The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s 200-year-old sabal palm (Sabal bermudana) or bibby tree as it is known in its native land, has won through to the final of the Scottish Tree of the Year competition.
Scottish Tree of the Year is an annual search for the nation’s best loved tree, organised by the Woodland Trust and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The Botanics is hoping its oldest plant will will beat off competition from the five other finalists by winning the most public votes. Hurry if you want to support our bibby tree’s quest to win the title because voting closes on 12 October.
The sabal spent the first 13 years at Inverleith in a lean-to glasshouse but it suffered from lack of space. In 1835 it was moved to the Octagonal Palm House, now the Tropical Palm House, which had been constructed the previous year.The sabal is the oldest known plant in the collection at the Botanics. Residing in the Tropical Palm House, it is one of only two remaining plants which grew first in the Leith Walk Botanic Garden, RBGE’s previous site, and transported by horse and cart to its new home at Inverleith in 1822.
When the Temperate Palm House opened in 1858 the sabal and other palms were moved into the new house. At this time it was estimated that the sabal and its rootball weighed seven or eight tons. In 1874 the plant was moved back to the Tropical Palm House.