Trees of note

Walk details - click


Main Garden area, walk PURPLE paths

Features marked in blue circle and yellow letter

A. Sunken garden, historic holly hedge
B. Japanese cedar, Kauri
C. Yew and Sitka Spruce
D. Magnolia campbellii
E. Linden lime
F. Cedars - Himalayan and Lebanon; swamp cypress behind
G. Copper Beach
H. Golden Ash
I. Tulip Tree
J. Puriri
K. English Oak and Atlantic Cedar
L. Golden Elm
M. Norfolk Island Pine
N. Canary Island Palm
O. Tanakaha
There are a number of interesting trees in this area, and the following notes relate to a number of them. The trees location is indicated on the map.

A: Fragrant/Sunken Garden

The first nursery of the Garden, with the original Holly Hedge is still doing its shelter duty.
Note the Erythrina cristi-gallii the Coral Tree brought to the garden in 1872 by Alfred Ludlum. It is said that it was only heeled in temporally, but were never finally planted.

It is a real curiosity particularly in the winter when it is pruned back hard to keep it from being damaged by frost. In the spring when the green growth comes out it is not very noticeable, but when it blooms the flowers make the wait worthwhile.

A genus of some 30 tropical species.


Ilex aquifolium. Holly is a large genus of some 200 species of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees from temperate and tropical regions of the world. The original or ancient name for holly was 'Holm' incorporated in the UK in the names of many places and homes, a trend sometimes continued in NZ.

The Main Garden includes a number of holly plants, including the holly hedge by the sunken/fragrant garden. That hedge is one, if not the, oldest planted feature remaining in the garden, planted to protect the nursery, essential if the original objectives of the Garden were to be achieved.

B: Cryptomeria japonica the Japanese Cedar, or Sugi, belongs to the same family as the giant redwood, and comes from China and Japan. This tree is widely grown as an ornamental, with many selected forms. In Japan it is widely grown for its timber, but it is also venerated in historic avenues and groves, and is widely planted around temples.

The leaves are very aromatic and are used as incense sticks.

It's wood - light, fragrant, fine grained. Used in house building, ship making, boxes etc. Old wood that has been buried in the soil turns a dark green and is then much esteemed

An oil and/or a resin from the plant is used in the treatment of gonorrhea


Agathis australis Kauri is probably the most famous of our native trees and one of the largest in the world. Tane Mahuta, the famous tree in Waipoua Forest, is over 50 m (160 feet) high and has been calculated to be over 2,100 years old. Even larger trees, over 60 m (180 feet) high and 7 m (22 feet) in diameter are known. Today only about 142 hectares (355 acres) of kauri forest remain, and the trees average about 30 m (100 feet) in height

Kauri timber is light and very durable, straight grained and free of knots, and easily worked. It has had many building uses in the past but today is a scarce resource. Maori used kauri for the construction of war canoes.

C: Taxus baccata. There are some 6-7 species in the Yew genus scattered over the Northern Hemisphere throughout Britain and Ireland. Native to most of Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa, all considered by some to be just geographical variants of the common yew.

A very long-lived tree, one report suggests that a tree in Perthshire UK is 1500 years old, making it the oldest plant in Britain. Another report says trees can be up to 4000 years old. It is slow growing and usually takes about 20 years to reach a height of 4.5 metres.

In early times, the darkly glorious yew was probably the only evergreen tree in Britain. Both Druids with their belief in reincarnation, and later Christians with their teaching of the resurrection, regarded it as a natural emblem of everlasting life, a symbol of life after death and a protection against evil. Its capacity for great age enriched its symbolic value. It was planted in graveyards to prevent witchcraft and restrain the spirits of the buried dead

Very tolerant of trimming, some yew hedges have been maintained closely clipped for over 400 years. It also makes an excellent hedge and used in topiary

Picea sitchensis the Sitka Spruce is native of the Northwest coast of North America from Kodiak Island Alaska to California, never more than 200 km from the coast. It is a rapidly growing tree to 80 metres tall and is one of the world's tallest and fastest growing spruces, often adding 1 metre (three feet) to its height a year. It grows in humid, foggy areas of coastal forest. It likes a good summer rainfall.
A long-lived tree, with specimens 700 - 800 years old

Sitka spruce was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indians but is little used in modern herbalism. The pitch was chewed as a medicine for various skin irritations


D: Magnolia campbellii
Very tolerant of atmospheric pollution. A very ornamental plant. Native of E. Asia - Himalayas to S.W. China

E: Tilia europaea
The genus contains some 30 species from most temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Common lime is a hybrid, probably of T. cordata. x T. platyphyllos

The limes in the Garden are often referred to as the 'Bramley limes' in recognition of the planting of William Bramley, the first gardener, in the 1870's.

