The Elm Trees of City Park

The best time to go looking for deciduous trees is, of course, in winter when they have no leaves and all look the same. So maybe not but it IS the best time to take photos of their lovely branch shapes.

To identify the trees, I have two maps from the Launceston City Park Conservation Management Plan, volume 2 The Landscape History of City Park (2005). One map shows the location of all the “trees with larger girth sizes” with common names. The other shows the location of “significant trees” in the eastern half of the park, with the era they were planted. Unfortunately the “era” part is colour-coded and didn’t copy well, and the font is tiny so it’s very hard to read, but it has the botanical names.

The elms are English Elms, Ulmus procera (or U. minor ‘Atinia) which are apparently all clones* of a single tree and were brought to England by the Romans**.  And then hundreds of years later, their descendents were put on ships and taken to the far side of the world and planted in this park. As far as I know, these ones were planted in the 1885-1920 era.

So, elm trees…


There is an elm tree hiding behind that conifer, its branches intertwined with branches of an oak tree (right). Near the Tamar St/Brisbane St intersection entrance.


Further along, elm, ash and elm.


That’s the ash ( Fraxinus excelsior, (left)) and rightmost elm from the previous photo.


Not elms, but redwoods. Sequoiadendron giganteum  & Sequoia sempervirens if I remember correctly.


Elm beside the steps that come down from the Brisbane Street gate.


And another further along Brisbane St.


Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island Palm (ornamental date palm).


This elm is one of my favourite trees in the park, and I think the biggest tree. It doesn’t look big. For scale, you see the small tree on the left Not the conifer, the small deciduous one to the left of that. That’s a big oak tree.  And between that and the conifer, a small white thing  that is actually a park bench.


Same elm, towering over the lesser trees.


And again, behind the pear tree (right). The Napoleon Pear Tree was part of the gardens attached to Government Cottage, before the land was given over to create the park. There’s a photo here with the description “Pear Tree. Examiner Christmas Supplement 15/12/1899” but if that’s the government cottage behind it, that was demolished in 1886.


From the map this seems to be Populus nigra ‘Italica’ (Lombardy poplar), but that’s apparently a short lived (fast-growing, disease prone) tree, with a lifespan of 20 years in some places. This one is well past that. Don’t sit near it!  Also, they’re all male clones.


Elm alongside the children’s play area.


I don’t know what this is but it’s very grey. I hope it’s not dead.


Elm where the path from the playground (I’m standing on) meets the path from the duck pond, the path from the Cimitiere St gate and the path that goes up the hill.


Close up of previous tree.


The last elm, with maybe the best overall shape, is opposite the Cimitiere St gate and, obviously, near the conservatory.


And the last tree isnt an elm but it has the coolest bark (see below) so I wanted to make a note of what it was, and the map says it’s a Pinus pinea (stone pine). Although the ones on the Google don’t have such a cool trunk or twisty branches.


* Further evidence that genetic diversity is a good thing.
** What have the Romans ever done for us? Elm trees!

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