Trees native to China have been planted in Nottingham to mark the 2008 Olympic Games and celebrate international links with the host nation.
Five trees - including a Honey Locust, Tree of Heaven and Chinese Rain Tree - were planted in the shape of the Olympic logo of five interlocking rings, at Highfields Park on University Boulevard.
Professor Sir Colin Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, joined with Chinese students and dignitaries from Nottingham City Council in planting the trees at a civic event on April 23.
The University of Nottingham has particularly strong links with China, with more than a thousand Chinese students studying for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at its Nottingham campuses. The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, which opened in 2005, has gone from strength to strength and is now home to 2,800 students.
Melanie Futer, Manager, Off-Campus Student Affairs at The University of Nottingham, said: “The city of Nottingham as a whole is a diverse community including many Chinese people, who play an important part in the life of the city.
“From a horticultural standpoint, China is a rich source of wonderful trees and shrubs that enrich our lives. The relationship with our Chinese community is therefore being celebrated in this Olympic year with the planting of trees indigenous to China. The trees selected will stand in the pattern of the five Olympic rings, which represent the five continents.”
City Councillor Malcolm Wood, Chairman of the Nottingham in Bloom 2008 working group, also attended the event on April 23 and planted one of the five trees.
The trees are:
· Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Handsome fast-growing tree with large foliage. Introduced into Europe in 1751.
· Dove tree, Ghost tree or Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrate). Plant collector EH Wilson brought this back from China in 1899. The tree produces large white bracts that look like flowers. These bracts flutter in the wind giving rise to the names that it has been given over the years.
· Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba). Regarded as a sacred tree in the East and is often planted near Buddhist temples. Sometimes known as a fossil tree, this was growing over 160 million years ago.
· Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos, 'Sunburst'). A large tall tree with beautiful bright foliage and a strong yellow autumn colour.
· Chinese rain tree or golden rain tree ( Koelreuteria paniculata). Young leaves open as pink-red turning to mid-green and finally to buttery-yellow. It has golden yellow flowers in summer.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.