Cuttings have been taken from a historic Saffron Pear Tree in the Company’s Garden. Newlands Nursery staff now eagerly await the opening of the first shoots from the cuttings of this 300 year-old tree. Read more below:The cuttings were taken in August 2013 in order to preserve this domestic pear tree’s genetic material. Tiny shoots have started to sprout and City Parks officials believe they could start opening soon.

A motion to preserve the tree was put forth to the Community Services Portfolio Committee by Councillor Paddy Chapple last month. The Saffron Pear Tree, still drawing in sweet mountain water, was planted during the initial Dutch occupation of the Cape and is believed to be the oldest cultivated tree in South Africa. It is estimated to be over 300 years old. Should the original tree die, its clone could be planted.

City Parks has built a protective structure around the original tree in an attempt to keep it viable. It was, however, decided to make the cuttings and propagate it at the City’s Newlands Nursery as a preservation measure.

The Company’s Garden in Cape Town is home to many historical trees and this initiative could be the first of many.

“This is a great way for the City to celebrate Heritage Month. The Saffron Pear Tree is one of the country’s Champion Trees, receiving protection from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Cape Town boasts an array of these trees,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker.

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department, City of Cape Town

Saffron Pear Tree in Company Gardens, South Africa's oldest tree. Image supplied by City of Cape Town

Saffron Pear Tree in Company Gardens, South Africa’s oldest tree. Image supplied by City of Cape Town