Christmas Tree (Abies nordmanniana)

In case you haven’t noticed, it's getting a bit festive around the Greenway so we’re joining in by focusing this week’s plant on the Connswater Community Greenway Christmas Tree. While most real Christmas trees are cut down and installed temporarily, ours in C.S. Lewis Square is a real living, growing specimen. Much like the Greenway itself!

Our Christmas tree is a Nordmann Fir, Abies nordmanniana which is becoming ever more popular as a commercial tree for indoor use because of their rich foliage with attractive flattened needles which don’t shrivel and drop in heated rooms.


Photo Credit: Colin McAlister, C.S. Lewis Square

Abies nordmanniana was discovered by Alexander von Nordmann -  a Finnish botanist who introduced it to Western Europe in 1838, following a search through the Caucasus for new plants. What a job he had!

Evergreen trees have been used to celebrate the winter season long before the birth of Christ but the first decorated Christmas tree recorded was in 1510 in Riga, Latvia.

Following the use of candles on trees for many years, Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights in 1882. Following this, Christmas tree lights started to be mass-produced in 1890 with large department stores starting to erect big illuminated Christmas trees in 1900 and encouraging us all to have one in our houses.

Does anyone remember Anderson and McAuley or Robinson & Cleavers Christmas trees?

Photo credit: Paul Hunter


Where to find it??

C.S. Lewis himself may have said that it is always winter and never Christmas in Narnia but he may have had to reconsider if he had seen our Nordmann Fir in the Square beside the EastSide Visitor Centre over the last few days! The Nordmann Fir is a great ornamental tree all year round and it is fantastic to see this species in all seasons.

While you may think that getting a real Christmas tree for a month or so is a waste, it is worth considering that the tree will have been growing on a farm for about 10 years. During that time it will have provided a habitat for wildlife, helped reduce flood water runoff and that an acre of Christmas trees can produce the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people.

If you recycle your real tree it will be put to good use in mulch and compost but an artificial tree will last for centuries in a landfill.


Photo credit: Paul Hunter, C.S. Lewis Square


Be Part of it… 

As always if you spot a plant along the Greenway you'd like more information on you can email or tag the Connswater Community Greenway in them. If you spot the Christmas tree in C.S. Lewis Square this week don't forget to send us your photos!