SEATTLE, Dec. 10 (UPI) — Officials with the Washington Park Arboretum said someone apparently seeking a free Christmas tree chopped down a rare specimen from the Seattle park.
Randall Hitchin, manager of living collections for the University of Washington Botanical Gardens, which runs the arboretum, said workers discovered the stump of the formerly 7-foot-tall tree Wednesday and determined someone had chopped down the rare tree, which is native to the mountains of China’s Yunnan province, and had taken it from the park, The Seattle Times reported Thursday.
“It makes me want to cry,” Hitchin said of the Keteleeria evelyniana’s disappearance.
Hitchin said the tree, which the arboretum obtained in 1998, was one of two at the facility, but the second tree does not share the missing specimen’s symmetrical beauty.
“A Keteleeria is something that even most arborists have never heard of,” Hitchin said. “Or if they have, it’s just a reference in a book. To have a specimen in the flesh is just a tremendous thing.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International