BC Native Garden: Picea sitchensis 'Bentham's Sunlight' (the golden Sitka spruce)

Discussion in 'Photographs' started by Daniel Mosquin, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    UBC Accession #18012-0358-1978
    Photo by Daniel Mosquin
    October 31, 2002

    Update: June 4, 2005 - for those finding this page via search engines, I also suggest you check out our Photo of the Day entry for the golden spruce from May 2005


    I took this picture in response to reading this article in The New Yorker. UBC Botanical Garden had two of these plants in the past (cuttings taken from the original tree), but only one survives.
     

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  2. PlantExplorer

    PlantExplorer Active Member 10 Years

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    The Only One?

    I was under the impression that after the tragic destruction of the parent tree numerous cuttings and tissue cultures were made in an effort to ensure that the tree survived and that one of these offspring/clones was slated for replanting at the site once occupied by the original. Please tell me that this is true. If there is only one specimen currently in existence, then there is far to great a chance that something terrible could happen to it.

    I am not suggesting that this tree be cloned for commercial distribution, but rather that a number of specimens be maintained for the sake of security.

    I believe that the local indigenous people regarded the original tree as having great importance if not great spiritual value, and therefore it seems only right that they should be involved in decisions regarding the conservation of this very important tree. Do you have any information about current efforts to preserve this tree?
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The article in The New Yorker details the current status of the eighty cuttings taken after the tree was felled. Two have now been planted, one in Port Clements, the other near the stump of the parent tree. Apparently, the latter cutting (and maybe the others?) does not have the same golden colour as the parent.

    Here's an article from five years ago that details some of UBC Botanical Garden's (and particularly former director Bruce Macdonald's) involvement post-cutting of the tree. The article concludes with an upbeat note that one of the two trees that the UBC Botanical Garden had at the time was to be given to the Haida for planting. That never happened for some (unknown to me) reason, and apparently that plant died while waiting to be shipped.
     
  4. PlantExplorer

    PlantExplorer Active Member 10 Years

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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Time to revive this thread! John Vaillant, a local author (and the author of that New Yorker piece) has completed The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed, so there are a number of local events happening with the book launch.

    Check out Talk of the Town for some background on the free series lecture being held May 12, 2005.

    I'll also be adding a note on the either the garden news section or the Botany Photo of the Day (or both) with more links and details.
     
  6. Sanandara

    Sanandara Member

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    does anyone have photos of the original tree on the QCharlottes? any sort of photo, a snapshot, whatever?
    i can't find any out there.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Depending on how narrowly the cultivar is defined, is this clone really the first application of the name 'Aurea'? And if so, is this use post-1959? If it is...
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    That's a good request - I've never seen an image of the original either, and would be interested to see it.
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    I'd be interested to see the 1959 reference. Sounds like the mystery might continue in other ways?
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    What I was referring to is the rule that pseudobotanical cultivar names like 'Aurea' aren't supposed to be coined after 1959.
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Ron, check out this article (and anyone else interested in the history of golden spruce from a horticultural perspective): Coenosium Gardens - Golden Spruce - so, yes, it seems that this particular clone is not from the original 'Aurea' cultivar. That would suggest it might be best to refer to it as Picea sitchensis [Aurea Group], botanically speaking.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Or give it a new name, if sufficiently distinct.
     
  13. pmjwright

    pmjwright Member

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Here's a picture I scanned out of the book "Haida Gwaii: Journeys through the Queen Charlotte Islands" by Ian Gill. I saw the tree in 1978 and took a photo but can't find it.

    As an interesting side topic, I was working on northern Vancouver Island two years later, and came across a golden western hemlock in a tributary of the Adam River valley. The tree was growing in a leave strip in Kunnum Creek only about 1 km from the Island Highway. It was a very healthy tree, with a dense crown and without the dead branch tips that the golden spruce had. I also heard about another golden hemlock located in an ecological reserve in the upper Tsitika River, and of a golden cedar somewhere in the Nimpkish Valley.

    Again I took a picture which I cannot relocate! But I'll try...

    After returning to UBC that fall, I told the late Dr Oskar Sziklai about the tree, and he was able to obtain some cuttings from MacMillan Bloedel. I wonder what became of those cuttings--and of the tree?
     

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  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' (the golden Sitka spruce)

    Small, variably yellow branch sports of Thuja plicata are frequent - in fact there is one on Marine Drive that has a yellow upper crown - but not on these other two species. Nor is it usual to see an all-yellow T. plicata outside of gardens.
     
  15. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I've changed the name from Picea sitchensis 'Aurea' to Picea sitchensis 'Bentham's Sunlight' after reviewing a bit more of the horticultural history from the book.
     
  16. pmjwright

    pmjwright Member

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    Just found this website--another natural golden spruce ha been known for some time on the Charlottes, and this tour company now has tours to see the tree. Fortunately they are making an effort to protect it's location:

    new golden spruce
     
  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  18. Has anyone done any DNA investigation to see if the smaller one is related to the
    larger?
     
  19. pclemqci

    pclemqci Member

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    I am a resident and volunteer in Port Clements, BC. When our giant Golden Spruce was tragically cut down in 1997 (we will not glorify the culprit's actions by mentioning his name), our community, along with the Haida, was deeply affected.

    In 1999, a small committee was formed to develop a Millennium Memorial Park for our community. As one of the committee volunteers involved in the planning of this Park, I went about researching a lead I had been given with respect to a number of grafts taken from the original Golden Spruce shortly after it had been cut down. Two years later, with the help of our former Mayor & Council, the Ministry of Forests and the Haida, Port Clements was presented with a tiny Golden Spruce Seedling which we planted in our new Park inside a protective fence.

    Now, four years later, this thriving little tree with its striking golden foliage has more than tripled in size and the green sitka spruce onto which the golden spruce had been grafted is almost unnoticeable.

    I've attached a recent photo of our tree for those who wish to compare its colour to the original.

    B. Stewart
     

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  20. mukunda

    mukunda Member

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    what can be the suitable approach to trans form even aged sitka spruce stand to an irregular structure when soil type is drained podzols and iron pans prevalent.?
     
  21. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Well, you can't make any of them older so you are left with cutting some of them down and replacing with younger ones.
     
  22. chad kirby

    chad kirby Member

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    I would greatly appreciate any information on the golden spruce planted in Port Clements in 2001?. are there any recent photos ? Are there an other cuttings from the original tree planted in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Our book club is discussing "The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant.

    Chad Kirby
     
  23. seed2ash

    seed2ash Member

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    I am curious how pclemqci felt about Vaillant's book. Vaillant gives what appears to be a fair judgment of Hadwin and what he thought he was doing. He is protrayed as a clearly misguided individual, but as a nearly superhuman outdoorsman and passionate conservationist. But i am curious how someone knitted within the community that was affect feels about his presentation in the book.
     
  24. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Just finished reading The Golden Spruce today and was so surprised to hear that UBC had one of the oldest cuttings taken, I had to check it out. I was very surprised with the efforts that went into trying to keep this tree alive. With so many people connected to this one tree, I'm sure the story of the legendary Golden Spruce will be passed on to generations.
     
  25. BIG D

    BIG D Member

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    Almost finished reading John Vaillants' book 'The Golden Spruce'. Awesome read for those who have not read. While searching for info on UBC's golden clones i came across this forum. I want to share a couple photos.

    Regards,

    Dorian
     

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