Around the year 70 AD Pliny (Caius Plinius Secundus), alludes to the lightness of the wood of the Lime, as well as to the use of the inner bark for paper, when it was known as liber (so becoming extended to books, and giving us the word "library. In making paper the stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The outer bark is removed from the inner bark by peeling or scraping. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye (water made alkaline by addition of vegetable ashes) and then beaten in a ball mill. The paper is beige in colour.


F: Cedrus - the 'true' cedars
A great number of Cupressaceae are also commonly referred to as cedars, therefore these are often known as the 'true cedars'. With 4 species they are natives of the mountains of S and SE Mediterranean and the W Himalayas.

They are widely planted as ornamentals in milder areas.

'Cedros' is the old Greek name for a resinous tree.

Himalayan Cedar (left) and Cedar of Lebanon
Swamp Cypress and Copper Beech behind

Cedrus deodara the Himalayan or Deodar Cedar reaches 50 m (250 feet) in the wild, but is now almost extinct over much of its former range. It is native of India and Pakistan.
It is an important timber tree in India, and is widely planted as an ornamental in Europe and the western USA.
Cedrus libani the Cedar of Lebanon
is the national emblem of Lebanon, but only a few small groves survive there today because grazing animals prevent their regeneration. Larger populations survive in Turkey. Its natural range extends from N. Africa to W. Asia - Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

Cedar wood is light and soft and has a very pleasant aroma. It was greatly esteemed in antiquity. Cedars provided the timber for temples, palaces, ships and royal coffins, because it is slow to decay
Trees very long lived, to 300 years or more. Several named varieties are selected for their ornamental value

Behind the cedars is the Taxodium distichum the Swamp Cypress (sometimes called the Bald Cypress) an important timber tree of the coastal swamps in the south-eastern USA, and develops unique "knees", which project from the root system upwards above the water level, but are absent when it grows in dry soil. These growths are thought to allow the tree to breathe with its root system submerged. The swamp cypress belongs to the same family as the giant sequoia and the Japanese cedar.

It is a fast growing tree long-lived tree, one specimen assessed to be 1622 years old. It is a valuable timber. The knees are frequently used for curved members of wooden boats.


G: Fagus sylvatica the English Beech is a deciduous tree usually found in gardens and plantations. The Beech is native to most of Europe, and has been introduced to England and Ireland. Beech trees mature to a great size, 30-40m tall, with impressive spreading crowns, often branching almost horizontally.

The timber is mainly used for furniture making. Sometimes it can be found stained red to imitate the appearance of mahogany, and black to look like ebony


H: Fraxinus - Ash
Related to the olives, it comprises some 65 species of deciduous trees and some shrubs scattered over the cool temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Fraxinus excelsior the Golden Ash is a native species in Ireland, growing in abundance in the West Cork countryside and in most other areas of Ireland.

Its timber is one of the most important native timbers of the UK, being used for carts, furniture, ladders, and tabletops. It is fine-grained, light, very tough and pale in colour. Used for hockey sticks, oars, paddles, rudders, billiard cues, cricket stumps, polo sticks and policemen's truncheons. Also used for veneer and furniture.

Burns fragrantly when freshly cut green or dried due to low water content and are one of the most prized firewood's.


I: Liriodendron tulipifera, the Tulip Tree is known locally in its native North America as Yellow Poplar. It is a tall, deciduous, long-lived, broadleaf tree. It is related to the magnolias. The genus consists of only 2 species, this one North American, the other Chinese.

It has been valued as an ornamental since 1663. The tulip like flowers and leaves are aesthetically pleasing. The flowers are also valuable nectar producers

J: Vitex lucens the Puriri is an attractive NZ tree, which flowers and fruits all year round, but especially in the winter. It is from the northern half of the North Island. Its nectar is popular with tui and bellbirds and its fruit with wood pigeon, tui, and kaka. It grows to 20 m (60 feet).

