Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has visited 'The Florencecourt Yew' tree which was chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Trees dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee and her legacy, under the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC) initiative.
The QGC initiative aims to raise awareness of these treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations. The Ancient Tree dedication marks the start of a long-term project to propagate material to ensure that the genetic resource and unique characteristics of some of the UK's most important trees is preserved.
'The Florencecourt Yew' represents the origins of the Irish yew cultivar and it is now mother to millions of offspring across the world. The site is within Florencecourt forest in Enniskillen, managed by DAERA's Forest Service, and which offers widely contrasting habitats, from open mountain and blanket bog to coniferous forest. The old estate woodland features many mature oaks, some planted around 200 years ago.
Speaking after the visit, Minister Poots said: "Florencecourt forest is a popular amenity for local people and tourism in the wider Fermanagh area, particularly because of its close association with the historic National Trust Florence Court House and grounds.This forest offers many diverse species and habitats, all of which have an important role in providing enjoyment for many people. They support positive economic, environmental and social outcomes for citizens, including health and well-being benefits.
"I am delighted to recognise that the Florencecourt 'Mother Yew' tree has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Trees to be dedicated to Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee and legacy. The Florencecourt Yew tree is well-known and has an important historic value, being now the mother to millions of offspring across the world."
He added: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's passion for our countryside and nature was clearly evident throughout her life. The QGC initiative dedicates trees to her legacy which serve as a lasting tribute to Her Majesty's extraordinary service to her country and her people."