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Naming a new magnolia at Westonbirt Arboretum

30th June 2020

Categories: Latest News

If you came to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in early spring, you may have noticed the colourful floral displays of the magnolias. In early June, Forestry England announced that one of these magnolias had been identified as a new hybrid, Magnolia sprengeri × campbellii and for the past two weeks have being asking the public to vote on a new cultivar name for the magnolia.

Naming a new magnolia at Westonbirt Arboretum

The results are now in, and the new name for the Magnolia is:

‘Westonbirt Hope’
 
Staff at Westonbirt Arboretum will now register the tree under its new unique cultivar name, by which it will be known to the horticulture world and wider public.
 
This impressive tree has been growing for nearly 45 years, and is a Champion tree of the British Isles; it is an alluring sight for visitors to the arboretum whilst in flower during the spring.
 
The tree is a hybrid, and its parents are Magnolia campbellii and Westonbirt’s famous Magnolia sprengeri var. sprengeri 'Westonbirt Diva,' another showstopper at the arboretum in the early spring. In 1970 seeds from the ‘Westonbirt Diva’ were collected by the team at Westonbirt Arboretum, and the resulting young tree was planted in 1975. Magnolias propagated by seed usually take quite a long time to mature to flowering age so it wasn’t until 10-15 years later when the flowers first appeared that it was obvious that the plant was a hybrid. 
 
Andrew Smith, Forestry England’s Director at Westonbirt said:
 
‘The team here at the National Arboretum are very excited to be registering the new magnolia. Our mission here at the arboretum is to connect people with trees to improve quality of life, and so we felt that it was important to give the public the final decision on the cultivar name of the new hybrid; it’s a fantastic way to engage people with the stunning collection of trees here at the arboretum.
 
The tree has now finished flowering for this year, so visitors will have to wait until spring 2021 to see the tree is all its glory.’ 

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