Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tree ID 5: Early elder

Although elder is usually the first broad-leaved tree to produce leaves in the spring, it is unusual to see the buds opening so early in January.  In fact I took this photo on December 29th.


Identify elder by the purple or pink buds in opposite pairs along the pale, spotty twigs.


The bark on the trunk and mature branches is marked with deep grooves or fissures (pronounced 'fishers'). 


Elder bushes or trees often have broken branches but new ones grow to replace them, arching up and curving outwards.



Another clue is the Jelly Ear  or Jew's Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)  which grows almost exclusively on dead or dying elder branches.







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