Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Queen Elizabeth Oak, Greenwich

Greenwich Park, in south London, contains the remains of an oak tree known as ‘Queen Elizabeth Oak’, besides which stands a young oak tree, planted by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1992, to mark the his wife’s, Queen Elizabeth II’s, 40 years reign.

Although the original tree is named after Queen Elizabeth I, any association with her seems  tenuous, and a notice explains that the tree ‘has traditions linking it with Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII and his Queen Ann Boleyn’.  Greenwich Palace, to which the Park formerly belonged, was for many years an important royal home, both Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I being born there.

The notice claims that the oak was planted in the twelfth century, and having been hollow for many hundreds of years may have served as a lock-up for people who broke the Park’s rules.  It adds that the tree died late in the nineteenth century, but remained standing supported by a strong growth of ivy until 1991.

Photographed January 2o20.

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