Friday, July 20, 2012

Money Tree

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?

11 comments:

  1. They are to be found in old pub beams as well as outside. I too have been told it brings good luck. I'm too careful to risk money this way.
    Adrian

    Thanks Adrian, must get out to the pub more. Ah yes, the influence of the demon drink! Phil

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  2. Fascinating - never heard of that idea. I think I can find a more deserving cause for my coins - ;)

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  3. Other examples are above the Wharfe opposite Bolton Abbey. And I thought we Yorkshiremen were supposed to be tightfisted!

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  4. I've never heard of such a thing! (Well...beside the "money tree" that is made of dollar bills and give to people on special occasions, like my great-grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.)

    Can't imagine it's terribly healthy for the tree, but it sure does look interesting.

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  5. I wonder who started these in each location, John?

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  6. Hi Roger, Might be a safer place to deposit money than banks at the moment. Thanks for the tip about the Bolton Abbey location .... will look out for it.

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  7. I wonder how the tree copes with all that copper Ellen - it's quite toxic to plants, even if it only dissolves out of the coins in low cocentrations.

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  8. There is a similar money tree at the waterfalls in the RSPB Fairy Glen reserve at Rosemarkie. No one know when is started there, but the official line is at least it is better than chucking money in the waterfall pool. In this case it is a fallen tree trunk.

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  9. I might be mis-remembering, but isn't there one along the riverbanks below High Force? (By the way, I live in Durham too, but have come to your fantastic photos and bits of writing from the recommendation of my old friend in Dublin, Jane Powers (www.onebeanrow)

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  10. There is a money tree at Portmeirion
    http://www.portmeirion-village.com/?lID=1
    You struggle to get coins into the oak beams in our house, way to hard. I wouldn't be surprised to see them wedged in the 'shake' cracks though

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  11. Thanks uphilldowndale - maybe it's time to start a map of moneytrees!

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