Council gives beloved strawberries and cream tree protected status

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 December 2019

Villagers gather by Backwell's unique Strawberries and Cream tree.  Picture: Neil James Brain

Villagers gather by Backwell's unique Strawberries and Cream tree. Picture: Neil James Brain

Neil James Brain

A very rare hybrid tree – possibly one of only two in the country – has been granted protected status.

One tree – two types of blossom. Picture: Theresa SalisburyOne tree – two types of blossom. Picture: Theresa Salisbury

The strawberries and cream tree in Backwell is now subject to a tree preservation order from North Somerset Council.

The unusual tree, in Rodney Road, which is thought to have been planted in the late 1950s, was given its name by the children in the village because, although it is one tree, it produces masses of pink and white blossoms.

Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker, who researched the tree, said: "I made a few enquiries about the tree last year and was told when 
it was planted, like most fruit trees it was grafted on to the rootstock of another hardier variety.

"Normally a rootstock does nothing more than provide the tree with water and nutrients.

"However, with this particular tree it continued to grow, creating a stunning graft hybrid.

"I could only find one other similar example reported in the national press in Portchester, near Fareham, in Hampshire.

"I then discovered our lovely strawberries and cream tree is very rare.

"The blossom features the white flower of the native Wild Cherry combined with the pink of an Ornamental Kanzan Tree that originated from Japan."

Villagers Geoff and Valerie Wells said: "We have passed our famous tree thousands of times when out walking and always admire display when it comes into flower each May.

"It always boosts our spirits when it is in full glory and provides much pleasure to everyone in the village, young and old.

"It is very pleasing to learn that such a rarity will now enjoy a level of protection with this tree preservation order.

"Long may it survive to bring joy to us all."

Backwell councillor Bridget Petty, who organised the order said: "So many people enjoy this tree and as we know our trees are vital to mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

"I am pleased to be able to support our community by working with the North Somerset tree officers to ensure this tree gets the recognition and protection it deserves.

"A local neighbour said she meditates looking to the tree every morning, it really has a lot of value to our village."

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