The winds that have blown relentlessly for the last month have claimed one of Longwood Gardens’ signature trees, an 85-foot-high, 195-year-old yellow cucumber magnolia once deemed the tallest of its kind in the nation.
Longwood spokesperson Patricia Evans said Wednesday that the tree evidently fell between 11 a.m. and noon on April 30. At noon, a gust of 46 mph was reported from Philadelphia International Airport, and gust of 40 at 11 a.m.
It landed within a few feet of the historic Peirce du-Pont House. Longwood has been closed since March because of the coronavirus, and no one was injured.
According to an article posted on Longwood’s website, the tree was once designated a “state champion tree,” the largest of its kind in the state and later declared to be the largest in the country.
The tree species was discovered in South Carolina by a French explorer, and the cucumber magnolia was purchased by members of the family that eventually sold the property to Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood said in the article on its site.
The species will continue to live in the garden: Three of the fallen tree’s propagules were planted in 2008 near the the Sylvan Fountain by the Orchard at Longwood.