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Hardy Exotic Trees

We have established specimens of most of these trees, which really need to be seen to appreciate their beauty. If you have space to grow them I would urge you to start out as soon as possible, as many take years to flower. 

Abies balsamea

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Balsam Fir - Christmas Tree 15 seeds җ җ җ
Abies balsamea is a handsome fir that likes abundant moisture, eventually growing to 50ft in a narrow pyramid. Dark green needles typical of the Abies family with 2-4 inches long dark purple fir cones. Fully hardy but slow growing in the initial seedling years. Part of our "Exotic Christmas Tree" seed range.

Abies concolor

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White Fir - Christmas Tree 15 seeds җ җ җ
Abies concolor or White Fir is widely planted as an ornamental tree in large parks with its glaucus foliage often showing quite strong blue hues.  The foliage has an attractive scent, and is used for Christmas decoration, including Christmas trees. The long needles are displayed in a curving upward fashion along the branches and a blue clone I have in our arboretum is one of my favourite firs with its light blue soft spring foliage. Part of our "Exotic Christmas Tree" seed range.

Abies Koreana

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Korean Fir 10 seeds җ җ җ
Abies Koreana is a lovely small hardy garden conifer with deep green needles, silver-white underneath. The purple cones, which sit bolt upright on the branches, are the tree's most attractive features and give an excellent display for 9 months of the year.

Abies nordmanniana

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Nordmann Fir - Christmas Tree 15 seeds җ җ җ
This handsome large fir is native to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus and northern parts of Armenia. Abies nordmanniana is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 180ft tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 6ft. Some specimens have been reported to be 250ft tall, the tallest trees in Europe. This is the "non drop needle" Christmas tree variety increasingly common for sale at Christmas but rarely pot grown. I have several of these trees now at 6ft height grown from seed and kept in pots for Christmas but they require regular feed and water if maintained as a pot-grown specimen. Part of our "Exotic Christmas Tree" seed range.

Abutilon suntense

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Hardy Abutilon Pkt җ җ җ
Abutilon Suntense is a hybrid of white flowered Abutilon vitifolium and the smaller mauve flowered Abutilon ochsenii from south America and the resulting cross has proved slightly hardier than Vitifolium.  The large, pale mauve or deep mauve flowers with a golden centre are up to 3” across and carried in bunches all over the tree in late spring.

Acer davidii

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Snakebark Maple 15 seeds җ җ җ
Acer davidii is a multi-trunked deciduous tree with green and white bark and arching branches with mid green leaves that turn orange/yellow in autumn, bearing pale yellow flowers in spring and pink to brown fruits in the autumn. Attractive striped bark that shows up well in winter.

Acer griseum

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Paperbark Maple 15 seeds җ җ җ

Acer griseum is a beautiful small Acer tree with stunning autumn colours and a rich peeling cinnamon coloured bark. It is however not easy to grow from seed and some patience is required pre stratifying the hard seeds.

Acer rubrum

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Red Maple 15 seeds җ җ җ
A North American timber tree with spectacular autumn colours in good years. Acer rubrum is a medium height handsome tree with large lobed deep green leaves that change dramatically as the temperature drops in late autumn. The most impressive autumn colour in our arboretum when it looks simply on fire. These seeds have been selected from trees with the best autumn foliage colour.

Albizia julibrissin rosea

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Silk Tree 10 seeds җ җ
Albizia julibrissin rosea is a marginally hardy tree outside of a microclimate, but with beautiful sprays of cloud pink flowers on soft downy foliage. Sadly not hardy enough for me but I have seen many fine specimens in greater London. A small tree with a spreading delicate habit.

Arbutus unedo

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Strawberry Tree Pkt җ җ

Arbutus unedo - a small evergreen tree seen in Portugal and North America, with attractive peeling red brown bark which will tolerate a slightly alkaline soil. Excellent for a woodland garden with small white flowers followed by the 3 cm strawberry looking fruits.  Because of the high sugar content the Portuguese make an excellent fermented liqueur called Medronho - a particular favourite of mine! The picture is one from our own tree showing both fruits and flowers at Christmas.

Caesalpinia gilliesii

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Bird of paradise shrub (loved by humming birds) (10 seeds Pr Pkt) җ җ
Caesalpinia gilliesii is a superb hardy tropical tree, easy from seed that prefers dry conditions. The more common Pride of Barbados is far too soft to grow in the UK under glass although the spectacular flowers make you want to keep trying. This one has flowers not so vivid in colour as pulcherrima but none the less really tropical looking and carried on attractive ferny foliage. Has to be one to try outside in a sheltered hot dry position and if the wood is ripened well enough in summer it should withstand up to -12°C.

Catalpa bignonioides

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Indian Bean Tree 10 seeds җ җ җ
A superb hardy tropical looking tree, easy from seed that produces horse chestnut like flowers in late summer, followed by long beans in warmer areas. The leaves are large, pale green and the tree can be used for coppicing to produce an even more dramatic effect. Catalpa bignonioides is a desirable plant with its late flowering habit (Jul/Aug).

Catalpa bungei

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Beijing Catalpa 10 seeds җ җ җ

Catalpa bungei is a slightly smaller tree than bignonioides from northern China, but just as hardy with the added attraction that the flowers are a delicate pink. Large heart shaped green leaves for tropical effect.

