An endangered Chinese tree has flowered in a Belgian arboretum, an event seldom seen anywhere in Europe, the garden's curator said Aug.12.
The Emmenopterys henryi, billed as "one of the most strikingly beautiful trees of the Chinese forests," has brought flower lovers flocking to the Kalmthout Arboretum in the northern province of Antwerp, and will do so for up to a month, the site's curator Abraham Rammeloo said.
He described the greeny-white trumpet-shaped blooms, which grow in clusters, as being "a bit like clibming hydrangeas but much more beautiful."
According to the arboretum, there have only been four previous major flowerings of the tree in Europe since it was first brought over from China 100 years ago.
The first time was in Italy in 1971, another was at Wakehurst Place in England in 1987, and twice before it has bloomed at the same Belgian location.
"We're probably just lucky," said Rammeloo, before explaining that the 40-50 year old tree was relatively mature for Europe.
"We probably chose the most suitable location by accident," he added.
"We cleared a ditch and there was probably plenty of moisture for it there," which it needs, and "a couple of other trees have been taked away in the last 10 years to allow it more sun," he explained.
The tree, indigenous to southern China's temperate forests, is under threat there from deforestation and is now rare both in the wild and in gardens.
Rammeloo said the best time to see the rare flowers in Antwerp would be over the next few weeks, although they could last through to mid-September.
A special viewing platform has been built for visitors to admire the little flowers, which blossom at the top of the tree.
endangered: 絶滅の危機にある arboretum: 植物園 seldom ～: ほとんど～ない
curator: 園長 Emmenopterys henryi: 香果樹 billed as ～: ～と評される
strikingly: 際立って flocking: 集まる clusters: 房
climbing hydrangeas: ツルアジサイ has bloomed: 花をつけた
mature: 成長した suitable: 適した by accident: 偶然に ditch: 溝
indigenous to ～: ～原産の temperate: 温帯の deforestation: 森林伐採
platform: 台 blossom: 花が咲く