On Thursday 24 November 2016, the Attorney-General for the ACT, Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA, joined Their Majesties King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, to plant a Mt Thabor's oak (Quercus ithaburensis) in the Central Valley of the National Arboretum Canberra.
A member of the beech family, Mt Thabor's oak is the national tree of Jordan and is found in south eastern Europe and south western Asia from Turkey south through Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Jordan.
Mt Thabor's oak is a small to medium-sized semi-evergreen to deciduous tree growing to a maximum height of around 15 metres with a rounded crown and often with a gnarled trunk and branches. The leaves are dark glossy green above and gray below.
The female flowers are small, produced in threes on short stalks called peduncles and are wind pollinated, while the male flowers are light green 5 cm long catkins. Flowering occurs from March through April in most of its native range. The acorns are generally oval, up to 5cm long and 3cm wide with a cap covering roughly one-third of the acorn, maturing in 18 months and dropping from the tree in the second autumn after pollination. The cap is covered in long stiff loose scales which are rolled backwards or involute especially along the edges of the cap.
Ceremonial trees planted from around the world
The National Arboretum Canberra is home to over 44,000 trees from more than one hundred nations. Many Australian and international leaders and public figures have planted ceremonial trees at the National Arboretum, including Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; His Excellency Jose Ramos-Horta, President of the Republic of Timor-Leste; renowned Australian author, Mr Thomas Keneally and Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Through ceremonial tree plantings and other special events, the National Arboretum Canberra builds partnerships with local, national and international organisations, individuals and communities to further its role in global tree conservation and research.