Overview of Ancient and Precious Trees in Beijing


  Ancient and precious trees are treasures of forest resources and precious heritage of the nature and our forefathers. They reflect social development and natural changes. 

  They are Living Relics, telling stories of ups and downs of the city;

  They are Living History, recording more than Beijing's 3,000 years as a city and over 800 years as capital; 

  They are Living Antiques, presenting wonders of life with their weather-beaten branches and straight trunks;  

  They are Living God of Longevity, passing on heritage of history.  

  There are abundant resources of ancient and precious trees in Beijing, and they are distributed widely in all districts. According to statistics, there are over 40,000 ancient and precious trees in Beijing, including 97% of ancient trees (more than 100 years old) and about 3% precious trees (precious and rare trees or trees of historical or memorable value). In ancient trees, there are over 6,000 first-class (more than 300 years old) trees and more than 34,000 second-class (ages between 100 and 300) trees. 

  There are diverse species of ancient and precious trees. According to surveys, there are 74 species of 56 genera of 33 families. Platycladus orientalis, Styphnolobium japonicum, Pinus tabuliformis and Juniperus chinensis dominate, accounting for 90% of the total. Pinus bungeana, Ginkgo biloba, elms and Catalpa bungei also account for a small proportion. Among them, Platycladus orientalis and Styphnolobium japonicum are city trees of Beijing. 

  Since April of 2018, there had been a "Looking for the 10 most beautiful King of Trees" effort in Beijing. After document review, expert nomination, public voting and publicity, 10 trees including Nine Dragon Cypress of the Temple of Heaven Park, Nine Arms and Eighteen Branches Platycladus orientalis of Miyun District are named the 10 most beautiful King of Trees. 

  Tang Dynasty Styphnolobium japonicum of Beihai Park

  Circumference at breast height: 596 cm

  Tree height: 13 m

  Crown breadth: 9 m 

  Tree age: 1,200 years 

  Styphnolobium japonicum, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as Tang Dynasty Styphnolobium japonicum of Beihai Park. It is located in southwest corner of a courtyard of Beihai Park, just like a large bonsai. It was planted in Tang Dynasty, so it is called Tang Dynasty Styphnolobium japonicum. 

  King of Ziziphus jujube of Huashi of Dongcheng district

  Circumference at breast height: 393 cm

  Tree height: 15 m

  Crown breadth: 11 m 

  Tree age: 800 years 

  Ziziphus jujube, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as King of Ziziphus jujube of Huashi. It is located in the Huashizaoyuan residence community. All along from Jin Dynasty, this tree went through thousand years' ups and downs, surviving lightning and storm as well several times of freezing damage in Ming and Qing dynasties. It remains luxuriant, sturdy and vigorous, being seen as an auspicious tree. 

  Greeting Pine of Cheerying of Haidian District 

  Circumference at breast height: 350 cm

  Tree height: 7 m

  Crown breadth: 16 m 

  Tree age: 1,000 years 

  Pinus tabuliformis, first-class ancient tree, commonly called greeting pine. It is located in front of Guanyu Temple of Cheerying Village of Haidian District. It was planted in Liao Dynasty and is one of thickest Pinus tabuliformis trees in Beijing. One main branch in south spreads towards the road, as if greeting visitors, so the tree is called Greeting Pine.

  Nine Arms and Eighteen Branches Platycladus orientalis of Miyun District

  Circumference at breast height: 780 cm

  Tree height: 18 m

  Crown breadth: 15 m 

  Tree age: 3,500 years 

  Platycladus orientalis, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as Nine Arms and Eighteen Branches. It is located in front of the relics of Guanyu Temple in Xichengzi Village, Xinchengzi Town of Miyun District. It is called the biggest ancient cypress in Beijing. Its large trunk can only be folded by several persons hand-in-hand. There are 18 branches around its bole at 2 meters away from the ground, and they look like a large umbrella. It is estimated that this tree is more than 3500 years old, making it the oldest tree in Beijing.  

  Nine Dragon Cypress of the Temple of Heaven Park

  Circumference at breast height: 368 cm

  Tree height: 11.5 m

  Crown breadth: 6.7 m 

  Tree age: 600 years 

  Juniperus chinensis, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as Nine Dragon Cypress of the Temple of Heaven. It is located in the northwest corner outside the Echo Wall of the Temple of Heaven Park. It is said that Emperor Qianlong came to visit the Temple of Heaven and heard voice in the Imperial Heavenly Vault and found nine snakes which disappeared outside the wall, and he looked up and saw the Nine Dragon Cypress stand straight and felt that the cypress was incarnation of immortal snakes which were guards sent from the Heaven.  

  Nine Dragon Pine of Jietai Temple of Mentougou District

  Circumference at breast height: 650 cm

  Tree height: 18 m

  Crown breadth: 23 m 

  Tree age: 1,300 years 

  Pinus bungeana, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as Nine Dragon Pine. It is located near the south gate of the Jietai Temple of Mentougou District. The tree is tall and strong, and its bole is divided into 9 branches with stems like mottled scales, making the tree like nine silver dragons flying in the air protecting the temple. The tree was planted in early Tang Dynasty, more than 1,300 years ago. It is the oldest Pinus bungeana in Beijing and among the oldest Pinus bungeana trees in China and the world. 

  Emperor Tree of Tanzhe Temple of Mentougou District 

  Circumference at breast height: 1,100 cm

  Tree height: 30 m

  Crown breadth: 18.5 m 

  Tree age: 1,300 years

  Ginkgo biloba, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as Emperor tree. It is located in Tanzhe Temple of Mentougou District. It is said that in Qing Dynasty, each time one emperor died, one limb of the tree would break; each time a new emperor was enthroned, a new stem would grow from the tree root and grow together with the old bole. Emperor Qianlong named this tree Emperor Tree. Eminent monks in north China all regard this tree as an bodhi tree, tree of Buddha, 

  King of Elm of Qianjiadian Township of Yanqing District

  Circumference at breast height: 610 cm

  Tree height: 21 m

  Crown breadth: 25 m 

  Tree age: 600 years 

  Elm tree, first-class ancient tree, commonly known as King of Elm. It is located in Paiziling Village of Qianjiadian Township of Yanqing District. It is said that this tree was planted by Emperor Yongle when he was on a north tour. Currently, growing near the village and the Baihe River, this tree has been beautiful scenery in the mountainous area.  

  Magnolia denudate of the Summer Palace

  Circumference at breast height: 229 cm

  Tree height: 8.5 m

  Crown breadth: 7.4 m 

  Tree age: 180 years 

  Magnolia denudate, second-class ancient tree. It is located in east of Yaoyue Gate of the Summer Palace, and it is the only ancient Magnolia denudate in the Summer Palace. In its blossom season, it has numerous large white flowers, elegant and fragrant, just like snow sea, attracting many photographers. This tree is on the annual "you can't miss it" list for many citizens. 

  Malus micromalus of Former Residence of Song Qingling of Xicheng District

  Circumference at breast height: 250 cm

  Tree height: 6 m

  Crown breadth: 9 m 

  Tree age: 200 years 

  Malus micromalus, second-class ancient trees, commonly known as Malus micromalus of former residence of Song Qingling. There are only 6 ancient Malus micromalus trees in Beijing, two of them are located in a quadrangle courtyard behind the main building of the former residence of Song Qingling. The trees were planted in Qing Dynasty and they are relic of the Prince Chun's Mansion. They are in blossom with pink flowers each winter and yield red fruits each autumn. 

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