Sunday, February 7, 2016

More tree silhouettes in winter

Graceful silver birches Betula pendula

Sweet chestnut Castanea sativa

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. A tough, impenetrable tangle of branches, often with a twisted, fluted trunk when it is given time and space to grow into a tree.

Common lime Tilia europaea. Often has burrs at the roots with a mass of twigs, which have been trimmed in this specimen.

The mass of twigs growing from the burrs at the base of an untrimmed common lime

Beech Fagus sylvatica. Slender twigs with pointed buds.

Elder Sambucus nigra usually grows as a large hedgerow shrub that'sseverely cut back annually and only has a short life span but if it's left alone and given space it will grow into a small, densely-branched tree like this. Old elders have deeply fissured corky bark and twigs covered in yellow Xanthoria parietina lichen.

For more on winter tree silhouettes click here

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bishop Auckland's magnificent Spanish chestnuts

Some more pictures of the wonderful Spanish chestnuts Castanea sativa in Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland, County Durham that were described in the Guardian Country Diary yesterday.

Not dead yet! Still has living branches that will sprout leaves in spring.

There's a small bird-sown holly tree growing amongst the branches of this one.

The largest bole of a venerable but healthy tree. Spanish chestnuts can live for 400 years.

Winter buds

Flowers and foliage.

Shiny, edible seeds with spiny husks.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tree silhouettes in winter

Every autumn, as the last leaf falls, I've had good intentions of recording a set of images of the characteristic silhouettes of different tree species in winter. They are all distinctive and beautiful in their various ways.

This winter I finally made a start but I hadn't bargained on how difficult it would be to find good isolated examples of trees silhouetted again a clear sky background, so progress has been slow. Anyway, here are a few, that I hope to add to before bud burst begins in a few weeks' time.  

Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus. Only the tree on the left has had enough space to develop symmetrical growth; the two on the right have got in each other's way.

Horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum. Those almost horizontal heavy lower limbs are characteristic; in the rare absence of grazing animals they'll sweep almost down to the ground and are usually the first to be shed from old trees in gales.

Ash Fraxinus excelsior. The upward sweep of the rather thick twigs is characteristic.

Durmast oak Quercus petraea