A rare Chinese tree that has sat flowerless in a Cardiff park for more than a century has now blossomed for the first time “because of the heatwave”.
The creamy white flowering of Roath Park’s Emmenopterys henryi, which stunned the local wardens, is believed to be only the sixth such occasion since the species was introduced to the UK at the beginning of the twentieth century.
However, it has been joined by other blossoming Emmenopterys in Gloucestershire and Sussex, leading experts to conclude the sustained record temperatures are the cause.
The species was first planted in the Europe in 1907, having been sent from Hubei province by the renowned plant collector Ernest Henry Wilson.
Despite a “few hundred” under cultivation at various show gardens across the UK, most have never blossomed, according to Tony Kirkham, head of the Arboretum at Kew.
The first recorded British flowering was in 1987 at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, and before this summer the most recent flowering was in 1912 in Cambridge.
“There are probably more flowering this year than in the last hundred years put together,” said Mr Kirkham, who wrote a book on Ernest Henry Wilson.
“It’s incredible because they are beautiful plants and it might be another 20 years until we see another flower.
“It must be to do with this heat.”