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Posted on May 4, 2009 by Ash
Arbor Aesthetics is the vision of Jeffrey Grewe… Jeffrey is the meticulous hand and artistic eye of each project.
* I heard about the first video from Twitter.
Posted on April 15, 2009 by Ash
I’ve been using Google Analytics with treeblog for a couple of months now, and while I’m not sure how accurate it is, it certainly collects a lot of data. I particularly like the “where are visitors coming from” aspect, which is still a novelty for me.
Visitors by continent (March 2009). More than half of all visitors came from Europe, and almost 95% of visitors came from Europe and the Americas. Google classed 0.44% of visitors as “not set”.
Visitors by country (March 2009). Two fifths of all visitors came from the UK, and a third came from the United States. Canadian visitors make up 5%. As well as the top eleven countries on the graph (Poland and Spain rank joint eleventh), visitors also came from approximately another seventy countries and territories (represented by the white segment).
Unsurprisingly, the majority of treeblog’s visitors hail from the English speaking world: from just the top ten, the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland together accounted for over four fifths of all visitors. Cities-wise, 14.64% of all visitors came from London! That’s more than all visitors from Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Poland and Spain combined! Other cities in the top ten include Manchester (England) (1.75%), Edinburgh (Scotland) (1.59%), Birmingham (England) and New York (USA) (both 1.35%), Glasgow (Scotland) (1.03%), and Sheffield (England) (0.83%). Dublin (Ireland) and Sydney (Australia) are joint twelfth (0.63%). Once more for the record, I’m not sure how accurate these stats are.
* * * * *
Set C update – Day 35 (today): No seedlings have appeared yet. BUT Yesterday as I was rehydrating the seed trays the sprinkler fell off the watering can and a powerful torrent of water, surging forth, gouged a trench through the soil, exposing three Whitwell Moor rowan berries. Before repairing the damage, I took the opportunity to examine the excavated fruits: two were brownish in colour; the third, still red, had a root protruding. Deep joy! Rowan seedlings cannot be far away now!
Posted on April 7, 2009 by Ash
You can now follow treeblog on Twitter. I’ll be treating it as an extension of treeblog, not as a personal here’s-what-I’m-doing-and-thinking-right-now yo-I’m-at-the-cinema now-I’m-on-a-train-next-to-a-really-sweaty-guy thing. It’ll allow me to publish micro-posts to treeblog by text from anywhere and at anytime (as long as I have a signal), which opens up possibilities for portable treeblogging. I’m not sure how interesting it’ll be, or how many of you will even care, but I’m going to give it a trial run of a few weeks. The last five tweets will be in a box to the right, just below the Google ads.
A common frog (Rana temporaria).
Posted on February 14, 2009 by Ash
The crown of a beech (Fagus sylvatica) in winter. This photograph is contemporary with treeblog’s beginnings. It was taken in Edinburgh on the 3rd of February 2007, probably on Oswald Road in the Grange.
Today is a special day for treeblog; two years have passed since the first post here was published. Revisiting that post today, it reads like a manifesto. I laid down my intentions for this blog, and I have stuck by them.
The purpose of treeblog - the point of its existence - is to form a chronology of the development of a group of trees, right from being planted as seeds or nuts. To chart their development from germination to maturity… supposing that they don’t die before they get there.
And that is what I have being doing. Of course there is much more to this blog. I post the occasional sciencey bit, the occasional newsy bit, and more often than not I post sets of photographs I have taken on walks. But the treeblog trees remain the core of this site.
Posted on February 11, 2009 by Ash
A recent BBC article caught my eye. The headline, rather sensationalist for a forestry story, was Scotland ‘needs a billion trees’. “Wow,” I thought. “What for?” The first paragraph of the article, which is basically just a rehash of this Forestry Commission news release, reads:
Scotland must plant more than a billion trees if it is to meet a target of having 25% woodland cover by 2050, Forestry Commission Scotland has said.
”What is this target for, and who has set it?” I thought, and started digging through strategies and action plans. The target was set in the Scottish Forestry Strategy 1, which is the Scottish Government’s framework for ‘taking forestry through the first part of this century and beyond’. It was laid before the Scottish Parliament in October 2006. From the Strategy’s Executive Summary:
We would like to see Scotland’s woodlands increase from 17.1% of our land area to about 25%. Work done for Forestry Commission Scotland by Macaulay Research Consultancy Services indicates that this is feasible.
