The tulip tree (Liriodendron Tulipefera) is one of the largest trees native to North America and is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.  The tree was introduced to this country by John Tradescant the Younger who was gardener to King Charles 1, as was his father.   John travelled to Virginia in 1637, 1642 and 1654 and brought back, amongst other things, the Virginia creeper, the yucca plant, the scarlet runner bean and the tulip tree known by native North American Indians as “canoe wood”.

A tulip tree flower.
A tulip tree flower.

The tulip tree which stood near the south porch of the church was reputed to be over 300 years old and produced wonderful blossoms every June and July which were much admired by parishioners and visitors alike.  It had been a fine specimen but was showing increasing signs of poor health and it was therefore decided to commission a survey by professional tree experts, recommended by Kew Gardens, to report on its condition.   It was, unfortunately, established that the tree showed marked levels of physiological stress and advanced levels of wood decay caused by honey fungus, a destructive pathogen, for which there is no cure.   Given the potential dangers to life and limb and the fabric of the church itself, the reluctant, but responsible, decision was taken by the Parochial Church Committee to remove the tree and full permissions were subsequently granted.  The tree was felled at the end of September 2021.  As a point of interest,it was learned from the detailed professional report that the tree was planted in Victorian times and not Georgian, as originally thought.

The tulip tree had come to dominate the entrance to the churchyard without us noticing it until it had gone.

Fortunately, a second tulip tree was planted in 1988 on the west side of the church, as shown above on the right, to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the first recorded priest at St Dubricius and is now established as a mature tree which will serve to continue the long and important association of the church with this magnificient species.  The original tree is shown in the background.

Thanks to Liz and Mike Miles for this writing this piece and providing the photographs.

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