With the increasing threat to most of our specimen ash trees from Chalara Ash Dieback, it becomes more and more valuable and interesting to record surviving examples of unusual variants. This Fraxinus excelsior at Grimsby's Scartho Road cemetery has a tell-tale graft and the small, twisted leaflets suggest that it was planted as 'Scolopendrifolia', a 19th century German selection which is frankly more of a curiosity than a thing of beauty. (The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have three survivors but these have almost entirely reverted.) How well this cultivar will withstand Chalara is yet to be tested, but it certainly offers a unique gene-pool.
This new champion was one of many remarkable trees found by Kevin Stanley and Owen Johnson when they measured trees in Grimsby's various parks, streets and cemeteries for the very first time this June.
(Photo by Owen Johnson)