Cornwall

Rare British tree inspires artist Kurt Jackson

One of Britain's rarest tree species has been the inspiration for one of Cornwall's leading artists.

The Plymouth pear was discovered in the South West in 1865 growing in a handful of Plymouth and Truro hedgerows.

The tree has been included on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme and has been given legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Penwith artist Kurt Jackson has taken up its cause and is using his work to highlight its plight.

'Truly wild'

The rare species has inspired his latest body of work titled Trees of Cornwall.

The artist, who has a degree in zoology, said: "It is the only truly wild pear species in Britain which makes it so important."

"It was potentially one of the ancestors of some of our food crops".

According to Matt Rangers, head ranger at Lanydrock Trust, the Plymouth pear has always been very rare in Britain and its "low seed-fertility offers little scope for it to spread naturally to new sites".

Efforts are being made to help the species to populate on the Lanydrock Estate.

Plymouth City Council has also planted specimens in Forder Valley and Efford Marsh Local Nature Reserves in an attempt to secure the long-term survival of this species.

'Trees I knew'

Jackson's artistic interests are based in the natural world and he has a passion for the environment.

"It's all part of a project I am doing about the trees of Cornwall, I have been painting them for the last three years.

"I wanted to look at trees I knew and I also wanted to explore Cornwall for those rarities."

Jackson hopes his work "draws attention to what's all around us and awakens an interest in our disappearing biodiversity".

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