Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Decades-old palm tree is felled

Palm tree (Livistona australis)
Scaffolding was used to cut the palm tree down in stages

A decades-old palm tree has been chopped down after it outgrew its botanical hothouse in Edinburgh.

The 61ft Livistona australis was cut down on Tuesday morning at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's Victorian Palm House.

It was removed because it was pushing up through the upper internal walkway and glass roof of the palm house.

The growing tip of a palm is at the top of the tree, so cutting it back would have killed the tree.

The root buttress will be dug out and displayed along with other removed palm stumps in the corridor to the Orchid House.

The tree, which is not of scientific importance, was planted in September 1960 after the UK's tallest palm had to be taken down.

It had grown to 72ft, reaching the top of the palm house's centre dome.

In preparation for the removal of the Livistona, a young tree was planted during the 2005 palm house renovation. The new tree has the potential to reach the top of the dome in about 80 years.

This Livistona is from Australia but there are 36 species from Asia, Australia and Africa.

It is named after the town of Livingston in honour of Patrick Murray, laird of Livingston, who was instrumental in the birth of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

RBGE's Victorian Palm House is the highest of its kind in the UK.

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