When Joan and Sean Devlin moved into their new home on Beamhill Road, Anslow, they found that one of the trees in the front garden needed to be moved. A beautiful cherry tree blossoming pink flowers was close to being crushed by the towering palm trees surrounding it.
The couple, who previously ran their own chalet business in Tutbury, made the decision to move the tree into the back garden. Mrs Devlin, 77, said: “We didn’t know if the tree would survive being moved and in its first year in the back garden, it didn’t flower or produce any cherries at all.
“The year after, however, it did flower and last year some cherries appeared on the tree for the first time!
“We noticed something coming out of the trunk and we thought it could be a sucker or something, but this year it grew a really thick trunk, and we’ve even had some apples appear!”
The grandmother, who used to be a top show jumper, is keen to know what has caused the growth and if they have a record-breaking tree sitting in their back garden.
Her husband, Mr Devlin, 80, said: “It was like a magical moment when we saw the tree growing both fruits.
“All of our family are so intrigued by it. Everyone wants to know what has caused the tree to do this.
“We both enjoy gardening and keeping a nice garden, but we are by no means garden experts – we’re just as confused as everybody else!
The couple and their family have jokingly called the tree a ‘chapple’ tree, combining cherries and apples into the name, mimicking what the tree itself has done.
Horticultural experts at the Royal Horticultural Society aren’t so sure that the mystery tree is what the couple are hoping for. The society, which is responsible for the popular Chelsea Flower Show, believes that cherry and apple plants are so different that is simply is not possible for one tree to grow both fruits.
Chief horticulturalist, Guy Barter said: “Apples and cherries are both members of the rose family but botanically distant so that one tree cannot bear both cherries and apples, say if a cherry branch was grafted onto an apple tree.
“However some ornamental apples have very small fruits, cherry sized in fact, and they are grafted onto a rootstock of another apple with larger fruits (or vice versa). This process occurs when new trees are made in the nursery, joining a top part and a rootstock to make better and healthier trees.
“In later life the rootstock, if untended, can grow out and make a new trunk so you end up with two trunks, one with larger and one with smaller fruits. There test here is to see if the cherries have pips instead of stones – true cherries always have stones.
“If the cherry tree has stones it may well be that it is a seedling or a sucker that has grown up alongside the apples and the two are inter meshed.”
Although the tree might not quite be the horticultural marvel the couple were hoping for, they are still keen to carry on gardening and further develop their outdoor living area.
The couple have said they enjoy to relax in the garden with their dog Obi, and their children and grandchildren love to play in the beautiful garden.
Five of the weirdest trees from across the globe
It seems the ‘chapple’ tree isn’t the only bizarre tree that has been found. Check out these five bizarre trees from different places across the world.
1. The Boab Prison Tree
This tree, outside the town of Derby in Western Australia has been transformed into a small cell used as a prison. The 1,500 year old tree is used as a temporary holding cell due to its wide trunk, measuring 14m in circumference.
2. The Dragon Blood Tree
The tree, found on the island of Socotra Archipelago off the coast of Somalia, has sharp spiky leaves that look much more like grass than leaves. The tree’s interior is also unusual, as once the trunk is pierced a bright red sap oozes out. The sap, called Dragon Blood, is dried and then used as a red varnish for violins.
3. The Oak Chapel
The Chene Chapelle (The Oak Chapel) in France, has been carved to house two chapels within its trunk. The oak tree itself is around 800 years old, and the chapels were added in the 1600s after a lightning strike burned the core of the tree. The chapels are still in use and mass is celebrated there twice a year.
4. The Rainbow Eucalyptus
The bark of this tree is so brightly coloured that many believe that it is part of some practical joke. The bark tree, which is native to the Philippines, changes colour as it ages from green, to blue, to purple, to orange and finally to brown leaving an multi-coloured tree, which attracts the eye of all those who visit it.
5. The Tree of Life
This 400-year-old tree in Bahrain stands alone in a barren desert, in an area that is completely free of water. Nothing else will grow in the desert, and local inhabitants believe that the tree stands in the actual location of the Garden of Eden.