Our brief was fairly open, with all of us agreed that the „standard office plant
look‟ was definitely off the agenda. It was an opportunity to be creative so we
set to work looking at the spaces where plants were required. There were four
distinct areas of the building where plants were needed; on the ground floor
there are two different seating areas, one in the compact communal area used by
staff and visitors and one to the right of the reception area in the spacious
atrium. In addition, there were two different workspaces-the two meeting rooms
on the ground floor and the open plan office space where CEH is located. After
several discussions and much research we put some ideas forward for a planting
scheme utilising mainly bamboos!! Nigel contacted Jungle Giants and started to
investigate bamboos that would be happy in this environment and several weeks
later off we trundled to Jungle Giants in Shropshire to pick from their wonderful

The first nerve racking moment was watching the huge bamboo, Borinda
lushiensis get wheeled into its new home and now affectionately known as „the
big bugger‟. It was almost 20ft tall and we then set about potting it into place
with our able helpers Paul Lewis and Rowan Hughes and Nigel. The other
bamboos were taken to Pen y Ffridd whilst we found suitable containers.

The final push came when we discovered that a very important person was
coming to open the new building and all the plants had to be in place. A frenzy
of activity ensued and our able team sourced planters, put the final touches to
two custom made oak twisted planters, chose „plant of the month‟ for the
reception desk feature and delivered them all in time for the open day visit. We
had some intriguing design issues to overcome including how to keep the bog

plants happy in their wooden planters. The final assemblage of plants were as

Borinda lushiensis                         Qionzhuea tumidinoda
Fargesia albocera                          Fargesia scabrida
Yushania maculata                          Shibatea kumasasa
Chimonobambusa marmorea                    Carex comans
Fargesia jiuzhaigou                        Cyperus papyrus

Little did we know that the visitor would be Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP!
Dr Bridget Emmett, head of CEH Bangor welcomed Prime Minister Gordon
Brown who was accompanied by Betty Williams MP, Vice Chancellor of
Bangor University, Professor Merfyn Jones and Professor Alan Thorpe Chief
Executive of NERC and other VIPs (see cover).

Our display was extremely well received, and we set about putting in a regular
maintenance regime for watering and monitoring of the plants.

We would like to thank all those mentioned above and everyone else who
played a part in this project including Tom Cockbill, Julian Bridges and Louise
Bastock. Finally thanks go to the friends of Treborth Botanic Garden who
supported us throughout this adventure.

                                                                  Jackie Read

    Report on Professor Hopper’s Bangor Visit 29th Feb – 4 Mar 2008

Bangor University recently welcomed Professor Steven Hopper FLS, Director
of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He and his wife Chris, both Australian,
were making their first visit to Wales and during their 4 day stay were shown
many sites of historic and wildlife interest by their hosts, the staff and
volunteers at the University‟s Treborth Botanic Garden.

Professor Hopper is a world expert on plant conservation and he addressed this
topic when he delivered the Len Beer Lecture in the University‟s Main Arts
Lecture Theatre on March 3rd. This prestigious annual lecture series
acknowledges the horticultural expertise and plantsmanship of Len Beer, one
time curator of Treborth Botanic Garden. It is organised and financed jointly by
the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden and the N. Wales branch of the Alpine
Garden Society.

In his address Professor Hopper highlighted the natural plant diversity of his
homeland, SW Australia, and contrasted its evolutionary history with that of the
UK and most of Europe which represent much younger assemblages of plants.
Geologically old and stable regions of our planet frequently exhibit high rates of
endemism and as such represent priority areas for conservation. Professor
Hopper explained how local landscape features inland of Perth such as isolated
hills known as inselbergs regularly harbour outstanding diversity including
many species of the Myrtle and Protea families as well as orchids and
carnivorous plants. Such „oases‟ of plant luxuriance are however very
vulnerable to extinction either by direct habitat loss, overgrazing or fire, or
through less obvious man induced factors such as the unwitting spread of alien
plant propagules and disease. Professor Hopper emphasised the need to keep
local plant hotspots intact and safeguard them from the global erosion of
diversity executed by ever increasing connectivity.

