Florencecourt Yew tree in 1842.

10-2-1842. TAXUS FLORENCECOURTIAIANA.

(This is a more exact account of the origins of the Florencecourt Yew tree – Fermanagh and Ireland’s unique contribution to the trees of the world – Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata.)

Florence-Court Yew. This pretty fastigiated tree is now to be seen in almost every garden in Europe; in the Turkish cemetery, Alexandria, and America. The parent shrub is still in existence growing in the garden of a farmer in the neighbourhood of Florence Court. It was found growing on a neighbouring calcareous rock, in the time of the present occupier’s grand-father, about 160 years since by whom it is held as sacred as Naboth held his vineyard. (Ed. Believed to be an ancestor of Dr. Willis buried in Florencecourt churchyard who is famous for introducing western medicine to Japan.) It is indebted for its notoriety wholly on two layers planted in a shrubbery in Lord Enniskillen’s demesne, at Florence-Court, from which cuttings were given away to occasional visitors. (Ed. where a low branch has touched the ground, taken root and turned into a new shrub ready to be dug up.) The original plant has not grown any these many years although it is in good health and has formed a handsome tree with a fastigiated head from a stem about 4 feet high; one of the layers has attained the height of 21 feet and the other has been cut and broken for cuttings from time to time. The contiguous rocks and ravines have been repeatedly explored but no such plant has been found and the berries have been sown and plants reared at various periods but on examination they were always found to be the common kind with little variation, some with shorter leaves and some of a darker hue, but none of specific difference from the common  mountain yew which induces us to conclude that it is nothing else but has been produced by accident meeting with pressure in protruding through the hard substance and being acted upon by the atmosphere in a close situation has fixed its upright character in prop and propagating by extension, but not by seeds.

W. Y.

(The Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet is now available from Thursday 23rd January 1840 from the British Newspaper Archive.)

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