The Gavel

The first gavel was constructed by Jolly Batcheler of the Western Region for the 25th anniversary of the IPPS in 1976; there were five world regions at that time. The second gavel was given to the IPPS-SRNA in 1999 from Dennis Fordham of the GB & I Region. Jim Wells’ signature is on the side as well as the symbol of the IPPS. There were eight woods representing the different world regions – Eastern Region, Western Region, Great Britain and Ireland, Australia, Southern Region NA, New Zealand, Scandinavian Region and Japan Region. The EC Board decided to have the two previous gavels mounted on a plaque and award it each year to the outgoing President (from 2001 annual meeting). In 2008, the retired gavel plaque was presented to the recipient of the Meadows Award for keeping until the next annual meeting (from 2008 business meeting).

The current gavel is the third one used by the Southern Region. First used at the annual meeting in 2007, was a result of the new region, South African, and the loss of the Scandinavian Region.


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 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 these beautify our world to conserve and promote our botanical heritage.

May the durability of these timbers encourage us to pursue these 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.


The woods of this gavel are placed in the order in which the Regions were established starting at the top face of the gavel.


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 palmate leaves that 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 300 feet or more high and 20 feet plus in diameter. Californian redwood is claimed to be the world’s tallest tree and the diameter is usually measured 10 – 15 feet above the ground. A wavy piece of timber has been selected for these gavels.


Established in 1968, GB&I region is represented by the famous English oak (Quercus robur). Many of the largest trees are believed to date from the Saxon times and were once worshiped.

The species is widely distributed throughout the UK, develops a broad head of rugged branches and grows a very distinctive round-crown shape. The light to dark brown wood is very durable. Oaks will reach 30 meters (100 feet) high and more than 4 meters (12.5 feet) in diameter and can live over 1,500 years.


New Zealand, which became a chapter at large (1972) then a Region (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 (1973) and a Region in 1975. Wood representing this Region is Crow’s Ash (Flindersia schottiana), a rare species found only in east coast rainforests. Its indigenous name is Cudgeree. Crow’s Ash grows tall to over 30 meters 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.


Established in 1978, the Southern Region has selected the evergreen Southern Magnolia or bullbay (Magnolia grandiflora) which reaches 30 meters, often higher and spreads up to 18 meters. The spectacular flowers are 15-23 cm across, creamy white and very fragrant. No other tree is identified with the South as Southern Magnolia. The wood is white to light brown.


Approved as a Region in 1997, wood from the Sakura or Japanese cherry (Prunus yedoensis), the country’s national flower and most popular tree has been selected for IPPS gavels. Sakura is deciduous, grows 15 meters high and has a 10-12 meter diameter. The white blossom has pale red accents. It grows in the 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 decorates their bows and sheaths with its purple-brown bark.


The newest Southern African region was approved in 2006 and has chosen the Kiaat or Bloodwood, (Pterocarpus angolensis) a deciduous, spreading, slightly flat-crowned species that grows to about 15 meters high 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 in Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia and other northern parts of Africa where the rainfall exceeds 500 mm pa.