A species of tree so new it's named after No Parking sign
YOU MAY have heard of The Little Pear Tree, the Magic Faraway Tree, or even the Whomping Willow — but the No Parking Tree is no fairytale... it's real.
It lives in the wooded glade of beautiful Watersmeet, between the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth — and is the first specimen of a newly identified species of tree.
No Parking tree
The tree, which is growing alongside a tiny layby, was always known as the No Parking Tree because it once had a No Parking sign nailed to it. Botanists decided to keep the name even though the sign was moved onto a nearby signpost some years ago so that it didn't damage the tree
The tree is now called Sorbus No Parking with the official Latin name of Admonitor, meaning to admonish or tell off.
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Botanists from the University of Wales, in conjunction with scientists from Bristol University, Exeter University, Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew, have discovered 14 new types of tree around the country.
It's a timely investigation that coincides with the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth and is 150 years since the publication of On the Origins of Species.
All the trees are rare and need to be protected, and bear names such as Motley's Whitebeam, Proctor's Rowan — and the No Parking Whitebeam.
They are all named after the person that found them, the place they were first discovered or because of the way they look.
Dr Tim Rich, Head of Vascular Plants at the University of Wales said: "The Motley's Whitebeam, for instance, is an example of evolution in action.
"It originated as a cross between Ley's Whitebeam and Rowan in a wood near Merthyr Tydfil after the 1989 hurricane created the right condition for it."
And the No Parking Whitebeam?
Dr Rich said it was first noted to be different from the more widespread Devon Whitebeam in the 1930s, "by the great botanist Heff-Warburg, who knew it was different from the Devon Whitebeam, but wasn't very sure about whether it was different enough."
It has only recently been demonstrated to be a different species using biochemical analyses.
Dr Rich said: "In the 1980s Michael Proctor of Exeter University was looking at the chemicals and realised the Watersmeet trees were different.
"They have much more strongly lobed leaves, so they are easy to identify."
It is most common in the Watersmeet area, where there are at least 110 known examples, it was given the name in the 1930s.