According to the Forestry Commission’s Forestry Facts & Figures 2008 2 and Forestry Statistics 2008 3, there were 1,342,000 hectares of woodland in Scotland as of the 31st of March 2008 – approximately 17.2% of the land area. Therefore an increase to 25% woodland cover will require the creation of approximately 610,000 ha of woodland. I’ve no idea where the BBC got their ‘billion trees’ number from, as I’m sure that ‘trees per hectare’ is a highly variable figure.
The first two priorities are by far the most important in my opinion. As everybody knows, trees capture (or sequester) carbon through photosynthesis. By creating more woodlands, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere decreases and the amount of carbon locked up in forest soils and biomass increases, thus contributing towards the mitigation of climate change. Unsurprisingly, woodland creation features in the Scottish Climate Change Action Plan 2009 - 2011 5, which was launched on the 2nd of February 2009 by Scotland’s Minister for Environment, Michael Russell, and makes for very interesting reading. The Action Plan ties in with the Scottish Forestry Strategy. The November 2008 consultation paper, Climate Change and the National Forest Estate: Consultation on forestry provision in the Scottish Climate Change Bill 6, says it best in this passage:
Many types of woodland creation can contribute cost-effectively towards net emissions reduction, and there is potential to increase Scotland’s woodland and forest area in order to take more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The Scottish Forestry Strategy includes an aspiration to achieve 25% woodland cover in Scotland by the second half of this century. Achieving this will mean creating about 10,000 ha of new woodlands each year, locking up an additional 0.2 Million tonnes per year (Mt/yr) of carbon by 2020 and an additional 1.2 Mt/yr by 2050.
That’s a fair old increase in carbon sequestration and woodland cover!
Posted on February 1, 2009 by Ash
Hello there. Welcome to the February 2009 edition of the Festival of the Trees, hosted with great pride by your humble treeblog. Take my hand, hold it tight; and walk with me through Festival Forest. Over there, do you see them? Photographs! And what’s that by yon grizzled oak? A poem? There, by that pair of silver birches – see those videos? And all about us the branches hang heavy with a fine crop of blog posts, ripe for the reading! Perhaps today I’ll be able to show you a bark rubbing - ah! Sorry for getting your hopes up: a bark rubbing has never been seen in this forest before...
Let us begin with a stunning winter photograph because after all, in Britain at least, we are fast in the grip of winter.
The yew at Strata Florida Abbey is one of Caroline of Coastcard’s favourite trees. The ruined abbey, founded in 1164, is the traditional burial place of the great medieval poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, to whom there is a memorial beneath said yew. Also near the tree, which has been damaged by storms and struck by lightning, stands an unusual headstone marking the grave of a leg. The brilliant poem, Lament for a Leg, by John Ormond elaborates, and as the poem includes the yew – and did I mention it was brilliant? – I shall post it here in full (or rather, copy it from Poem of the Week):
A short service, to be sure,
One of my own favourite trees is the lonely oak on Whitwell Moor, or as I’ve started to think of it as, the Lonely Oak. Growing happily beside a path, I’ve walked by this stunted English oak (Quercus robur) more times than I can remember, and I always stop to say hello. I suppose I only began taking notice of the lonely one as an individual two or three years ago, but I would have been past it even as a young child ont’ way t’ trig point. It’s a great little windswept tree.
The Lonely Oak at sunset (22nd January 2009).
From a favourite tree to a favourite tree-eater. Dave of Via Negativa profiles the North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) - replete with video of a porky pine troughing some eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)! I also heartily recommend his poem, Questions for the Porcupine.
Vicky of TGAW celebrates the fifth anniversary of the reloakation of Old Glory, a big old valley oak (Quercus lobata) in California. It’s an incredible story, and I’ll let Vicky have the telling of it; but if you haven’t heard about this before… prepare to be amazed! The Hertford Tree Memorial Park, the subject of another post at TGAW, is a place where trees are planted in the memory of late loved ones.
Four tree species are put under the spotlight in a quartet of spiffing posts: Seabrooke of the Marvellous in Nature handles the eastern white pine (Pinus strobes); Mary of A Neotropical Savanna takes on one of the autograph trees (Clusia pratensis); Zhakee of Sierra Nevada Ramblings addresses the California sycamore (Platanus racemosa); and Jennifer of A Passion for Nature has the eastern hemlock covered – aye, that old porcupine favourite.
