Ancient pear tree in Company’s Garden becomes a proud parent

by | Oct 5, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Ancient pear tree in Company’s Garden becomes a proud parent

Cape Town – The genetic future of a 363 year old Saffron Pear tree in Company’s Garden, Cape Town, was preserved on Friday by planting a cloned sapling next to it.

It is said to be the oldest cultivated tree in the country and was planted during the time of Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutchman who founded the city.

Due to its extreme age, the tree is supported by poles and braces. It is also fenced off.

Two years ago, deciduous fruit distributor Tru Cape took cuttings of bud material from the tree to make grafts and preserve the species.

“The practice of propagation by grafting preserves the genetic purity of the mother-plant and, as such, is a ‘clone’ of the parent plant,” said the garden’s manager Rory Phelan.

“We agreed that when these grafts had matured to sapling trees, some would be returned to be re-planted.”

Another sapling would be planted in the vegetable garden’s orchard section.

It was hoped that both trees would grow for another 360 years, said Belinda Walker, the city’s mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

The ancient tree was initially part of a circle of Saffron Pear trees planted in the middle of the Company’s Garden.

According to the city’s website, the Cape of Good Hope was the half-way point on the sea route from Europe to the Spice Islands a few hundred years ago.

The garden’s fruit and vegetables prevented sailors from getting scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C.

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