Friday, 24 May 2013

Tree clues on the ground

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago but forgot to post it.  It's a bit out of date now but you can file it to use next spring.

You can miss a lot by not looking up, particularly with trees.  But you can also be a nature detective by spotting stuff on the ground.  Have you seen these?
 
 
 
These are last year's 'conelets' from alder trees.  When you see these on the path look up and you will see this year's green conelets already beginning to form on the alders.
 
And what about these furry things?
 
 
Well they are the male flowers of the goat willow or pussy willow.  A few weeks ago they were on the tree and covered in yellow pollen.
 
 
But once the pollen is shed and the female flowers have been fertilised, the poor old males just drop off the tree.  Such is life!  Meanwhile the female flowers, looking like small green hedgehogs, continue to grow on the tree. 
 
 
In summer they will produce lots of fluffy seeds which fly through the air to start a new tree somewhere else.
 
A lot of our Wych Elms at Filnore Woods have died but there is a good one by the Leisure Centre car park.
 
Wych Elm on the right and Monterey Cypress half-hidden on the left
 
Amongst the fresh, new leaves you can see the papery green fruits. 
 
 
These fall off the tree and if it is over a path they look like green confetti on the ground.  A good way to locate one of our surviving elms.

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