A RARE tree has been found in a Peebles estate.

The black poplar, Britain’s rarest native hardwood, was discovered in the Kingsmeadows Estate.

Following DNA testing by the Forest Genetics Group at Forest Research, near Roslin, the tree was confirmed as the second native black poplar to be recorded in Peeblesshire.

And residents of the estate have shared their delight at their home being one of very few locations for the rare tree.

Catriona McKay, a resident of the Kingsmeadows Estate, said: “Our fantastic natural landscape is one of the many things that makes Peebles such a great place to live.

"Kingsmeadows, with its exceptional collection of veteran and notable trees and rich biodiversity, is arguably one of the best natural resources in the town.

"Given their rarity, we are absolutely delighted to have been able to identify this magnificent native black poplar, which is now registered as a notable tree on the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Inventory along with nine veteran and 77 other notable trees on the estate.”

Black poplars differ from the more common white poplar as they have deeply fissured bark, gnarled burrs, and heart-shaped leaves.

The rare species – there is an estimated 7,000 native trees left in the UK – thrives in boggy ground and in flood plains, and due to drainage and land management works their native habitats have been lost.

The population of black poplars in the UK has also struggled as the trees have difficulty reproducing naturally. Black poplars are dioecious, meaning they produce trees with male or female flowers on them. Historically there was a preference for cloning only male trees due to the fluffy, white seeds produced on female trees deemed ‘unsightly’.

As a result female black poplars make up just 10 per cent of the total species population in the UK.

To read more about biodiversity at Kingsmeadows you can go to kingsmeadows.org.uk.