This was undoubtedly a landmark lecture, a conclusion expressed by Professor
John Good, President of the N Wales branch of the Alpine Garden Society, in
his vote of thanks, and he echoed the views of the 250 strong audience when he
voiced the opinion that Kew is clearly in capable scientific hands under Prof.
Hopper‟s Directorship and set to become an even more important voice in
shaping global efforts to safeguard our plant heritage.

The evening included presentations to three Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden
for their exceptional voluntary support. Ann Wood, who lives near Penmon on
Anglesey has been closely involved with Treborth for 12 years, including many
years as Secretary of the Friends. Sophie Williams recently graduated from
Bangor University with a First Class Degree in Ecology and is about to embark

on an M.Sc Course in Plant Conservation at Imperial College, London; Sophie
has been a catalyst for the recent resurgence of student interest in Treborth.
Becky Groves is another outstanding former Bangor student and for 5 years an
energetic Biodiversity Officer in Conwy - like Sophie she is leaving N Wales, to
rejoin a family horticultural business in Dorset and we wish her and Sophie

During their stay Prof Hopper and his wife met many of the students and
volunteers involved at Treborth Botanic Garden during a very happy and
informal visit to the Garden. To mark the occasion Prof. Hopper was invited to
plant a Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima) in the arboretum at Treborth; this a
gift from Kew‟s own Horticultural Diploma students in thanks for the field
course provided for them each autumn by Bangor University‟s botanic garden
staff and its Friends. He also formally launched a new information trail created
by Tom Cockbill, a final year student at Bangor. It features so called living
fossil trees which still survive to this day and whose ancestry is revealed in
rocks up to 200 million years old – the trail highlights 12 such living fossils in
the Garden at Treborth including, appropriately, the most recently discovered
example, Wollemi Pine from SE Australia.

Kew‟s research interests cover many aspects of botany and one new area of
enquiry is restoration ecology. Professor Hopper took the opportunity to visit
the new Environment Centre Wales Building (recently opened by Prime
Minister Gordon Brown) on the main university campus in Bangor where he
met with the Director, Dr Bridget Emmet and her staff to learn first hand what
Bangor has to offer in this field.

Excursions were made to Anglesey and Snowdonia at the weekend, including a
guided tour of one of Wales‟s best known gardens at Bodnant in the company of
the curator, Troy Smith. Conwy Castle and town provided our Australian
guests with an instructive and very enjoyable introduction to Wales‟s historic
past, while Cwm Idwal was the perfect place to sample montane plants amidst a
fully glaciated landscape, something SW Australia has never had to endure.
Here Professor Hopper and his wife really could follow in the footsteps of
Charles Darwin who made several visits in the first half of the nineteenth
century. One of the highlights of Professor Hopper‟s visit was the finding of
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) in full flower among the boulders
below Twll Ddu, the Devil‟s Kitchen.

En route to Llanberis a short stop was made at the Penygwryd Hotel and a
chance for the Hoppers to admire the Everest expedition memorabilia on
display in this very warm and friendly establishment. In Llanberis the main
focus of attention was the legacy of slate quarrying and its environmental

impact. The final view of Snowdonia, from the Cwm y Glo end of Llyn Padarn
was made all the more enchanting by the coincidence of beams of sunshine
reflecting off summits topped with snow.

Other excursions were made to Penmon and to Plas Newydd on Anglesey, both
blessed with sunshine and fine views of Snowdonia. Before leaving on Tuesday
morning Professor Hopper and his wife addressed an extramural class at
Treborth engaged in a course entitled Plants and People, devised and organised
by the Friends of Treborth and delivered under the directorship of Sophie
Williams. This is hopefully the first of many public courses from the Garden.
There was just enough time to visit Crug Farm for a guided tour by the owners
and expert plant hunters, Bleddyn and Sue Wyn Jones.

The Hoppers certainly left with fond memories of NW Wales and a desire to
maintain close links with the region, its University, Botanic Garden and loyal
band of students and Friends!