Over at local ecologist, Georgia recollects her favourite trees, which range from fruit trees to baobabs. One of Karen of Rurality’s favourite trees is the monkey cigar tree (Catalpa speciosa), a catalpa with interesting seed pods. Karen also asks what the heck is that spongy black fungus?
Visit Drawing the Motmot for an extraordinary view from the canopy of the Amazonian rainforest, and then head over to the South Florida Watershed Journal where Robert shares what is really the opposite perspective of a different flavour of giant trees at Big Cypress Bend - one of only two stands of old growth cypress remaining in southern Florida. Also in the SFWJ: a short video of two pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) pecking a slash pine (Pinus elliottii).
Here’s another poem, by Dave Lewis of the Welsh Poetry Competition. It is called Hope.
I went to the forest
The Lonely Oak shrouded in mist (29th January 2009).
Susannah of Wanderin’ Weeta asks how do you recognise a healthy forest? One indicator is a large amount of dead and decaying material, which means nutrients are being recycled back into the soil to be made available for other organisms. Go and have a wander through the deadwood – and woodpecker peckings.
I once took a physics course, at the end of which the professor had only one question: How far can you go into a forest?
The Lonely Oak in summer (12th August 2007).
That’s it for this month’s edition of the Festival of the Trees. I hope that your time was spent in an enjoyable manner, and that you found something interesting! Next month’s Festival will be hosted by Georgia of local ecologist. Send your submissions to info [at] localecology [dot] org, or use the online submission form. The deadline is the 27th of February.
Common alder (Alnus glutinosa) bark rubbing (31st January 2009).
Posted on January 25, 2009 by Ash
Posted on January 11, 2009 by Ash
We’re not yet a fortnight into the new year but I’ve already been casting an eye back over 2008, picking out my five favourite treeblog photos from the year that was. For a photograph to qualify for consideration, I must have taken it in the last year and subsequently featured it on this blog. Higher higher-res (1024px by 786px) copies can be found by clicking on the photos. In order of oldest first...
14th May 2008 The Aira Force money tree, with some of my eco-mates in the background. Back in May I stayed for four nights at the Whinfell Forest Center Parcs village with fifteen buddies, all of us finishing the final year of our ecological science degree at the University of Edinburgh. Mid-week, half of us headed into the Lake District to leave behind the Verruca Dome for a day. And what a beautiful summer day it was! Going along the shore of Ullswater, we spotted a car park and decided that there was no point in driving any further when we were already in such a perfect spot. And I’m so glad we did, because a short walk from the car park we discovered a piece of idyllic woodland complete with lovely stream – Aira Beck – an impressive waterfall – Aira Force – an unbelievably ginormous spruce, and this money tree. A perfect day, and it got even better back at our chalets with a roast dinner and plenty of beer pong.
27th July 2008 There was a spell of incredible weather at the end of July, just before I left Edinburgh behind and returned to Sheffield. I spent quite a bit of time at the Royal Botanic Garden, and on one of my visits I took this photograph of a common lime (Tilia x europaea) inflorescence. The common lime is a hybrid of the small- and broad-leaved limes (Tilia cordata and Tilia platyphyllos respectively).
18th September 2008 I stayed over in my friends’ flat the night before I took this photo. They live in the middle of Sheffield, and in the morning I caught a train to Hope. I then spent a brilliant late summer’s day walking home through the Peak District. I crossed over the River Derwent at Slippery Stones using the 17th century packhorse bridge there. The bridge originally stood further downstream, but if it remained in that location today it would now lie beneath the waters of Ladybower Reservoir. When the reservoir was under construction in the first half of the 20th century, this old bridge was carefully dismantled stone by stone, with the position of each recorded, then reconstructed at its present location. This lonely birch stands just a little further along the path, at the bottom of Cranberry Clough.
26th September 2008 A pearl-studded puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum). It’ll not be long before I plant treeblog’s next set of seedlings – birch, rowan, and sweet chestnut. Near the end of September I went on a mish to collect rowan berries and birch seeds – probably downy birch (Betula pubescens), possibly silver birch (Betula pendula): I sometimes cannot make up my mind with these tricky trees. There were a fair few pearl-studded puffballs under my big birch of choice and I was glad to see they were all in tip-top condition. The only time before I’d seen these things – down in Thetford the previous February – they had been old and dry and liable to shoot out a puff of spores if you stepped on one. And you wouldn’t want a lungful of those; Lycoperdon perlatum spores have microscopic spines and will severely irritate lungs if inhaled in sufficient quantity – lycoperdonosis.
