IN THE light of the recent announcement by the Woodland Trust about their plans for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (see below for more information), I thought it might be interesting to take a look at one or two of our native trees.
Visit any of our local examples of ancient woodland and you will find some of the best examples of native tree species.
Our native oak tree, the Sessile or Durmast Oak, Quercus petraea, so called because its acorns do not usually have a stalk, is one of the most valuable trees in our environment, supporting hundreds of different species of fauna and giving our woods that feeling of permanence as you walk through them.
Scattered through the woodlands are groups of Silver Birch, Betula pendula, not as long lived as the oaks but just as important.
This pioneer tree will invade sunlit glades with young seedlings if one or two older trees fall or die and its rapid growth helps to shelter and protect the longer living oaks that grow up through this forest of birch trees.
In addition there will be random specimens of holly, Ilex aquifolium, filling the under-story of the woodland and providing shelter, nesting and feeding sites for a wide range of woodland birds. Alongside streams and rivers that criss-cross our local woodland there are sure to specimens of the common alder, Alnus glutinosa that spreads up and down stream by tiny wind distributed seeds. Another native that spreads rather too rapidly by wind distributed seeds is the Goat Willow, Salix caprea.
There are some specimens of the common ash, Fraxinus excelsior and Common Beech, Fagus sylvatica in our local woodlands but they are never as common as our wonderful oaks and birches.
Go out and enjoy your local woodlands in this autumn season and appreciate their contribution to your local environment.Intro