This blog is written by employees of Nottinghamshire County Council, the views in this blog are personal and may not be shared by the County Council.

Tree of the Week

HAZEL- Corylus Avellana

Hazel can be found throughout the UK, commonly seen in the understory of lowland oak, ash and birch woodland as well as in hedgerows. It can often be confused with Elm, as they have similar looking leaves, however hazel are a lot smoother.

  • Hazel is often coppiced and can live for several hundreds years but when left to grow, it can reach a height of 12m. Hazel was grown in the UK for large-scale nut production until the early 1900s. Cultivated varieties (known as cob-nuts) are still grown in Kent, but most of our hazelnuts are now imported. 
  •  It's bark is smooth, grey-brown, which peels with age. Leaves tend to be more oval with a pointed tip, hairs on the underside and toothed on the edges


It was thought that the Sweet Chestnut was first introduced into Britain by the Romans, but today it can be found in large areas of woodland and coppicing plantations which the timber is used for fencing.

  • Look out for the purple-grey bark which develops deep ridges with age. They can grow up to 35m tall and 700 years old.

  • The leaves are glossy green and grown up to 25cm long. They are toothed around the edge, with a center line and finish with a tipped point at the bottom of the leaf. Green spiky shells also appear on the branches, these are the fruits which have been pollinated. 

LIME - Tilia x europaea

Native to the UK, the common Lime is a hybrid between Small-leaved and Large leaved Limes. Common lime is most often seen as an ornamental tree in large parks and estates. Here at Rufford, the lime trees make up what was once the old driveway, from the Western gates main entrance (A614) to the Abbey's grand doors.
(During the war, lime blossom was used to make a soothing tea).

  • Look out for the heart shaped leaves. Usually 6-10cm,  toothed on the outer side and dull green in colour.
  • The bark is a grey-brown, with ridges appearing on more mature trees and large burrs (abnormal growth) at the base of the tree.

HORNBEAM - Carpinus Betulus

The Hornbeam, horn meaning 'hard' and beam 'tree' in old English, is traditionally used for furniture and flooring due to it's hard wood, as it's name suggests. Native to Britain it is a deciduous (leaves fall in winter) broadleaf tree, growing up to 30m tall and 300 years old.

  • Look out for it's smooth grey bark, often developing  vertical fissures (cracks) as it ages. The leaves are oval and pointed with serrated edges and grows 7-12cm long. In Autumn the leaves look particularly attractive, turning yellow through to orange and then a reddish- brown. 
  •  In the Autumn, Finches and tits along with small mammals will eat the seeds. The plant is also food for caterpillars of many different moth species, including the nut tree tussock.

SYCAMORE - Acer Pseudoplatanus

Sycamore is a fast growing and sometimes invasive tree, it tends to dominate woodlands blocking other species out. It can grow up to 35m and live to 400 years old. The timber is used for making furniture and kitchenware as the wood is strong and does not taint or stain the food. 
  • Look out for the bright green leaves in spring, they can often be mistaken for maple. They have five lobes (called palmate leaves) with spikey edges.
  • The bark is a grey like colour, broken up by numerous fissures (cracks) revealing an orange texture underneath.

NORWAY MAPLE - Acer Platanoides

Native to Northern Europe, this tree was first introduced into Britain in the 17th Century. It can often be found as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens and also as a street tree, mainly due to it's tolerance of compacted soils, shade and pollution.

  • Look out for the domed crown and smooth, grey and sometimes rigid bark. Before the leaves come, yellowish/green flowers appear in clusters of 30-40. 
  • Leaves are bright green and smooth with 5 rigid lobes (sometimes an additional 2 at the bottom), very similar to the field maple and sycamore.

WILD CHERRY- Prunus Avium

A large deciduous (sheds it's leaves) tree, native to the UK and Europe, except the far north. It grows best in fertile soil and full sunlight. This is a popular tree, planted for it's spring blossom and used by birds to feed from the fruit.

