Monday, 26 August 2013

Five favourite tree species


Difficult to choose just five, but here they are:

1. Beech

2. Birch - for its papery white slim trunk, the purplish twigs and neat leaves - the associations with Northern forests (Northumberland, Scotland, and North America), and Algonquin Indians (Longfellow's Hiawatha, Thoreau's Maine Woods etc), and Robert Frost's poem.

3. Scots Pine - each has a distinctive 'head', the trunks have a lovely warm colour, it is native to Britain (unlike other pines), good timber, and reminds me of Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine Club books and Shepherd's illustrations of the Enchanted Place in Winnie the Pooh.

4. Cedar of Lebanon - rather specific: a couple of trees in Somerset with smooth branches, horizontal near the ground, scented bark, flat umbrellas of leaves... best tree for lying on.

5. Elm

Because they epitomized summer in southern England and they are all dead... (all the big ones, anyway). Sob!



The Crow said...

1: Western Red Cedar. Huge. A lady in hoop skirts.
2: Douglas Fir. Giant. Simply magnificent.
3: Hemlock. Tall. Unusual, droopy crown, darker than most.
4: Birch. Bark that burns even in pouring rain.
5: Arbutus. Like no other tree. Rare. Summery.

Adam G. said...

Dutch elm disease and the chestnut blight are two things that can set me brooding.

JP said...

Oh fie, everyone knows that Number One is the Larch!

Valkea said...

Finnish Pineforests, full of beautiful light and cooling winds:

Finnish Fir trees in winter:

Magical and mysterious forests waiting traveller on the other side of Sapsojärvi (Sapsolake), in Sotkamo, Kainuu:

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

That's a heart-breaker.

Ben Nye said...

Being from the United States (more specifically the Southern U.S.), I'm partial to the Southern Live Oak.

I also am fond of the Pecan tree These are grown agriculturally near my home town. They are grown in large, stately rows.

I also find the Aspen tree to be beautiful.

Samson J. said...

Finnish Pineforests, full of beautiful light and cooling winds:

Wow! Scandinavia looks so awesome. Are those forests common there?

My top five trees:

1) Maple (natch) - with apologies, a *real* summation of autumn!
2) Spruce - to me, symbolizes the wilderness, and winter
3) Weeping willow - simply majestic
4) Elm
5) Birch - also symbolic to me of untamed wilderness: moose, beavers, porcupines; frankly can't imagine these in England, but what do I know!

dearieme said...

Stop being such a cry baby. Anyway an (East Anglian) elm is growing in one of our hedges - presumably its roots survived Dutch Elm Disease. It's certainly far healthier than the horse chestnuts hereabouts which are in terrible nick.

I'm a great fan of eucalypts - if you've not seen the wonderful, huge gums of South Australia get on the plane and go and enjoy them. Remember Rackham's Law - for flora and fauna, Australia is another planet.

dearieme said...

Also Lombardy Poplars: very attractive, to my eye. I was surprised by the number we saw growing on the Canterbury Plains when we lived in NZ.

Wm Jas said...

Very hard to choose just five, but:

1. Acacia confusa
2. Magnolia grandiflora
3. Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
4. Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)
5. Betula papyrifera (paper birch)

So I agree with you on the beeches and birches, though a different species in the former case.

Bruce Charlton said...

Thanks for all these lists - Given the Tolkien theme of this blog, I am not surprised to find so many commenters keen to join in.

Bruce B. said...

Down here in Florida, Australian Pines are considered an invasive pest by the state, but they grow in dense, dark groves that provide cool shade.

stephen c said...

Oaks, symbolizing God-given creative or paternal love
Palms, trees most likely to have been on the Christmas cards of my forever vanished childhood
Maples, heartbreakingly beautiful in the Long Island autumns from 1961 to 1976 that were my first intense intimations of mortality
Simple pines, and the sound of wind and flashes of sunlight in their boughs
Poplars and birches, always friendly and talkative
All the rest, too, of course, with no exceptions

dearieme said...

Oh, I should have said. You should visit the Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey where the birches are cared for to make them particularly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I'll second the arbutus, though they're not rare here, on Vancouver Island, and add the gary oak, which comes with its own wonderful landscape, the gary oak meadow:

Christopher Burd