6th December 2008 Deadwood at twilight (probably larch or pine), taken within a kilometre of the above photo but later in the day and year. I took a walk with my father in the chilly late-afternoon-turning-evening through my favourite hunting ground and we found ourselves at this picturesque spot with a bright moon and a clear sky. We both took a lot of photos (I can remember how cold my hands got); of mine, this is my favourite.
Posted on January 6, 2009 by Ash
This is a call. A call for submissions for the next Festival of the Trees – the thirty-second edition - which will be published here at treeblog on the 1st of February! Please submit your blog posts, photographs, poetry, works of art, articles, news pieces, bark rubbings and anything else tree-related to mail [at] treeblog [dot] co [dot] uk, making sure that Festival of the Trees or FOTT is contained in the subject header. Alternatively, you can use the online submission form at blogcarnival.com. You do not need to be the author or artist of the content you submit.
Posted on December 23, 2008 by Ash
As 2008 draws to a close, I thought it would be nice to look back on some of my favourite photos of the year. Then I realised that I never did this for 2007, so perhaps I ought to cover that year first, and look back on 2008 next week. This is good time to mention that I have been going through the archives and replacing a lot of the old lo-res (500px by 375px) images with higher resolution copies (1024px by 768px). To view the full-size versions, just click on the photo to be taken to its Flickr photo page, and then click on the ALL SIZES button (above the top left-hand corner of the photo).
3rd May 2007 Yes, this photo did feature in the previous post (an unfortunate coincidence), but it originally featured in a post entitled ‘Blackford Hill gallivanting’. It was a sunny day at the end of my third year at Edinburgh when I photographed these new sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) leaves on a walk up Blackford Hill, which was my territory of choice back then as I lived so close by. I love how the sun highlights every detail of the tender young leaves.
16th June 2007 I took this photograph on a visit to Derwent Reservoir - the towers of the stunning dam wall are seen in the background. I love how the sunlight catches some of the hawthorn leaves.
16th August 2007 Just before I started my final year at Edinburgh, one of my classes went on a field trip to the Italian Dolomites, part of the Alps. It was a brilliant trip in every respect, and the scenery was most conducive to photography. In fact, three of these five favourite photos were taken on that trip! This photograph was taken on our first proper day, when Bruno, a local forester or park official, acted as our guide on a walk up a valley. I have never been anywhere so beautiful in all my life, and this photo is a good one in that it gives some sense of the enormity of the mountains.
24th August 2007 We visited this stunning locale twice. Another place so beautiful words or photos cannot do proper justice. I have got to go back one day, and that day can not come soon enough! The lake is called Lago di Calaita, and off this photo to the right is an old rockslide that we climbed up to reach a higher part of forest.
24th August 2007 The sky at night as photographed from our accommodation for the last three nights of the trip: two log cabins in the middle of nowhere perched halfway up a mountainside! It was really pitch black, but a long exposure brought out detail that the human eye couldn’t see. The remoteness from any kind of built-up area meant that the stars were very prominent, lending the sky a quality I haven’t been able to see in Britain. This photo featured in a post entitled Field trip to the Italian Alps (Part One). The previous couple featured in Part Two.
It’s funny how three of those five photos came in the space of eight days in the Dolomites. It might be something to do with associating the positive memories of the field trip with the photographs. No winter photos made it onto the list. I haven’t picked out five favourites from 2008 yet, but I wonder if any wintry pix will make it into those. Regardless, I can’t see the list being dominated by one trip!
Posted on December 13, 2008 by Ash
Sunny young sycamore leaves from a walk up Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, on the 3rd of May 2007.
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) is a large deciduous tree common throughout the British Isles. It may be known in Scotland as the plane. Foreign readers of this blog should not confuse the British sycamore, with which I am concerned, with different species growing around the world which are also commonly called sycamore or plane.
[Sycamore] is not native to Britain. Its real home is high ground in southern and central Europe extending northwards to Paris and east to the Caucasus.
As an epilogue to Harris’s article, there was a response by M. P. Denne 4 (of the Department of Forestry and Wood Science, University College of North Wales) published in the next but one issue of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry. Denne writes that she has “not yet found any sycamore amongst the fragments of charcoal that I have been asked to identify from a number of Neolithic sites in North Wales”. The second half of her letter is a good response to Harris, so I’ll give Denne the last say in this matter.
