Oh dear… last week’s trip to Kew and a look at some of the huge range of oak trees there inspired me to go and take another look at my oak tree in High Wood.
Oak trees near the River Thames in Kew Gardens
Last Saturday the buds on my tree looked like this…
But yesterday they looked like this…
And like this…
My ‘oak’ tree is a sycamore!
Some of my botanist friends are going to have my life for this (Susan Antrobus).
I guess this year’s tree following is going to have some rather different themes to what I’d expected – I’ve been interested in the debate around the role of sycamores in our woodland since reading Richard Mabey’s excellent book, ‘Weeds. The Story of Outlaw Plants’, in any case. More on this to come anon.
What, indisputably, hasn’t changed is the understorey beneath my tree, now a mass of bluebells, with the sweet fragrance you only get when they flower en masse.
English bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta
A few wood sorrel and wood anemones still fight for space and light and the first of this year’s new male fern fronds are starting to unfurl. I was surprised to find that you can already see the tiny sori beneath the frond – these will bear sporangia containing the plant’s spores, in due course.
Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) frond unfurling. Sori are tiny, pale green, horseshoe-shaped structures beneath the fronds.
Now it’s time to go away and find out a bit more about sycamore trees!