Monday, 5 January 2015

Recognising winter trees

Some trees are just as easy to identify in winter as they are in summer.  Silver Birch trees have a slender drooping shape with very fine twigs.
But the white bark is an even clearer indication that they are birch.

Other trees with distinctive bark are the aspen with its diamond shaped LENTICELS or breathing holes, and the Cherry with lenticels in horizontal bands round the trunk.

Some, like the Bird Cherry below, are harder to recognise but looking closely you can see the little orange lenticels.

Here's the wrinkly bark of an old Elder tree with moss growing all over it.

One factor that makes bark recognition more difficult is that the bark changes as the tree gets older.  Rather like humans, as a tree gets older it loses the smooth skin of youth and gets more wrinkly and characterful.  In the pictures below you can see the contrast with the smooth bark of a young hawthorn and the more flaky bark of a mature hawthorn.

And on the hawthorn shown below you can see both kinds of bark on the same tree.

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