Local News

Rare Chinese Tree Blooms in Raleigh

Posted August 6, 2007 8:31 p.m. EDT

— In the City of Oaks, a rare Chinese tree is blooming in a homeowner’s yard.

The 9-year-old Emmenopterys henryi bloomed for the first time this summer, said homeowner Jeane Andrus.

She bought the tree as a seedling at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh and planted it in her yard on City of Oaks Wynd road, Andrus said.

Arborists told her that trees of this rare species, which is native to China, commonly do not bloom they are 30 years old.

“Every spring, (my husband) would come out and he’d say this is the year this tree is going to bloom,” Andrus said. “And I would just roll my eyes and say, ‘Oh right.’”

Experts shared Andrus’s surprise at the blooming of her tree.

“I thought it was spectacular,” said Mark Weathington, assistant director of the Raulston Arboretum, who said that such a young Emmenopterys henryi blooming is “extremely rare.”

The first time an Emmenopterys henryi bloomed in the United States was 1994, according to research.

Since then, there have been only about a dozen documented cases of a Emmenopterys henryi blooming in this country.

“It’s pretty rare to see that tree at all in this area. It’s a very, very uncommon tree,” said Weathington.

Andrus agreed that her tree blooming is a special occurrence.

“Nature has a way of surprising you,” Andrus said.