Sends Lord Enniskillen's account of origin of the Irish yew: transplanted from the wild; propagated by cuttings thereafter. Offspring recently raised from seed are intermediate between common and Irish [weeping] yew.
30 Eaton Place
I send you Enniskillen's account of the discovery of
the Irish Yew. “Old Hugh” (not
Yew) “Willis of Ahaterourke under Ben Achlin found two upright Yews in
the mountain between the Cove and the Ben near Lugahurra hollow about 80 years
ago. He brought one to his Landlord and planted the other in his own Garden where it now
stands a fine tree. The remnants of the other are now in the Flower garden here. I have
always heard that the first plants raised were from cuttings, and to judge from the
appearance of the mother plant it must be true. I never heard of seed being sown till
- f1 750.f1William Willoughby Cole, 3d Earl of Enniskillen, Fermanaugh, Ireland.
- f2 750.f2CD had heard of the discovery earlier from Egerton and had apparently asked him to obtain an account from Enniskillen. On 20 April 1844 CD made the following note:
Sir. P. Egerton tells me that he [altered from ‘has’] has seen original Irish Yew at [over illeg ] Florence Court; it was found as young tree in open [interl ] mountains & removed—. reproduced by cuttings & seeds. believes that former truest.— One seedling has come up different & Lord E. has promised one to Sir P. E.— I think this proves a natural seedling & weeping yew.— Species will turn out (N.B Leighton says there is difference in leaves of weeping yew??) made by jumps—curious both these yews coming true to seeds.— (DAR 163).
Leighton is William Allport Leighton and the reference is to Leighton 1841, pp. 497–8.
- f3 750.f3Lord Enniskillen's seat.
- f4 750.f4CD preserved the letter for possible use in chapter four of his ‘big book’ which was to be devoted to ‘Variation under nature’. However, the yew is not mentioned in chapter four of either Natural selection or the Origin. The sudden appearance of useful or ornamental varieties of trees, including the weeping yew, is discussed in Variation 1: 361.