“The Mother Tree,” Hershey Pennsylvania

"A nice garden of roses"

“A nice garden of roses” — Hotel Hershey in the background

Hershey offers many things to do and see. You can visit Chocolate World, Hershey Park, Zoo America, museums, and attend shows, concerts and professional ice hockey games.

You cans also spend some time just enjoying nature’s beauty.  In 1937, Milton Hershey said he wanted “a nice garden of roses.” Hershey Gardens now takes up twenty-three acres on a hill overlooking the town of Hershey.  http://www.hersheygardens.org/visit/garden-map

It is a beautiful place in its own right, but my imagination was caught by one particular plant, the “mother tree,” and the sign next to it.

The "Dense Jade" mother tree

The “Dense Jade” mother tree

Occasionally, a tree will develop a “witches’ broom,” a growth of tangled branches often in a ball that is genetically different from the rest of the tree.  Wikipedia calls a witches broom a “disease or deformity in a wood plant.”  Usually, the witches’ broom, weak and undesirable, is removed and destroyed.

But in the early 1960s, the growers at a New Jersey nursery recognized that the witches’ broom on one of their trees had unusual but highly-prized characteristics.  So, instead of destroying the witches broom, they cultivated it.  They developed what is now a “Dense Jade Tree” with a DNA all its own.

The offspring of that single tree were propagated, nurtured and are now available in nurseries worldwide.

104After it was moved from New Jersey, the original witches broom tree, the Dense Jade that is the “mother” to all those Dense Jade trees everywhere in the world, can now be seen in the Hershey Gardens.


Click on photos to enlarge.



About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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6 Responses to “The Mother Tree,” Hershey Pennsylvania

  1. 1world2feet says:

    The “mother tree”looks so cool!


  2. Keith & Loraine Beckman says:

    Beautiful roses and the gardens are lovely as well. The “mother jade tree” and the story about the “offspring” very intriguing. Thanks again for the information. Love Loraine


  3. I’m thinking chocolate, dark chocolate. 🙂 Thanks for the info. on Hershey. –Curt


  4. I’m from the Hershey area, and this post made me miss home just a wee bit.


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