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Hopetoun House tree nominated for The Woodland Trust Tree of the Year 2016

The Woodland Trust Tree of the Year competition 2016 has been launched and the unusual Morina Spruce at Hopetoun House has been nominated.

In 1818, a Scottish botanist called Dr George Govan brought back seeds of an exotic conifer species called the Morinda Spruce from the Himalayas.  These seeds were gifted to the Earl of Hopetoun whose head gardener James Smith grew them into seedlings.  James Smith knew that the conditions in Scotland might not be suitable for these special seedlings so he grafted them onto Norway spruce root stock to give them the best chance of survival, before planting them out into the  parkland in about 1821.  These first plantings are still growing in the same place today and are now 195 years old.

The official first seeding to be planted, is the one that is nominated for free of the year and forms part of an impressive collection of specimen trees contributing to the designed landscape at Hopetoun House.

In recognition of James Smith being the first person to ever grow these trees in the UK, the tree was named after him – Picea smithiana.

Please vote for the Morinda spruce and James Smith here.