Plant of the Month - November 2018

Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’

Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana' - S Turner
Before clearance - Photo © S. Turner

Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana' - R. Egglestone
After clearance - Photo © R. Egglestone
Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana' - S Turner
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’
Photo © S. Turner

At the top of the West Lawn, in front of the pavilions, a dense clump of overgrown hollies and shrubs has recently been cleared, resulting in much improved vistas and the dramatic revealing of a fine oak, Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’.

In 1735 William Lucombe introduced the Turkey Oak (Q. cerris) to his Exeter nursery and when the first seedlings from this grew in the 1760s, he realised that one was a cross with a nearby Cork Oak (Q. suber). This hybrid was developed and widely distributed, with clones varying between the vigour of Q. cerris and the corkiness of Q. suber.

In SBG the Lucombe Oak displays the characteristic strong upright growth of the Turkey Oak (specimens grow west of the fountain, Area P) and the corky bark of the Cork Oak (a young specimen grows in the Mediterranean climate garden, Area L) as well as its foliage which is almost evergreen here.

Lucombe stored planks of the original hybrid under his bed intending them to be used for his coffin, but the young wood rotted and had to be replaced, being put into service when he died aged 102!

Other Plants to look for in November can be found here

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