Whoever cut down a 7-foot conifer in the Seattle Arboretum got a lot more than a typical Christmas tree.
It was a rare, imperiled species from China that may be impossible to replace.
University of Washington Botanical Gardens manager Randall Hitchin told The Seattle Times that he nurtured the tree, a Keteleeria evelyniana, since it arrived as a seedling in 1998 from Yunnan province.
The university manages the 230-acre Arboretum as a collection of 20,000 trees, shrubs and plants used in classes and educational programs.
Officials have considered fencing or dousing at-risk trees with paint or foul-smelling animal urine in an attempt to prevent them from being sawed off for Christmas.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com