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Blooming trees a sign of long, hot summer ...according to traditional Maori beliefs

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GUERNSEY is going to be in for a long, hot summer, according to traditional Maori beliefs.

The island's cordyline australis, more commonly known as Torbay palm trees, are blooming 'exceptionally', which, according to the belief, means summer is coming fast and hot.

Around coastal areas and in private gardens, the species of tree was brought to the British Isles centuries ago from New Zealand by plant hunters.

The exotic trees were originally called ti kouka by the Maori people, who believed that an early and profuse flowering indicates a hot summer to come.

Later, they were called cabbage trees by Captain Cook.

The trees have been popular in British seaside resorts and cities with sheltered climates since Victorian times because of their exotic, palm-like appearance.

It is sturdy and easy to grow, especially in the dry soil of coastal regions, and is also resistant to salty sea air.

La Societe Guernesiaise conservation officer Jamie Hooper said the plants were common in gardens around the island, but were not native.

'I recently put a few in my garden because of their architectural qualities, they certainly have a place over here,' he said.

'The blossom this year, it has been really strong – you get this big cream display a bit like a firework of flowers. They have undoubtedly had an outstanding year.'

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