                                                                 Nigel Brown

If someone asked you to name a hotspot of biodiversity in Brazil, what would
you answer? You might be tempted to suggest the Amazon Rain forest, but in
fact this undisputedly rich biome is surprisingly not on the list! This is because
the definition of „hotspot‟ includes not only exceptional levels of plant
endemism but also serious levels of habitat loss, and on these criteria, it‟s the
Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado that qualify. Whereas much of the destruction in
the Atlantic Forest took place during the early settlement phase of Brazil, and
measures are being taken to preserve the remnants, the Cerrado on the other
hand is not valued and has been earmarked for agricultural expansion. This is
seen as an integral part of economic development – sacrifice the Cerrado to save
the Amazon. Clearing native woodland in the Cerrado provides charcoal for the
steel industry and farmland, especially for pasture, soy beans and, more
recently, sugar cane for alcohol. For all the talk about the destruction of the
Amazon Rain Forest, the scale and rapidity of clearing is far greater in the
Most people outside Brazil have never heard of the Cerrado, even though it
covers a massive 2 million km2 - a fifth of the area of Brazil, the equivalent of
the combined area of Europe‟s 5 biggest countries! Composed of extensive
plateaus dissected by numerous rivers, it offers a wide range of habitats for
different plant communities - from grassland to closed canopy forest
(Cerradão). Climatic conditions are extreme, with abundant rainfall (over
1000mm) for about six months of the year followed by a hot dry season. A large
range of soil types is found, the most common being the highly weathered red
and yellow latosols. These have good physical properties and are deep, but are
low in organic matter and acidic, with levels of aluminium that are toxic to most
cultivated plants. These less than ideal properties have restricted farming
activities until recently, but support abundant biodiversity. With over 7, 000
species of vascular plants, 44% of which are endemic, the Cerrado is the
world‟s richest woodland-savannah. Diversity among woody species is
especially high, with averages of about 70 woody species per hectare and
coefficients of diversity very high from one area to another in the Cerrado sensu
stricto (open woodland with trees up to 3m). For example, in a study of 315
sites led by botanists from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh1, a total of 914

species were identified, of which only 300 occurred in more than 8 localities
and 614 where found in only one locality!
The native flora exhibits a range of adaptations found for each stage in the life
cycle to the severe dry season and the poor soils. Various survival strategies are
typically, seeds shed at the start of the rainy season are wind dispersed and
germinate quickly, whereas those produced later in the season remain dormant
until the start of the following season. Priority is given to root growth, giving
the impression that seedling growth is slow. Seedling root-shoot dry matter
ratios vary between 1:1 and 9:1! This underground growth may be in the form
of extensive root systems to tap into deep water reserves during the dry season,
or storage organs. This characteristic means that carbon reserves in the soil are
relatively high. Underground stems and roots are often highly resistant to
degradation too, and may retain the ability to resprout for long periods. Several
species have been observed resprouting in land ploughed up after being used as
pasture for 25 years! Resprouting after fire is also a characteristic of many
woody plants, and gives rise to unusual shaped trees. Whether it is this
phenomenon or aluminium toxicity that is the main cause of the typical twisted
and asymmetrical forms that are the hallmark of the Cerrado is still disputed.
While survival during the dry season is important, water is often available at
depths that are accessible to most adult trees (2 metres) and some common
xeromorphic features such as thick cuticles and suberization have been
attributed to nutrient deficiency rather than to water stress.
One very impressive feature of cerrado trees is the magnificent flowering
displays they put on during the dry season, where at ground level all is parched
and lifeless. Species of the genus Tabebuia, for example, commonly known as
Ipê, having lost their leaves, become ablaze with flowers, white, pink or yellow,
brilliant against the bright blue cloudless sky. But flowering is not limited to
this season, flowers can be seen in the Cerrado all year round.
Of the plant families present in the Cerrado, the Leguminosae is outstanding,
representing over a third of the species in many areas. Leguminoseae-
Caesalpinoideae and Leguminosae-Mimosaceae are particularly well
represented. Many produce edible fruits and nuts: Dipterix alata (Baru nut) is a
tasty nut with similar beneficial properties to olive oil; Hymenaea stignocarpa
(Jatoba) produces a nutritious pulp around its seeds. The Bignoniaceae are also

