UK garden and greenhouse experts to save Vietnamese trees

Vietnamese scientists struggling to save an endangered species of conifer tree are to receive assistance from UK-based experts.

The Forestry Commissions Matt Parratt has taken seeds of the Xanthocyparis vietnamensis back to the lab in Britain, where he will x-ray them to establish their viability for reproduction.

Experts in Vietnam do not have the facilities to do this and have so far failed to halt the decline of the wild species, which now numbers just 169, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Discovered a decade ago, the trees are threatened by logging close to the border with China.

However, it is hoped that with British help, their numbers can be bolstered and the decline reversed.

To boost the species chances, viable seeds discovered in the UK will be grown at the Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent and also distributed to botanic gardens around the country.

Furthermore, information will be fed back to Vietnam, giving scientists an advantage when trying to select seeds that will produce strong trees.

In other news, the RHS has revealed that a Truro orchard has begun planting some old varieties of Cornish apples, which should help keep them alive for future generations of garden and greenhouse enthusiasts.