Conversation Tree has become a landmark on the East Coast Highway, and since some tree or other has been there for as long as anyone can remember, all kinds of myths have grown up surrounding its age and origins.
It does not date back to Dutch times as so many would like to believe, and it is not associated with any jumbies, Dutch or otherwise, either.
According to the late Ms Dorothy ‘Bunny’ King, it was planted by her grandfather, Napleton William King. He was the manager of Plantation Bel Air, and the tree was set down at the entrance to the plantation to commemorate the birth of his son, Napleton Walter.
King (Jr) was born at Bel Air in January 1876, and the original tree which was planted that year was a sandbox, not a flamboyant.
Bunny King also said that the tree was intended as a landmark for the family when they passed up and down the East Coast. The provenance of the name ‘Conversation Tree’ is simply not known, although she suggested it may have come about because villagers gathered there to chat.
The sandbox tree was eventually destroyed by termites, but by that time it had acquired some status and so the authorities replaced it with a flamboyant, possibly during the 1960s. As people will remember, that died in more recent times, and was in turn replaced by a sapling which did not thrive. It remains to be seen whether its successor will prove any more hardy.