Rare Bee Bee tree is thriving at Limerick’s People’s Park

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

IT has been in the heart of the city for years and to any casual observer it looks like any ordinary tree.

IT has been in the heart of the city for years and to any casual observer it looks like any ordinary tree.

But it has just been confirmed that a tree in the People’s Park in Limerick is very special indeed with very rare oriental roots.

It has captured that imagination of a number of Limerick people in recent months...particularly keen bee keepers.

Leslie Hartigan from Castleconnell, a very enthusiastic beekeeper was one of those taken by the tree and the fact that from September and late into October and sometimes November an “extraordinary amount of bees are seen around the tree’s cluster of flowers.”

Leslie with the help of staff in the People’s Park, including parks superintendent Michael Sheehan made efforts to identify the tree, but all to no avail. But Denis McNally from the Botanic Gardens, Dublin has come to the rescue.

He has confirmed that the tree originated in Korea and China and is commonly known as the Bee Bee Tree or by its correct title Tetradium Daniellii Hupehensis.

“As the bees are struggling worldwide, any source of food for them that appears this late when the normal flow has finished is very worthwhile,” says Leslie.

As our photo shows, the tree in the Park looks no different then any other at present, but keep an eye out for it next September and keep your distance if the bees are feasting on its delights.

“It is a beautiful ornamental tree which is a great source of late Summer nectar for bees. The white flower cluster when in bloom in late Summer often has as many as 20 bees per cluster,” said Michael Sheehan.