The original Camperdown elm: Brian Whitefield

Pictured immediately below is the original Camperdown weeping, contorted elm that was found growing wild in the woods on the grounds of Camperdown House in Scotland in the outskirts of Dundee and then transplanted as a young tree to the formal gardens of the estate in the 1830s. The estate was purchased by the City of Dundee in 1946 and is now public gardens and a wildlife centre. The tree is still alive, over 200 years old, standing about nine feet tall and the grafted top of every Camperdown elm cultivar in the world was a cutting from this tree. Apparently the cuttings have been grafted onto various standard elm rootstocks, the most common in Europe being the wych elm and in America, the American elm. 
We just saw many Camperdown elm cultivars on a walk today at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and they are truly beautiful specimens, just starting to leaf out. There is even a curved dead stump of one, probably 150 years old or so that even in its demise leaves a beautiful sculpture. 

Here’s a pic of one of the older Camperdowns at MPC, albeit sans foliage. You can see the point of grafting about halfway up the trunk. 

Brian Whitefield

1 thought on “The original Camperdown elm: Brian Whitefield

  1. Muriel Steeb

    Good Morning Brian,
    I have just seen you photos of this amazing tree in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
    I am writing to ask if you might consider putting your photos and the story of this remarkable tree, on the FIND A GRAVE web site for Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
    I am a Find A Grave volunteer and I know any contribution would be so appreciated.
    What a history this tree has…
    Too important not to be documented..
    Please consider contributing your story and photos of this tree.
    Muriel Steeb


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