The legacy of the “iconic tree” will live on thanks to the “remarkable science of grafting”Sam Brockington

“Newton’s apple tree” has been uprooted after Storm Eunice brought fierce winds to Cambridge over the weekend.

The tree, which lived in the University’s Botanical Garden, was planted in 1954 and after being cloned from the one that led Sir Isaac Newton to discover the existence of gravity by watching an apple fall from it. The tree has stood at the Brookside entrance to the garden for 68 years.

The original tree was blown over in gale in the 19th century but its legacy lived on through the practice of grafting, where shoots of the tree are bound to another sapling.

The writing was on the wall for the tree even before the storm, as analysis showed it had been infected by honey fungus. The garden curators had prepared by making their own clone of the current tree, allowing it to live on in the gardens for future generations.


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Dr Samuel Brockington, the curator of the garden, described the uprooting as a “sad loss” of an “iconic tree”, but said that the “remarkable science of grafting” should keep its legacy alive.

The tree is just one of the iconic plants to be housed in the University’s Botanic Garden, with the collection celebrating the blooming of a rare Amazonian moonflower in a “UK first” last year.