The Southsea trees which escaped disease but not hurricane

The Ladies' Mile, Southsea
The Ladies' Mile, Southsea

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Southsea Common is home to a remarkable collection of mature elm trees, believed to be the oldest and largest-surviving in Hampshire, which have escaped Dutch elm disease because of their isolation.

The majority of the larger trees are Huntingdon Elms planted in the 1920s, but nearer the entrance to the skate park there is a fine example of a hybrid of the Siberian Elm ulmus pumila.

The Ladies' Mile, Southsea PPP-140625-151801001

The Ladies' Mile, Southsea PPP-140625-151801001

Huntingdon Elms once lined The Ladies’ Mile avenue through the centre of the Common, but many were lost to the Great Storm of 1987 and replaced by the Dutch elm cultivar Lobel.

The Ladies’ Mile is also home to several semi-mature Canary Island date palms , Phoenix canariensis. Planted in 1996, these palms are now some of the largest in the UK and for the past few years have fruited and produced viable seed, the first time this species of palm has been recorded doing so in the UK.