A grand oak tree, just into its second century, barely middle aged for an oak but a good age for any tree in a crowded city.  This tree, a North American Quercus macrocarpa or burr oakis fortunate to be growing within the protected ground of the Jardin des Plantes. It has a good future ahead of it.

At the main, eastern entrance of the garden, the impressive gates and long, formal parterre dominate the view.  Here, by the back gate from rue Linné, the trees take pride of place and the oak, in its autumn colour, towers over them all.  Not the oldest tree in Paris, by a long way, but maybe one of the grandest.

The Latin name of this species, Quercus macrocarpa, means oak with big seeds.  The acorns are indeed larger than those of the common European species  but it’s the size of the leaves that is particularly noticeable, especially as they fall in autumn.