well represented. The Cerrado is a the centre of diversity for cassava (Manhiot
esculenta), but this diversity is being quickly lost. Of the 41 sites of interest
identified in the 1970s only one remained in 20042.. The cerrado is also home
to wild relatives of other crop plants, such as pineapple (Ananas comosus,
Bromeliaceae), cashew nut (Anacardium ocientale, Anacardiaceae), passion
fruit (Passiflora edulis, Passifloraceae) custard apple and soursop (Anona
reticullata and A. muricata, Anonaceae), as well as many decorative native
bromeliads and orchids.
People have lived in the Cerrado for centuries, first the native Indians then
isolated communities of escaped slaves and other marginal groups, using the
native plants for many of their daily needs. Over 200 useful plants have been
catalogued, some of which are now being produced commercially, and some
whose fruits and seeds are collected from the wild (extractivism) for specialized
markets (eg. fair trade, cosmetics, local ice cream producers, specialist oils). In
the past, communities were small and the pressure on natural resources low.
Government policy to occupy central Brazil, with the construction of the capital
Brasilia and an extensive road network, along with the development of soil
amendments to correct the nutritional status and acidity and adapted crop
varieties, have ushered in large scale mechanized agriculture on a massive scale.
Estimates vary as to the extent that native vegetation has been lost (from 40% to
70%) but there is no doubt that is ongoing, at a rate of over 1% per year
(imagine an area the size of Somerset, Cornwell, Devon and Dorset together,
every year!). With increasing world demand for soya beans (exported for animal
feed) and bio-fuels such as alcohol and bio-diesel, this is set to increase.
The question as to how to preserve biodiversity while promoting economical
development is not limited to the Cerrado, though perhaps the scale and urgency
of the problem here are exceptional. Some plant communities, such as gallery
forests, are protected by strict laws controlling land use near rivers in order to
limit erosion, but others on flatter land, more suitable to agriculture, seem
destined to disappear. Less than 2% of the Cerrado is protected in conservation
units such as national parks and biological reserves and many of the most
endangered species are not found within these parks. Solutions to slow down
the rate of clearing exist : intensify production on the land that is already
cleared, and bring back into production the estimated 45,000km2 of degraded
land that has been abandoned due to mismanagement. While these are certainly

possible, unfortunately they will only be done if economically viable, which at
present is not the case. Where there‟s a will there‟s a way…but minority public
concern seems not to have sparked that political will yet.
                                                          For those who would like to see
                                                          some of the plants mentioned in the
                                                          text, I have donated a book to the
                                                          Friends of Treborth entitled
                                                          Flowers and Fruits of the Cerrado.
                                                          Ask Nigel!

                                                          More information can be found at
                                                          Emma Marris 2005 Conservation in
                                                          Brazil:The forgotten ecosystem
                                                          Nature 437, 944 - 945
                                                          Emma Marris 2006 Sugar cane and
                                                          ethanol: Drink the best and drive
                                                          the rest Nature 444, 670 - 672

        Photo : Cattleya walkeriana Gardn
                                                               Lynn Erselius Petithuguenin

1                                                     2
 Ratter, J., S. Bridgewater & J.F. Ribeiro.             Nassar, N.M.A. 2004. Keeping options alive
2003. Analysis of the floristic composition of        and threat of extinction. A survey of wild
the Brazilian Cerrado vegetation. III:                cassava survival in its natural hábitat.
comparison of the woody vegetation of 376             Available from
areas.                                                www.geneconserve.pro.br/artigo_2.htm
Edinburgh                                             (acessado em 13 de janeiro de 2005).
Journal of Botany 60: 57-109.

                          THE SIMPLE OAK TREE

On the 3rd of March Professor Hopper, Director of Kew Royal Botanic
Gardens, planted a Quercus acutissima sapling that was given to Treborth as
thanks for a field course provided for students of the Kew Diploma.

