Trees From Around The Globe

During the 19th century, there was feverish excitement in anticipation of the arrival of new ‘exotic’ species, such as the magnificent giant redwood from the Sierra Nevada in California.

These awesome trees were first introduced to Perthshire in 1853, and have retained a special place in Scottish hearts due to the links to John Muir - another pioneering Scot who became a key figure in the National Parks movement in the United States.  

One of the original specimens still stands tall at Cluny House Gardens near Aberfeldy, with a girth of over 11 metres. The stunning giant redwood avenue at Benmore Botanic Garden shows why the giant redwood inspired such enthusiasm among the early collectors.  

Eucalypts from Australia and western hemlock from North West America were planted at Kilmun in the 1930s not as individual specimens, but as entire forest plots.  

The collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Inverleith in Edinburgh, at Benmore in Argyllshire and at Dawyck in the Borders contain many fine exotic specimens grown from seeds collected in the Himalayas, China, Japan and South America. These collections are part of the National Tree Collections of Scotland, reflecting their historical, heritage and scientific importance.  

Many tree species are now threatened in their native habitats. Nearly half of the world's conifers are currently listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as being of conservation concern. Principal threats include logging, uncontrolled forest fires, open-cast mining, and conversion of forests to pasture and arable land. Over half of the world’s conifer species can be grown outside in Scotland.  

The National Tree Collections of Scotland will help to provide safe havens for these species over the coming years.