Friday, December 4, 2009

A Tree-spotter's Guide to Buds: part 2

White poplar Populus alba winter buds are covered in a dense felt of fine white hairs that, from a distance, make the twig look as though it's been dipped in white emulsion. The white hairs cover the underside of the leaves too, which flash green and white when they flutter in the breeze in spring and yellow and white when they change colour in autumn.

Alder Alnus glutinosa buds have this beautiful violet-purple sheen that intensies in spring, as the buds begin to swell

Common lime Tilia x europaea buds, which are rounded and have few bud scales, develop a deep crimson hue when they're exposed to sunlight, but on their shaded underside (right hand twig above) they remain green. The purple pigment is produced in response to bright sunlight.

Sweet chestnut Castanea sativa buds are also tinged red but the twigs are chestnut brown. Notice how the buds below the terminal bud sit on a little shelf.

... and this is rowan Sorbus aucuparia, possibly the least attractive buds amongst native species, whose hairy, pointed buds lack shiny scales.

For more posts on tree ID click here


  1. Excellent shots Phil and information too.
    I never knew that about the colour difference of the Lime.

  2. Hi Keith, I think the lime buds turn a deeper crimson as the winter progresses - they look particularly attractive when they're disted in frost..

  3. OK Melinda, new time I'll add more description...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.