Skip navigation |

Taplow House Hotel Tulip Tree

Possibly the oldest Tulip Tree in Britain..

26 November 2009

It's not often that we feature an exotic tree such as the Tulip Tree as Tree of the Moment.

The Tulip Tree is thought to have arrived in Britain from the east coast of north America perhaps as early as 1630 and we know the Bishop of London received one at Fulham Palace before 1680. It is a tree that grows rapidly and must be relatively short-lived as only one 17th century is thought to survive, at Esher Place in Surrey, although it probably remained a rare tree to plant for some 100 years. Those ATH recorders who have been fortunate enough to see photographer Edward Parker's presentation at our recording events, will have seen his photograph of "Evelyn's Tulip Tree" at Southover Grange Gardens, East Sussex. A tree which captured the public's interest and support in 2003 when it was condemned for safety reasons. Unfortunately it died from Honey Fungus a few years after being "saved" but created interest in the search for other old trees, many planted in the mid to late 1700's.

This very fine veteran Tulip Tree at Taplow House Hotel has been recorded by the Special Trees and Woods of the Chilterns project who are working in partnership with the Ancient Tree Hunt - see some of the great trees they are recording on their interactive map. Dwarfed by this champion tree is Project Officer Rachel Sanderson. All trees recorded on this project will also be added to the ATH map when the project comes to an end in March 2010.

Taplow House Hotel has the Tulip Tree as its logo and the tree is thought to have been planted following the re-building of the current Georgian building in 1751. It stands centrally to what is called the Tulip Tree Room on the south front of the house. A second Tulip Tree grows next to the building but is of quite different form, two large stems on a short burred pedestal base and it is thought this tree could be older. Before the current building there was an Elizabethan house built in 1598 but which burnt to the ground in 1660. It was during this period that James I presented the house to the first governor of Virginia in 1628. Thus providing us with a tantalising link with the possibility of Taplow House originally having one of the first Tulip Trees ever to be planted in Britain.

The Taplow House Tulip Tree Photo: David Alderman