A few years ago, when we were following the Ingleton Waterfalls footpath, we came across the famous money tree, where passers-by have hammered coins into the trunk. Earlier this month, when we were following the footpath from Clapham towards Ingleborough we saw this one, where coins had been hammered into a tree stump and into the branches of an old living yew tree.
The coins in the stump (above) all radiate out from the centre, which says something about the anatomy of tree trunks. Radiating bands of living cells called medullary rays run outwards from the centre towards the bark, at right angles the vertical rows of thick woody cells that form the annual rings in the trunk, and when the tree dies the thin-walled living cells become lines of weakness and often form radiating splits. It's much easier to force coins into these than to hammer them into the tough woody woody tissue of the annual rings in between, so the coin hammers have unwittingly revealed the pattern of living cells that existed inside the trunk when it was alive.
These are coins forced into the think bark of the branch of the living yew.
I've seen suggestions that hammering coins into trees like this is supposed to bring good luck (not for the tree, though!). I wonder when this started, and how many more trees like this there are around the country? Does anybody have any information?