Home' The Monaro Post : The Monaro Post February 22, 2017 Contents NEWS
Wednesday February 22, 2017
ALPINE FORD P 02 6452 1044
28-32 Bombala Street, COOMA NSW 2630
P & A SOCIETY’S
SATURDAY 4TH MARCH 2017
Working Bees: Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 6.00pm
(pavilion and marquee) and Friday, 3 March 2017.
Come and enjoy a fun day for all the family.
The biggest Canterbury Elm tree in the world?
Cooma has a new claim to fame which will
excite our resident tree lovers.
The much-maligned (and threatened)
elm trees in Centennial Park and Bombala
Street have recently been identified as
being a very rare variety.
What’s more, they are believed to be the
biggest of their type in the world.
The new information will be welcomed
by members of the former tree committee
who have gone into bat for the trees on a
number of occasions in the last decade or
According to British Elm expert Peter
Bourne, the elms in Cooma are one of
several rare species of elm popping up all
He said “For years herbaceous cutting
has been collected but with limited amount
of positive result owing to the fact that
there was limited data
available to identify
some of the much
rarer stuff and the land
coverage is extensive,
roughly covering an
area almost over twice
the land area of the
British Isles when you
take in NSW, Victoria
and Tasmania being
main area of the elm.
“Cooma was first
brought to my attention
by the Co-ordinator
of the Australian
Tree Register Derek
McIntosh. A local
resident in Cooma
gracious elm which for
years has been known
to everyone locally as
English elm (Ulmus
“This would have
been the case forever
as far as anyone was
concerned. That was
until I saw it and having
enough data to prove
it wasn’t English was
enough for me to start
analysing the tree.
“After getting Derek
pictures of the leaves,
bark and tree canopy etc, I was left numb
as to what it was until I stumbled upon
similar leaves in my own herbarium here
and on a Dutch website.
“What’s more the sheer size of the trees
turned out to be unprecedented in terms of
the species the trees actually are.
“The trees are called Canterbury Elms
(latin name Ulmus x hollandica ‘Superba’)
and are so very scarce now especially
when you talk of trees this large.
“The species was first distributed by
Masters & Co. in Canterbury, Kent, UK in
the early 1800’s. It was formerly known as
the “Masters Canterbury Seedling”. It was
planted in south-east England infrequently
as a street tree owing to its graceful habit
which often remains narrow well into
“There are no reports of any huge
trees until I found that we had one tree
in Brighton & Hove tucked away in a
woodland arboretum at Stanmer Park.
“This tree was the only fully confirmed
possibilities had occurred in Holland very
recently. The trees in Cooma are by far
much larger than any I know.
“It has literally not been found anywhere
else in Australia or New Zealand for that
matter the rest of the world, thus the
Cooma population of around 15 or so trees
is unique and the largest by the Caltex
Petrol Station in Bombala Street is not just
the largest and tallest in all of Australia but
also the world.
“The seed is very fertile so I was informed
and so can be planted to produce more
“As elm is still sold in Australia I suggest
that selling some of the seed
could make some money as
there is probably no nursery
producing Canterbury Elm in the world right
“I look after one of the most significant
elm collections in Europe, the National
Elm Collection in Brighton & Hove, UK
and our Canterbury elm never produces
an overwhelming amount of seed solely
because it is partially hidden in woodland
on a north facing ridge away from direct
sunlight. The trees growth is far less
spectacular than those at Cooma for that
“I look forward to hearing from local
residents about any elm they have on their
property or any other big elm or other trees
as I am in contact with Derek McIntosh of
the Australian Tree Register frequently”.
Reader are welcome to details of their
elm trees to The Monaro Post. We will
collect any information available to send to
Mr Bourne, who hopes to visit Cooma to
see the trees in person.
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