  • Look out for the clusters of white cup shaped flowers, flowering in April-May. The leaves will be oval with pointed tips, fading orange and deep crimson in autumn 

  • The bark tends to be brown/red with with horizontal lines, starting to peel and fissure with age

HAWTHORN-Crataegus Monogyna

A small, spreading deciduous (loses it's leaves in winter) tree. It is commonly used for hedgerows as the thorny twigs which are densely packed, act as a good barrier and it's resilience to survive in harsh conditions.
  • Look out for the clusters of white or sometimes pink tinged flowers in late spring, followed by the ripe fruit (red berries) from October. Berries are a valuable food for birds such as Fieldfares and Redwing and small mammals such as Bank Vole and Wood Mice.
  • The bark tends to be brown-grey with orange layers lower down. As it ages it forms a fissured pattern with algae sometimes forming. The leaves are small and deeply lobed, roughly as broad as they are long.

SILVER BIRCH -Betula Pendula

Native to the UK and Europe, this is a fast growing and sometimes invasive tree, growing up to 30m tall. Birch trees are associated with specific fungi particularly Birch Polypore (razor strop), which is a bracket fungus that grows on the trunk.

  • Identifiable by it's silvery white bark, often flaking away and revealing greyer patches below. 
  • The leaves on a birch are up to 7cm, triangular and pointed with large jagged edges separated by smaller ones. In the Autumn the leaves turn a golden yellow before dropping.

SCOTS PINE -Pinus Sylvestris 

Scots Pine is one of only three conifers native to the British Isles, being more open and flat topped with a long trunk. The bark tends to be red-grey/brown lower down and red-orange higher up with a flaking scale like appearance.

  • Look out for the blue-green paired needles, 5-10cm long, along with the egg shaped pine cones 5-8cm, which become light brown and rounder as they mature.

  • This is a useful timber tree, producing wood for buildings, furniture, telegraph poles and chipboard.

WELLINGTONIA-Sequoiadendron giganteum

Evergreen and coniferous,the Wellingtonia is native to California and outstandingly large. It can grow up to 85m in height and trunk diameter of 10m.
  • The bark is thick, spongy and rich red-brown in colour. It provides niches that are used by roosting birds, in particular Treecreepers.
  • The scale-like leaves tend to curve away from the twig with egg shaped cones ripening from green to brown in the second autumn, growing 4-5cm 

BLUE ATLAS CEDAR -Cedrus atlantica

From the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco, this tree is narrow at first, becoming wider with age. Branches are ascending with fairly short blue-green or dark green needles. The bark tends to be dark grey in colour.

  • An easy way to identify the tree is to look for the short blue-green needles and upright barrel shaped cones (smaller to that of the Cedar of Lebanon) which take around two years to mature. 

CEDAR OF LEBANON -Cedrus libani

The Cedar is both evergreen and coniferous, native to Lebanon, it was brought over to the UK in the 1740's onwards as an ornamental tree in stately homes and mansions. Known for it's unique shape, it's broadly rounded with a shelf like flat top, growing up to 35m tall. The bark is greyish-dark brown developing scaly ridges on older trees.

  • An easy way to identify the tree is to look for the long, erect, barrel shaped cones (7-10cm) and dark green needle like leaves.
  • Look out for 'Charlie' another Cedar of Lebonan (we have three on site) and discover the story behind it's name.

HOLLY -Ilex aquifolium

Holly is mostly seen in gardens and often used for hedges, but it can also form a substantial tree (up to 20m tall). The leaves tend to be spikey, glossy and dark green in colour, towards the base of the tree (to protect itself from wildlife grazing) and smother, less spikey towards the top of the tree. Holly bark tends to be smooth and grey, forming small pimples, often becoming silvery grey in older trees.

  • An easy way to identify this tree is to look for the red berries, popular with Mistle Thrush and Holly Blue butterfly.

YEW -Taxus baccata

The Yew tree is one of the world's longest lived trees, with some more than 2,000 years old. Crowns in young trees tend to be coned-shaped, becoming columnar, then domed. Yews are evergreen trees which means they keep their leaves during the winter, making them green all year round. All parts of the tree, except the aril, are poisonous to humans and livestock.

  • An easy way to identify the yew is to look out for the red aril, 1cm long with a black seed. The bark tends to be scaly and red-brown and purplish in colour.

No comments:

Post a comment