The sapling was planted at a ceremony led by Professor Dave Hosken.

Rare oak hybrid takes root at Penryn Campus

A rare variety of oak tree is the newest addition to the stunning gardens at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus.

The special sapling was planted at a short ceremony led by Professor Dave Hosken, the Dean of Strategic Development for Cornwall.

The tree, a gift from the University’s Streatham Campus in Exeter, has strong links to the Devon city; William Lucombe gave his name to the Lucombe Oak (Quercus lucombeana) having developed the hybrid from the Cork Oak and Turkey Oak in his Exeter nursery in 1762.

It is said that Lucombe was so impressed with the timber, that when he felled the original hybrid in 1785, he kept planks from it under his bed with the intention of using them to make his coffin.

But Lucombe lived an exceptionally long life, dying at the age of 102, by which time the planks had unfortunately decayed in the Devon damp.

Now the Lucombe Oak will add to the rich horticultural diversity found at the Penryn Campus and will be expertly tended to by the award-winning grounds team, led by head gardener, Toby Nenning.

Toby said: “The new oak tree is quite special and has been planted between the two old oaks that formed the original hedgerow boundary seen on old maps.”

The Penryn Campus grounds blend historic sub-tropical planting with newly created landscapes to create visually stunning gardens that are a haven for a diverse range of plant and animal species.

Visitors can take in the walled garden, herbaceous beds, sub-tropical planting, fruit producing orchard, Italian garden and terraces, the 18th-century lime avenue, the historic rare rhododendrons, cultivated on the site in the Victorian era, and now the new rare Lucombe Oak.

The gardens are open for all to enjoy year round but on Saturday 6 May, guests are invited to join the annual campus BioBlitz.

Penryn Bioblitz is a free action-packed day, full of wildlife spotting, summer games and interactive activities.

From pond dipping to bird ringing, camera trap checking to stream sampling, anyone can become a wildlife explorer at Bioblitz.

Bioblitz runs from 10am to 4pm and is open to all ages. To sign up for early morning or late evening events, such as the bird ringing and bat walks, please email in advance. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and the event will also be filmed throughout the day. For more information, join the event ‘Penryn Bioblitz and Garden Fete 2017’ on Facebook.

Date: 3 May 2017

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