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Bristol trees named after finders
Libby Houston
Libby Houston found the tree on the Avon Gorge cliff side in 2005

A new species of tree, which can be found growing in the Avon Gorge, has been named after the Bristol woman who discovered it.

Libby Houston has given her name to the rare Houston's Whitebeam, which she found on the cliff side in 2005.

The tree is a hybrid between the Common Whitebeam and the Bristol Whitebeam and only one is currently known to exist.

"To have the whitebeam named after me is a very special honour, and it is a very beautiful tree," said Ms Houston.

The Houston's Whitebeam is one of five new Bristol trees to be officially named this week in Watsonia, the scientific journal of the Botanical Society of the British Isles.

All the trees are rare and need to be protected.

Bristol University's Dr Ashley Robertson has also given his name to a species of Avon Gorge whitebeam.

Dr Robertson found the hybrid tree with Libby Houston and Dr Tim Rich in 2004 but it was named Robertson's Whitebeam in recognition of his work in charting the evolution of the species in the Gorge.

Robertson's Whitebeam
Robertson's Whitebeam could be widespread in the South West

Again, only one tree is known of at this time but it is thought the species could be widespread in the South West.

"I have enjoyed working with whitebeams throughout Great Britain for many years and it feels great to have one named after me," said Dr Robertson.

The trio also discovered the hybrid Avon Gorge Whitebeam during their studies in 2004.

The fifth Bristol tree officially named this week is the Leigh Woods Whitebeam, found on the Somerset side of the Gorge.

It was recently identified as a species distinct from the Grey-leaved Whitebeam using DNA.

Examples of the Avon Gorge tree species can be seen at Bristol University Botanic Garden.




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