Tree Personalities

The oldest trees at Wilhelma go back to the founding era around 1840; some of them were possibly standing here even earlier. To those that are definitely over 150 years old there belong the huge plane trees, the largest of which stands by the flamingo enclosure, the yews in the Moorish Garden, the magnolias from the royal collection and the famous ginkgo trees. Goethe, the famous German author, poet and all-round academic, was inspired by the ginkgos and their two-lobed leaves to write a poem:

Is this leaf a living being,
That itself has split in two?
Is it two, who, self-selected
Wish that they united grew?

(2nd verse of the poem "Ginkgo biloba" by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, trans. I.Winter, 2007.)

Further tree personalities with a special effusion of blossoms are, for instance, the paulownia or blue catalpa trees, the catalpas themselves and the dove or handkerchief trees. The Californian redwoods are impressive - not for their blossoms but for their sheer size. In order to cultivate them for their wood, the King had some 5,000 of them grown from seed in 1865. He had the seeds sent from California. Today, after well over 140 years, the remaining examples have reached a height of over 30 metres. Their Californian brothers, with a height of 80 metres and a trunk circumference of more than 30 metres, are the largest living organisms on our planet!

The lime and plane avenues close to the so-called Long Lake give structure to the park and offer relaxing and shady places in the summer. A striking group of old Turkey or wainscot oaks are a decorative addition to the park-like area in the upper section of Wilhelma.