‘A most welcome exotic species’, was chosen as ‘Tree of the year’ in the Netherlands at the annual Tree Growers’ Day on January 15th. A subgroup of LTO Netherlands, the professional association of Dutch agriculture, organised the election. An expert jury of dendrologists tree growers and gardeners had a choice between Magnolia kobus, Liriodendron tulipoferum, and Ostrya carpinifolia; all three exotic species that are ‘most welcome’in the Netherlands (unlike some other horticultural immigrants) because of qualities such as low maintenance, healthy growth and applicability for the European market.
Magnolia kobus, of Asiatic provenance, turned out to be most popular of the three candidates. That means this tree can be announced, during all of 2015, als ‘Tree of the year’. Jan van Leeuwen, president of the LTO Netherlands Subdivision avenue, forest and park Trees, is pleased with the jury’s decision. ‘By definition this is a tree that is most fit for use in different environments, making it very suitable for use in public green. When in bloom, in March/April, it is a feast for the eye!’
The choice of an exotic species, Mr. Van Leeuwen explains, has to do with a more general development in the world of plants and trees in Europe. Climate is changing, this requires other types of plants and trees. In this development Magnolia kobus fits in perfectly.
Some people may mistake Tree of the year 2015 Magnolia kobus for what is generally known as the Tulip tree. But the actual Tulip tree is scientifically known as Liriodendron tulipiferum, one of the other candidates for Tree of the year. A tree with flowers that resemble tulips even more than those of Magnolia kobus. Our Tree of the year 2015, by the way, has a non-scientific name as well: Beaver tree.