Eucryphia ‘Madron’ is an obscure hybrid of uncertain parentage. It was raised at Trengwainton, Cornwall, and exhibited in 1954 alongside E. ‘Penwith’. For many years there was confusion around and between these two names, after the RHS Proceedings incorrectly assigned ‘Penwith’ to E. × hillieri (a hybrid of E. lucida and E. moorei). In the Supplement this confusion is partially untangled, and it is confirmed that E. ‘Penwith’ is the result of a cross between E. lucida and E. cordifolia, and not a selection of E. × hillieri as it was long thought to be (Clarke 1988).
While this resolves the true parentage and identity of ‘Penwith’, ‘Madron’ remains shrouded in mystery. The same RHS Proceedings that gave rise to the confusion in the first place offer no clues as to the parentage of ‘Madron’ (Clarke 1988). One clue, however, lies in the records of the Tree Register. During his 2014 visit to Trengwainton, Owen Johnson measured a 16 m tree of E. × hillieri (TROBI tree id 71424, and an exceptional height for this hybrid) against which he made the following note ‘Walled garden; second bay from entrance, midway on E side. Clearly a hybrid of E. moorei (as label), but the other parent could be E. glutinosa?’ (Tree Register 2019).
If Johnson’s speculation turns out to be correct, this could explain both the extraordinary vigour of this tree compared to other, genuine E. × hillieri, as well as fitting with the few facts known to us about this mysterious name. In any case, E. ‘Madron’ is exceedingly rare, if indeed it still exists at all. If the Trengwainton tree that caused Owen Johnson to look twice does turn out to be the long-lost E. ‘Madron’, it may well be the only example in cultivation.