Ginkgo biloba - Maidenhair Tree
Platanus orientalis - Oriental Plane
Sophora japonica - Pagoda Tree
"The Old Lions"
“The Old Lions” are some of the few remaining trees
with the oldest actual known planting date of 1762. They comprise:
Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair Tree), Sophora japonica
(Pagoda Tree), and Platanus orientalis (Oriental Plane)
to the West of the Princess of Wales Conservatory; Robinia pseudoacacia
(False Acacia) on the lawn to the front of the Orangery; and
the Zelkova carpinifolia situated in the Herbarium paddock.
They were brought from the estate of the Duke of Argyll in Twickenham
to the new 5-acre arboretum (originally laid out by Aiton) by the
Duke’s nephew, Lord Bute who was the botanical advisor to
Princess Augusta in 1762.
The ginkgo, a male tree, was one of the first of the species to
have been planted in Britain, following the introduction of ginkgos
via Europe in 1754. Its hardiness was unknown, so it was planted
against the wall of the Great Stove glasshouse for protection. This
was subsequently demolished in 1861, which left the ginkgo standing
alone. It is a multistemmed tree, probably due to the transplanting
and moving early in its life which may have accounted for it losing
its growing point.
In 2002 it rightly became one of the 50 “Great British Trees”
in a scheme run by the Tree Council to celebrate the Queen’s
to: Heritage Trees