paisa at direct.ca
Sun Jan 25 17:27:49 EST 1998
Some time ago a gentleman inquired about any information on outstanding or
culturally important trees. Immediately to mind came the Golden Spruce,
however I was unable to find any particulars until now.
Clipping from the THE PROVINCE January 25, 1998, Vancouver BC.
"The lower mainland's celebrity trees" by Charlie Anderson
"...the golden spruce and the rest of UBCs exotic collection can be found
at the university's botanical garden...
...It's hard to imagine what can be special about a two-metre Sitka spruce,
but the spindly specimen is the university's most famous arboreal
The yellow hue at the top of its leaves holds the clue, betraying is
kinship to the legendary Golden Spruce of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
"It's a freak of nature, and people love freaks of nature," explains
horticulturist Judy Newton. The spruce and two others were grown in the
'60s from the clippings of a 50-metre tree on Graham Island.
Is golden leaves set it dramatically apart from is green neighbors. To
scientists, the phenomenon was caused by a genetic mutation that allowed it
to produce only 10% of its normal chlorophyll.
But to the Haida [a native tribe of the QCI], the 300-year-old tree was
once a boy named K'iid K'iyaas who, with his grandfather, survived a
village destroyed in a snowstorm.
The legend is that, after K'iid ignored his grandfather's warning not to
look back at the village, his feet took root and he became the tree.
In January last year, a vandal took a chainsaw to the tree and cut it down
as "an expression of my rage and hatred toward university-trained
UBC has the only two cuttings of the butchered tree outside the Queen
Charlottes. One had been offered to the Haida..."
This tree was quite famous about these parts and I remember the sad story
of its destruction, sadder still because I was only two months away from
making a trip to the islands and to this magnificent tree.
Thanks for your time and I hope this helps
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