The first gavels were made by Jolly Batcheller in 1975 and presented to the Regions at the 15th annual meeting in Vancouver. There was discussion in 1994 to make new ones, but that was never done. In 1999 the new gavel report (“Gavel, Our Symbol of Unity”) was presented by Dennis Fordham, GB&I.; Eight gavels were presented to the Regions and the 9th gavel was presented to the International Board to be used by the International President when presiding at annual Board meetings. In 2007 it was agreed that new gavels would be made to mirror the changes to the Regional makeup. Peter Waugh of New Zealand volunteered to make the gavels presented to the International Board members in October 2007.
Our Symbol of Unity.
In handling this gavel it should remind us that we are a truly international Society that has spread around the globe with one objective in mind – that of seeking and sharing our knowledge for the benefit of all.
Each gavel is made from the same pieces of wood, symbolic and of historical importance.
The gavel’s knock should remind us that we are an international body bound by one simple important objective — seeking and sharing the knowledge for the benefit of all.
Hearing the sound we should be reminded of the beauty of the trees from which the woods have been chosen, that we as propagators have an unparalleled vocation raising plants so that they beautify our world to conserve and promote our botanical heritage.
May the durability of these timbers encourage us to pursue our aims with steadfast confidence and integrity!
You will notice the signature of Jim Wells inscribed on the gavel. This is in recognition of Jim’s farsighted vision, many years service and contribution to helping establish the first IPPS Region and the Society, and in 1951 his election as the inaugural President.
Woods in the Gavel
The woods of this gavel are placed in the order in which the Regions were established — starting at the top face of the gavel.
Eastern Region, North America
The founding Eastern Region was established in 1951. The red maple (Acer rubrum), was selected because it is free-growing and ultimately becomes a large tree with 3 to 5 lobed leaves that can turn flaming reds and scarlet in autumn. The wood is white to light brown and the species grows throughout the region.
Established in 1960, the Western Region is represented by the Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), an evergreen conifer reaching a massive 100 meters (300 ft) or more in height and 6 meters (20 ft) plus in diameter. California redwood is claimed to be the world’s tallest tree and the diameter can measured 3 to 5 meters (10 to 15 ft) . A wavy grained piece of timber has been selected for the IPPS gavels.
Established in 1968, Great Britain and Ireland Region is represented by the famous English Oak (Quercus robur). Many of the largest trees are believed to be from the Saxon times and were once worshipped.
The species is widely distributed throughout the United Kingdom, develops a broad head of rugged branches and grows a very distinctive round-crown shape. The light to dark brown wood is very durable. English oaks will reach 30 meters (100 ft) in height and more than 4 meters (12.5 ft) in diameter and can live over 1,500 years.
New Zealand Region
New Zealand which became a chapter at large in 1972 then a Region in 1984 has chosen to be represented by the kauri (Agathis australis).
This very slow growing conifer occurs naturally only in the northern North Island. The timber is extremely durable, yellow brown, straight grained, knot free, and easily worked. In early settlement days, kauri was felled for ships, spas, houses, furniture, and joinery and by the native Maori people to make canoes. Large natural stands of trees are now rare.
Australia became a chapter at large in 1973 and a Region in 1975. The wood representing this Region is southern silver ash (Flindersia schottiana), a rare species found only in east coast rainforests. Its indigenous name is cudgeree.
Southern silver ash grows to over 30 meters (100 ft) in height and has spreading foliage. It produces small white fragrant flowers and hard seed pods which are sought after for floral arrangements.
The honey colored wood is straight grained, hard, strong, and the color intensifies with age.
Southern Region of North America
Established in 1978, the Southern Region has selected the evergreen southern magnolia or bullbay (Magnolia grandiflora) which reaches 30 meters (100 ft), often higher and spreads up to 18 meters (58 ft).
The spectacular flowers are 15–23 cm (6 to 10 inches) across, creamy white, and very fragrant. No other tree is identified with the South as much as southern magnolia. The wood is white to light brown.
IPPS Japan Region
Approved as a Region in 1997, wood from the Sakura or Yoshino cherry (Prunus ×yedoensis), the country’s national flower and most popular tree has been selected for IPPS gavels.
Sakura is deciduous, grows 15 meters (50 ft.) in height and is 10-12 meters (32 to 36 ft.) in diameter. The white blossom has pale red accents. It grows in central and southern Japan around Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. The wood is yellow to red-brown, very durable, easily worked and is used widely for furniture and musical instruments. The Ainu tribe decorate their bows and sheaths with its purple-brown bark.
Southern African Region
The newest Southern African Region was approved in 2006 and has chosen the kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), a deciduous, spreading, slightly flat-crowned species that grows to about 15 meters (50 ft) in height with a dark bark. It has brilliant red sap and the wood is similar to teak.
The kiaat grows in frost-free bushveld and woodland areas of Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, Mozambique, and Mamibia and other northern parts of Africa where the rainfall exceeds 500 mm per annum.
The gavels remain the property of IPPS International.
Updated October 2008