Quercus Baronii China[Title from recto of mount.] Alternate Title: Tree covered hill
Photograph by Joseph Hers (1884-1965), American, Belgian
Joseph Hers was an interpreter for the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Chengchow, and was superbly situated to collect and photograph rare plants endemic to that region. In a 1919 letter to Sargent, Hers wrote that although his “own knowledge of botany is, I regret to say, very limited, I happen to live in a part of China where very few botanical collections, if any, have been made…” Enclosed with the letter was a list of trees and shrubs that included a number of new species. Hers offered to send “seeds, or cuttings, or photos.”
Sargent replied that “this is one of the most important collections of Chinese plants which has been sent to the Arboretum and I am extremely obliged to you.” Between 1919 and 1938, he collected seed and specimens of over 2,000 species, and published papers on cultivated and indigenous woody plants of Northeastern Asia. After World War II, he remained in Belgium where he continued his interest and connection with China as General Secretary of the Association Belge pour l’Extreme–Orient, a position he retained until his death in 1965.
Oak (Quercus spp.) is our Tree of the Month at Arnold Arboretum for the month of October, 2017.
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