Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tree Following: February

At last. I’ve picked a tree to follow for the Loose and Leafy inspired phenomena. I opted for an unusual individual. Not because others are unworthy of comment or observation but because, in my typical dithering way, I simply couldn’t decide on which plain one to follow. All trees are interesting to me, and I’d want to follow them all!

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So here it is. Hated by many conservationists as a weed, the sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). This one lives in Parkland Walk, a Local Nature Reserve which is mostly comprised of secondary woodland along an old railway. Leaves on the line are no longer a worry here. Good thing too – British Rail’s complaint of “the wrong sort of leaves on the line” in autumn were those of yes, you’ve guessed it, the sycamore (its leaf litter rots down to a mucilaginous sludge, causing problems for trains and schedules).

The first thing about this particular sycamore that grabs the attention is the root system which is partly retained by bricks. These are the remains of a building of some sort, possibly a signal man’s hut. Another portion of the roots is exposed in the way much beloved of the Picturesque movement, all gnarly and entwined. The tracework of these roots would make perfect planting pockets if in a garden. I can imagine primroses peeping out of them. Instead, there is the odd blade of grass and other seedlings which I can’t yet identify…IMG_0652

 …and the tubular webs of Amauralis spiders…IMG_0651

A good gander around the rest of the tree reveals features that could easily be overlooked. The flubbery Jelly Ear fungus…

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…and the perforations of dead wood.

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From the other side of the tree, upslope, can be seen the bright green of both moss…

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..and graffiti.

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Whatever the angle, I’m looking forward to a year with this ‘weed tree’. Thanks to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for this wonderful idea.

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