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An ancient Chinese proverb tells us that with patience a mulberry leaf eventually becomes a silk gown.
Its wisdom is not lost on staff at Rowallane Garden near Saintfield County Down.
Since 1908, gardeners there have tended to the Chinese Goat Horn Tree, hoping that one day it would show off its capricious flower.
After 92 summers, the day has finally arrived.

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World's rarest tree

The tree species known only as Pennantia baylisiana could be the rarest plant on Earth. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records once called it that. Just a single tree exists in the wild, on one of the Three Kings Islands off the coast of New Zealand, where it has sat, alone, since 1945. It didn't used to be so solitary, but humans introduced goats to the island, which ate every other member of its species.
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A Welsh oak tree, already more than 300 years old when King Henry II spared it in 1165, couldn't withstand the unusually cold winter of 2010, locals say.
Mark Williams, a historian of the Wrexham area in North Wales, told the BBC he and Deryn Poppit visited the tree Tuesday and found its trunk had been split. He said ice apparently formed around the base of the tree, which had a circumference of 34 feet.

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University of Arizona's tree ring lab unlocking the past

Buried under the west end bleachers of the University of Arizona stadium is the first and still greatest of all the tree ring labs in the country.
Researchers there analyse cross-sections of various trees from around the country, looking closely at the rings they bear.
It's a branch of science known as Dendrochronology and its goal is to put the present in proper historical context to better understand the present and improve understanding of possible future environmental issues.

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A botanist from Kew Gardens is fighting to save one of the rarest plant species in the world, the Bastard Gumwood tree.
The last tree of this species is found on the tiny South Atlantic island of St Helena, and it is dying.
To keep the Bastard Gumwood (Commidendrum rotundifolium) in existence, it needs to be pollinated so it will produce a fertile seed from which to grow new seedlings.

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Trees
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The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space.
Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century.
As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.
The study is published in the scientific journal New Phytologist.

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As part of national tree week, Tree O'Clock is a world record attempt to plant the most trees in one hour. Saturday, 5th December, 11am - 12 noon.

Over a thousand free give-away schemes are planned in local garden centres, Forestry Commission Visitor Centres across the country over the next two weeks.

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Invitation to participate in Tree OClock - 5th December 2009
The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) is pleased to announce that it is working in partnership with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the National Union of Students and the BBC Breathing Places campaign to invite Universities and Students Unions to participate in an attempt to break two Guinness World Records as part of National Tree Week. Tree OClock will be taking place on Saturday 5th December 2009.

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Electrical circuit runs entirely off power in trees
You've heard about flower power. What about tree power? It turns out that it's there, in small but measurable quantities. There's enough power in trees for University of Washington researchers to run an electronic circuit, according to results to be published in an upcoming issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Transactions on Nanotechnology.

"As far as we know this is the first peer-reviewed paper of someone powering something entirely by sticking electrodes into a tree" - co-author Babak Parviz, a UW associate professor of electrical engineering.

A study last year from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. Those researchers have since started a company developing forest sensors that exploit this new power source.

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Domesday oak found at cathedral
Archaeologists working Canterbury Cathedral have had parts of the structure dated to the time of William the Conqueror and the Domesday Book.

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Smallest Tree
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Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow, Least Willow or Snowbed Willow) is a species of tiny creeping willow (family Salicaceae).
It is one of the smallest woody plants in the world. It typically grows to only 1-6 cm in height and has round, shiny green leaves 1-2 cm long and broad.

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