Cercis siliquastrum

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Judas Tree 20 seeds җ җ җ
Cercis siliquastrum - a small spreading tree with kidney-shaped, blue-green leaves, turning yellow in autumn. In spring the tree bears masses of small but pretty magenta pink flowers all over the stems and trunk followed by striking pea type pods in a good season.

Cercis siliquastrum album

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White Judas Tree 20 seeds җ җ җ
A lovely form of Cercis siliquastrum with pure white flowers in profusion in spring. A small spreading tree with kidney-shaped, blue-green leaves, turning yellow in autumn. In spring the tree bears masses of small but pretty white flowers all over the stems and trunk followed by striking pea type pods in a good season.

Cladrastis lutea

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Kentucky Yellow Wood 10 seeds җ җ җ

A handsome but rare medium sized tree (10m) from southern USA producing panicles of fragrant white wisteria-like flowers in June. Leaves turn clear yellow in autumn. Hardy in the UK down to -20C

Cupressus sempervirens Stricta

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Italian Cypress Tree 10 seeds җ җ 

A fantastic architectural tree if you look after them properly. To keep the classic pencil shape they do need regular pruning especially when young removing any straggling growth. Mostly hardy but extreme cold may damage young plants and the do prefer a well drained soil. Fairly easy from seed.

Cyphomandra corymbiflora

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Limited supply!

Hardy Tree Tomato 6 seeds җ җ

Cyphomandra corymbiflora is a rare tree tomato from the Andes Mountains that is frost hardy to about -10°C.Large evergreen soft leaves typical of the tree tomato family with small edible 4cm to 5cm fruits. An interesting flavour to mix in a smoothie but a bit strong to eat raw and full of seeds but great as an ornamental. The flowers start out as blue/white stars turning lilac with age in large clusters adding to the attraction of this sub tropical small tree.or large shrub. 

Ginko biloba

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Maidenhair Tree 5 large seeds җ җ җ
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest living tree species, dating back over 300 million years. Individual trees can live for over 1,000 years. Ginkgo Biloba also produces the best selling herbal product in the world. Called the Maidenhair Tree because its leaves closely resemble those of the Maidenhair Fern, the tree was discovered in China and has unusual shaped lime green leaves. For nearly 2800 years the Chinese have used extracts from the ginkgo biloba tree to treat a variety of conditions;can they be that wrong? Not easy to grow though (or perhaps it’s just me!), as I have found out over the years. A challenge for the enthusiasts among you?

Hovenia dulcis

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Japanese Raisin Tree 10 seeds җ җ
Hovenia dulcis is an unusual fast growing tree that produces small raisin like fruit from the trunk. The Raisin Tree native to China is deciduous growing to around 30ft with a single trunk and a rounded head. They have large somewhat limp glossy green, 7" leaves . The flowers are small but are clustered together in great masses and are cream in colour.

The fleshy thickened fruit stalks, when dried, have the sweet flavour and texture of raisins and can be used in the same way. They have a pear-like flavour when ripe, which is when they fall to the ground. They may be small in size but are usually in copious amounts. The other beauty of these fruits is that you don't need to dry them.The brown pod which is actually the fruit is not used.

Koelreuteria paniculata

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Golden Rain Tree 10 seeds  җ җ җ
Koelreuteria paniculata is a lovely tree with its beautiful dark green fine foliage and foot-long, golden cascades of flowers in July. The seeds dry into interestingly shaped “pods” that resemble Japanese lanterns. This hardy tree grows 30-40 feet tall and makes an excellent small shade tree. Prefers full to partial sun, drought tolerant and grows well in most soil conditions. The Golden Raintree also has orange-yellow colour in the autumn.

Laburnum anagyroides

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Common Laburnum 20 seeds җ җ җ

The beautiful Laburnum tree is well known for producing long racemes of beautiful yellow flowers in early summer followed by pods full of black seeds which are poisonous. It is a small deciduous, fast growing tree producing masses of drooping yellow flowers in May and June in a spectacular display. Be warned all parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten especially the seeds so some care as to position is needed.

Liriodendron tulipifera

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Tulip Tree 20 seeds җ җ җ
Liriodendron tulipifera is a tall tree with unusual tulip like flowers with greenish-yellow petals blushed with orange on the inside. Because they generally are found high in the leaf canopy, the flowers often go unnoticed until they drop off after pollination. The large leaves of this tree are also quite distinct, with a large, v-shaped notch at the tip. I have a beautiful variegated leaf specimen of this tree always admired by visitors. Poor seed germination rate but worth a try

Maackia amurensis

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Amur maackia 10 seeds җ җ

Maackia amurensis is a rare and handsome plant native to Northern China and Korea with new leaves in spring a beautiful ghostly, silver-blue in colour aging to green.  It also has delightful upright panicles of creamy-white, slightly fragrant flowers in midsummer. An unusual and lovely garden tree.

Maclura pomifera

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Osage Orange 10 seeds җ җ җ

A small North American tree from the Moraceae family with thorny branches bearing strange wrinkly inedible round fruits looking a bit like a citrus fruit. Fully hardy in the UK it is useful as a hedging tree due to its suckering habit. An unusual and interesting wind break?