Its timber is said to be NZ's strongest and most durable, but is very hard to split. It has swirling grain, which makes it hard to work, but it is used for wood turning and furniture. It is related to the important wood tree teak.


K: Quercus robur the English Oak or common oak is the most famous of all oaks, and is one of Europe's most valuable timber trees. It is native of Britain and Ireland and most of Western Europe and Asia Minor.

Large deciduous tree and probably the commonest English tree. Can live for 1000 years or more.
It is one of Europe's most valuable timber trees. It is used for building, for making furniture, and for wine barrels, and was once used for building ships

Cedrus atlantica The Atlas Cedar is native of Morocco and Algeria. It is regarded as a fast growing tree, and is widely cultivated for ornamental purposes. This species is cultivated for its timber in some parts of S. Europe

Its wood is fragrant, durable and used in building and furniture. It is prized for joinery and veneer and is also used in construction. It is also used for making insect-repellent articles for storing textiles

This species is more tolerant of atmospheric pollution than other members of the genus

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca", the Blue Atlas Cedar, is also planted in the garden.


L: Ulmus procera the English Elm is not a native species of Britain, and was most likely introduced by the Romans as a crop tree for making wheel hubs and bridge parts. Native throughout Europe and W. Asia.

Its wood is close-grained, free from knots, very durable under water, fairly hard, elastic, withstands abrasion and salt water, but does not take a high polish. It is used for water pipes, wheels, mallet heads, ships keels etc and is a good firewood. When constantly wet it is exceedingly durable and has been much used for the keels of vessels and in wet foundations, water works for piles, pumps and water pipes


M: Araucaria heterophylla the Norfolk Island Pine, endemic to Norfolk Island, is widely grown in coastal areas of Australia and NZ because it is both salt-spray and wind tolerant, and able to grow in sandy soil. It is also drought tolerant, and grows rapidly to 30 m (100 feet).
Captain Cook thought this tree would provide masts for the largest ships, but it was found later to be unsuitable for this purpose. Its timber is used for other purposes. It is the Araucaria most used as an ornamental.

This tree is said to have been common in NZ during the Jurassic period some 150-200 million years ago.
A genus of some 19 species, native of South America (Chile, Argentina and Brazil) and Australasia. The name Araucaria is derived from "Araucanos", the name of a tribe in Chile that inhabited the region where the first Araucaria was discovered. The family includes the Norfolk Island Pine, the Monkey Puzzle or Chile Pine, the Hoop Pine, the Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis), the Kauri, and the Bunya Bunya Pine.
Some species grow to 1,000 years old. Because of their large size, many are important sources of timber


N: Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island Palm
There are 17 species of Phoenix palms including this.

This is one of the most grown and appreciated ornamental trees of the world. Its native habitat, the Canary Islands, is renowned for its richness in climatic diversity and its endemic flora.

P canariensis has an extensive root system, which allows these palms to explore the surrounding earth to find subterranean water even at long distances. In the Canary Islands, Phoenix trees that grow in subxeric areas show themselves to be resistant to temporary swamping of the soil caused by sudden rains. Other trees and shrubs, with typical root systems, that could act as competitor species do not get established in those sites, as they cannot resist asphyxia caused by the waterlogged soil.


O: Phylloclades trichomonicides Tanekaha, the Celery Pine is a tall graceful tree growing to 20 m tall. Found in lowland forests up to 800 m altitude from North Cape down to Wanganui and in northern Marlborough and western Nelson. It is a hardy tree. Its foliage looks like a celery leaf, hence its common name|

Its close-grained wood is yellowish white and is one of the most elastic timbers known in the world. Strong, durable and readily worked to a smooth finish, the wood has been used for making fishing rods, and even bridge building and mine props. A much-valued timber in New Zealand


Towards Ludlum Way, Main Garden
Golden Elm and Puriri




The Downhill Walk is discussed in a number of sections.

Starting at the Cable Car :

Walk 1 Grass Way
Walk 2 Main Garden
Walk 3 Rose Garden and Begonia House
Walk 4 Bolton Street Memorial Park

Other walks

Walk 5 East Way and Norwood Path
Walk 6 Kowhai Walk

Walk 7 Sculptures