Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Tree-spotter's guide to Buds: part 3

Still bearing the fruit of last spring's blossom, this blackthorn Prunus spinosa twig with its tight little clusters of buds will be clothed in a froth of white flowers in a little over three months from now. Blackthorn flower buds are carried on short woody spurs.

The attractive buds of bird cherry Prunus padus - glossy, purple-brown and pointed. A hedgerow tree that's commonest in the northern half of Britain.

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna with short, pointed buds and twigs that often end in the thorns that make this such an effective, stock-proof hedge.

Small greenish buds of silver birch Betula pendula, on long, slender twigs that contribute to the tree's graceful silhouette in winter

Field maple Acer campestre. The short space between the bud scale scars that girdle this twig show that it made little growth over the last two years.

The twin buds at the end of this field maple Acer campestre twig show that last year it would have carried a single flower bud that developed into a bunch of winged seeds at the end of the twig, which have since been dispersed. A bud developed on each side the the bunch of seeds, so next year this twig will branch into two.

Winter buds of oak Quercus sp. , with their small, overlapping bud scales. The bottom right bud seems to have been galled by a gall wasp, which I think may be Cynips divisa - anyone know what it is for certain? I don't think it's easy to tell from buds alone whether the tree is common oak Q. pedunculatus or sessile oak Q. petraea but a search on the ground below will sort them out: if the acorn cups have long stalks, it's the former; if the acorn cups have little or no stalk, then it's the latter.

For more posts on tree ID click here


  1. Phil, these bud posts have been some of the most educational and inspiring on any blog that I've had the pleasure to read. Marvellous stuff!

  2. Excellent post as always Phil.
    Full of information, and excellent pictures to accompany it.

  3. Great series of beautifully clear photos which I am sure I will find very useful in the future when I need to identify something.

  4. Thanks for your kind comments Steve, I've got a few more to post shortly

  5. Hi Keith, I'm learning as I go.. I find a reference collection of photos is a great way to develop ID skills

  6. Thanks John, Now I'm just looking forward to the day when all these buds begin to burst...