Rare Chinese tree flowers in Cambridge after 30-year wait

Emmenopterys henryi at Cambridge University Botanic Garden Emmenopterys henryi at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Related Stories

A tree described as "rare in cultivation and extremely shy to flower" has bloomed for the first time in its 30-year history in Cambridge.

The Emmenopterys henryi at Cambridge University Botanic Garden is one of only five to have flowered since they were introduced in Britain in 1907.

Dr Tim Upson, acting director, said: "It's a super tree and to see a specimen in flower is extremely rare.

"It could be a once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-a-generation opportunity."

He said he hoped the tree would continue to bloom "for another two weeks or so".

Emmenopterys henryi has reddish-purple young shoots and red leaves in spring, which mature to a glossy green.

The first recorded flowering in the UK was at Wakehurst Place, Sussex in 1987, but it was another 23 years before it flowered again in 2010.

A specimen has also flowered twice at Borde Hill in Sussex.

The deciduous tree, which belongs to the coffee family, Rubiaceae, is native to central and south-west China.

Emmenopterys henryi was introduced into the UK by botanist Ernest Wilson in 1907 and named after the Irish plant hunter, Augustine Henry, who first discovered the tree in central China in 1887.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cambridgeshire



Min. Night 14 °C


  • RihannaCloud caution

    After celebrity leaks, what can you do to safeguard your photos?

  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?

  • John CurticePolls analysis

    Professor John Curtice analyses the latest polls on the referendum

  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?

  • Rack of lambFavourite feast

    Is the UK unusually fond of lamb and potatoes?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.