Rare tree is damaged in 'vandal' attack
A RARE tree, once thought to be extinct, planted during Plymouth University's 150th anniversary celebrations has been damaged in a suspected vandal attack.
The university confirmed its Wollemi Pine, planted in the grounds in October, suffered damage during the weekend and police had been informed.
The institution celebrated its 150th anniversary in October with a host of events including the planting of some of the world's most protected tree species around the campus, each commemorating a different overseas partnership.
The Wollemi Pine from Australia – Wollemia Nobilis – was described by the university as "one of the world's oldest and most protected species, and once thought to be extinct".
The other trees planted included the Patagonian cypress – Fitzroya cuppressoides – from Argentina, named by Charles Darwin after the Beagle's master of the vessel; and the beautiful Handkerchief Tree – Davidia involucrate – from China.
A spokesman for Plymouth University said the tree, located by the Student Union slopes, was believed to have been targeted in the early hours of Saturday December 1.
The spokesman said: "Regrettably, we can confirm that the Wollemi Pine planted during the University's 150th anniversary celebrations sustained some damage over the weekend.
"We are currently reviewing security footage, but at this time, it is not clear who was responsible.
"We are also assessing the level of damage to ascertain whether the remainder of the tree could survive in its current location."