Notable Collections

Autumn woodland garden country 
Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Bedale, North Yorkshire
Marcus Harpur

National Plant Collections

All the trees in the Arboretum are labelled with a number on a plastic ‘luggage tag’ which is usually found on the trunk of the tree or around a lower bough. The green or black tags are often easier to spot from ‘inside’ the tree, particularly on large or low-growing trees. Feel free to leave the path to investigate the tree label, as long as it is safe to do so and you are not disturbing or trampling on any other plants or trees.
The entire collection is recorded in our catalogue, which can be purchased from the Tearoom at a cost of £4. If there is a particular tree you would like information on, please use the reference copy held in the Tearoom.


Thorp Perrow is very proud to hold five National Plant Collections under the guidelines set out by the NCCPG. The ‘National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens’ (N.C.C.P.G) now known as ‘Plant Heritage’ was founded as a registered charity in 1978 to combine the talents of botanists, horticulturalists and conservationists with the dedication of keen amateur and professional gardeners. Plant Heritage’s aims are to: encourage the propagation and conservation of cultivated plants in the British Isles; encourage and conduct research into cultivated plants, their origins, their historical and cultural importance and their environments; and encourage the education of the public in cultivated plant conservation.

We are guardians of these five fabulous collections:

Fraxinus (Ash)

No of species – 26
No of cultivars – 8
No of taxa – 44
Collection held since 1991.

English name Ash tree, is a genus of flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45–65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The genus is widespread across much of Europe, Asia and North America.


Juglans (Walnut)

No of species – 6
No of cultivars – 6
No of taxa – 14
Collection held since 1991.

English name Walnut tree , is a genus of 21 species in the family of Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are referred to as walnuts. All species are large deciduous trees. They are native species across the north temperate Old World from southeast Europe east to Japan, and more widely in the New World from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina.


Tilia (Lime)

No of species – 32
No of cultivars – 12
No of taxa – 44
Collection held from 1991.

English name Lime tree, they are not related to the Lime fruit. Other names include Linden, and Basswood for the North American species. Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The genus occurs in Europe and eastern North America, but the greatest species diversity is found in Asia. Under the Cronquist classification system, this genus was placed in the family Tiliaceae, but genetic research summarised by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has resulted in the incorporation of this genus, and of most of the previous family, into the Malvaceae family.



No of species – 4
No of cultivars – 12
No of taxa – 21
Collection held from 2001.

English name Golden Chain tree, is a genus of two species of small trees in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. They are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkans.

Laburnum at Thorp Perrow

Cotinus (Smoke Bush)

No of species – 2
No of cultivars – 15
No of taxa – 27
Collection held from 2002.

English name Smoke tree or Smoke bush is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. Native to the warm temperate northern hemisphere.


Champion Trees

The Tree Register is a registered charity that was set up in 1988 by the late Alan Mitchell VMH and Victoria Schilling. The Tree Register gathers and records details of exceptionally large, historic, rare and remarkable trees growing in Britain and Ireland.

This unique tree register comprises of a computer database with details of more than 150,000 trees. Amongst the data gathered are records of the largest and tallest trees of each species, however it should be noted that not all Champion Trees are huge!

Thorp Perrow is proud to hold 51 Champion Trees in the varied collection.

It should be noted that 12 of these are held within some of the National Plant Collections.


Don’t miss these Champion Trees:

P71 – Betula medwediewii (Transcaucasian Birch). This Tree was given Champion Tree status because it has the largest girth in the country, measuring 9m in height and with a bole measuring 0.4m. This wonderful multi-stemmed tree is located in Autumn Bay 2 and has fabulous Autumn colour. Thought to have been planted at Thorp Perrow in the 1930’s this tree was first introduced to the UK in 1897.

X162 – xLaburnocytisus adamii. This tree is the largest and tallest in the country, measuring 7m in height and 132cm bole girth. Originated from a graft hybrid (Chimera) between Laburnum and Cytisus. The Laburnum forms the core of the tree and the influence of the Cytisus forms the outer skin of the tree. When in flower in May some branches bear yellow flowers of the Laburnum and some bear clusters of purple flowers from the Cytisus. In addition some branches will produce intermediate flowers of a coppery pink. It was introduced to this country by M Adam from Paris in 1825.

V19 – Ligustrum sinense. This tree was given its’ status of Champion tree as it is the tallest, largest and most unusual of its’ type in the country. Measuring a height of 5m and bole girth of 81cm. It is unusual in it has a wonderfully striking, contorted stem. This is not its’ natural habit and it is thought to be a systemic fault within this particular specimen. A free flowering shrub with dense sprays of white flowers in Summer. Introduced to this country from China by Robert Fortune in 1852.

G131 – Populus ‘North West’. This historic Populus is the largest and tallest in the country measuring a huge 331m in height and 1.5m bole girth. Situated in the Millennium Glade this Populus is the only remaining specimen from our historic Populus collection planted in the 1800’s.

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Photo credits – Tag: Marcus Harpur, all others: Thorp Perrow