Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

St Albans Verdum Tree

Posted on by royvickery |

After the end of the First World War oak (Quercus) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees grown from seeds from the few trees which remained on the site of the Battle of Verdum were planted in various locations in Britain.

The Battle started on 21 February 1916 when Germans attacked the French at Verdum and continued for 303 days.  One of the objectives of the Battle of the Somme was to draw German troops away from Verdum, and thus reduce pressure on the French.  By the end of the Battle some 300,000 had died and a further 400,000 had been injured.

The Tree in Waxhouse Gate, St Albans, Hertfordshire is said  to have been ‘grown from a conker which itself came from one of the last trees standing at the end of the Battle of Verdum’, but it was planted in 1976.  Had a conker somehow been preserved for 60 years?  Or had the tree somehow been kept small for many years until it was planted in St Albans?  It seems more likely that it was grown from a seed (conker) taken from a tree which had been grown from an original Verdun tree, and is thus a second generation one.

Photographed August 2019.

Edited 25 July 2021.

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