Ecologists were left agog this week after an eight year old Jewish student at Wolfson Hillel Primary School in Southgate found a Horse Chestnut tree husk capsule containing an incredible five conkers.
Evie Jacobs, who lives in Borehamwood with her parents and Yavneh student sister Abigail, was searching for a rare triple husk containing three conkers when she stumbled across one three times the normal size.
“The most I have ever seen is three,” said botanist Dr Fred Rumsey, senior curator in charge of historical collections at the Natural History Museum.
“In this family the ovary is three-celled with only one ovule per cell, so you would expect, at the most, there to be three conkers. Usually only one develops. So there must be developmental abnormality here, perhaps the fusing of two flowers.”
News of Evie’s find has even reached British Columbia in Canada, where noted botanist Linda Crampton, who has made a study of the Horse Chestnut tree, said that she has never heard of such a specimen before.
Dr Darren Evans and Dr Michal Pocock, co-authors of Conker Tree Science at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Newcastle University, have confirmed the highly unusual nature of the find.