The arrival of this specimen provides a good excuse to learn a little more about
a genus which is perhaps overlooked because of our knowledge of the oaks
native to Britain: Q. petraea and Q. robur. These tall deciduous inhabitants of
our cool northern climate are not the norm in a genus comprising around 600

The 600 species of Oak - characterised as trees or shrubs with evergreen, semi-
evergreen or deciduous leaves, which can be entire toothed or lobed; with
hanging male catkins and female flowers grouped on stalks with a three celled
inferior ovary; with a nut (acorn) containing a single seed borne in a scaly
cupule- are separated in to four sections: Cerris (Turkey Oaks); Quercus
(White Oaks); Erythrobalanus (Red Oaks) and Protobalanus, depending on
differences in flower and acorn structure.

Section Cerris is distributed across southern Europe and South West Asia with
some species also found in Eastern Asia. Section Quercus is further divided into
two subsections: Quercus, found throughout North America to western tropical
South America, North Africa, Europe and Asia; and Mesobalanus, which is
similarly distributed to Cerris. Section Erythrobalanus is found in North,
Central and South America. Section Protobalanus is distributed in the
southwest United States and Mexico.

Here at Treborth we have representatives of the section Cerris: Q. acutissima,
Q. cerris, Q. coccifera; and section Quercus: Q. petraea, Q. robur and Q.

Q. acutissima is a semi-evergreen oak native to temperate Asia (China, Korea
and Japan) and tropical Asia (Bhutan, India, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand).
Its English names are Sawtooth or Sawthorn Oak. It will grow to between 15
and 20m tall with furrowed grey-brown, corky bark. Its lanceolate leaves are
glossy green and hairy beneath with shallow triangular teeth along its margin.
Come the autumn the leaves will gradually change to a beautiful golden brown
and will stay on the tree over winter. Its acorn will be borne in a hairy cup, and
will probably remain on the arboretum floor due to its bitter flavour! The
Treborth specimen takes pride of place at the end of the new Arboretum path.

Q. cerris (Turkey Oak) is a deciduous species native to central and southern
Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. It stands over 25m tall, and has deeply
fissured, greyish bark. Its leaves are pale green and greenish white beneath, with
broad triangular lobes. Its hairy acorn is enclosed for up to half its length in the
cupule. Take a walk along the woodland path, parallel to the Straits to see the
Turkey Oak at Treborth.

Q. coccifera native to the Mediterranean, this evergreen shrub or small tree (up
to 10m tall) was historically important as the food plant of the Kermes insect,
from which a red dye was obtained. The young shoots are densely hairy and
brown, maturing to a smooth grey bark. Its leaves can be flat or wavy and have
teeth that project as small spines, almost like holly leaves. A small specimen
resides in the cool house.

Q. frainetto is a large tree of over 30m with a smooth grey trunk which has
large leaves (up to 20cm long) that are persistently hairy beneath and deeply
lobed. It is native to southern Europe and Turkey. An example can be found in
the arboretum, near to the Taiwania, in the autumn its hand-sized leaves can be
seen all around this area.

Finally another interesting oak which many a dog walker has passed, is the
Lucombe Oak on the edge of the lawn next to the path to the boathouse. It is a
cross between Q. cerris and Q. suber. This cross was first observed by
horticulturalist Lucombe in the 1700‟s and although only descendants from his
original tree are true Lucombe Oaks, the term is usually used to describe any Q.
cerris x Q. suber hybrid. These hybrids will retain characteristics from each
“parent”, being evergreen like Q. suber and having similar leaves similar to Q.
cerris, although more deeply lobed.

                                                                     Louise Bastock
                                                             (Horticultural Student)



      I hereby confirm that I have read and understood the
                        Treborth Health and Safety Code of Practice

    Signed …………………………….           Date ………………………



      I hereby confirm that I have read and understood the
                        Treborth Health and Safety Code of Practice

    Signed …………………………….           Date ………………………



      I hereby confirm that I have read and understood the
                        Treborth Health and Safety Code of Practice

    Signed …………………………….           Date ………………………


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