Caucasian Wingnut

Lindsay Hunt writes:

Rather spectacular at the moment is this unusual ornamental specimen tree in Blenheim Park. It stopped me in my tracks on a recent press trip to the Palace as I was walking along the lakeside path between the Boathouse and the Cascades.

Photo: Pete Seaward

In July, this tree, a relative of the walnut native to places like Turkey and Iran, produces amazing tassels of winged seeds up to half a metre long. I didn’t recognize it at all, and Blenheim staff hadn’t a clue either, but after some googling I pinned it down to this unmistakable species. I dropped a quick letter to the Oxford Times a couple of weeks ago, and it’s since had a mention in the Guardian too. Worth looking out for if you happen to be visiting Blenheim now that summer seems to have arrived at last. The photos are by Blenheim’s photographer Pete Seaward.