Judging from the uses they seem to have made of the different timbers on these sites, Neolithic people must have had considerable knowledge of the wood properties of different tree species. Since sycamore can produce good quality timber on a wide variety of sites, and the wood is strong and easy to work, one would have expected it to have been in frequent use if it had been widely available at the time. As Esmond Harris points out, sycamore regenerates freely and grows well all over Britain, even on inhospitable sites. So if it was native to Britain, is there any reason why it might have been relatively rare in Neolithic times?
Posted on November 28, 2008 by Ash
So I went for a walk this afternoon armed with sheets of plain white paper and a blue wax crayon, and I did six bark rubbings. Over moor and under wood, it was a cold day with a clear sky. The temperature must have been close to zero as ice lingered on puddles and the ground was frozen at the top of the hill.
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). DBH ~ 1.5 ft.
Pedunculate or English oak (Quercus robur). DBH ~ 1 ft.
European larch (Larix decidua). DBH ~ 1.5 ft.
European beech (Fagus sylvatica). DBH ~ 2 ft.
Birch (Betula) – probably downy (pubescens), maybe silver (pendula). DBH ~ 0.5 ft.
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia). DBH ~ 1 ft.
Posted on November 18, 2008 by Ash
A couple of posts back, in the most recent grey alders and Scots pines update, I published a couple of photos of a rather spiffing caterpillar pretending to be a twig on treeblog’s grey alder No. 1. That was on Friday the 7th of November. A week later on Friday the 14th, when I was taking photographs for the cider gums update, I saw that Bud-head (for so I called the caterpillar, after its spectacular bud-mimicking head) was still on alder No. 1. What a beaut! But when I went to check on old Bud-head a couple of days later on Sunday, it was gone. Vanished! Nowhere to be found!
Bud-head on Friday the 14th of November.
What species was Bud-head? I wondered. What would it look like as a moth or butterfly? I didn’t hold much hope that I’d ever find out, after failing to identify the other caterpillars that called the grey alders home this year – see these posts from October and August. But after opening my Insects of Britain and Northern Europe Collins Field Guide, I found what I was looking for pronto. Bud-head is a Biston betularia (L.) – a peppered moth (or, when in caterpillar form, a cleft-headed looper). I was pretty impressed. Peppered moths provide one of the best-known examples of survival of the fittest – probably the most taught example in British education establishments! For those who aren’t in the know…
The name of the family [Geometridae] means ‘ground-measurer’ and is derived from the behaviour of the caterpillars. These are generally long and slender and they have only two pairs of prolegs… When walking they grip the substrate with the prolegs and then stretch out, as if measuring length, to find a hold with the thoracic legs. Having found a hold, they draw the prolegs up close to the thoracic ones and in doing so they throw the body up in a loop – leading to their common name of the loopers.
The Collins also adds to my light-dark story. Apparently the melanic form was first reported in 1848 (the Industrial Revolution took place around the late 18th and early 19th centuries). And:
It is believed that the larvae of the melanic form are hardier than those of the normal moths in the presence of slight air pollution – insufficient to blacken trees and walls. Industrial melanism occurs in many other moths, and in some other groups of insects as well, but in recent years there has been a noticeable drop in the numbers of melanic individuals as a result of smokeless zones in many regions.
Bud-head from behind - now probably gone off to pupate in the soil for overwintering.
Read about the peppered moth on Wikipedia.
Probably the intermediate form, Biston betularia f. insularia. © naturalhistoryman (Flickr).
The melanic form, Biston betularia f. carbonaria. © naturalhistoryman (Flickr).
Posted on November 2, 2008 by Ash
If you liked the Timberjack Walking Harvester, you’ll love the Brown Bronto. It eats trees!
Is that not proper mental? The Brown Bronto is manufactured by John C. Brown & Sons in the USA. According to the website,
The Brown Brontosaurus Brush Mower is a complete brush control system that performs year round clearing, even in the most difficult terrain. Running with as little as 18 GPM auxiliary hydraulics allows our mower attachments to be placed on just about any excavator, gradall, feller buncher, high-flow skid steer or custom machine.
And if the monster in the YouTube video wasn’t enough, take a look at the Brown Bronto photo gallery. A wee Bronto ‘dozer and a double-Bronto train!
Posted on October 4, 2008 by Ash
Image © James Laing. See it on Flickr.
This week is National Red Squirrel Week (4th – 12th October).
Image from I Can Has Cheezburger.
Posted on September 16, 2008 by Ash
It's only half way through September but there are yellow birch leaves littering our lawn. Is autumn here already? It might as well be. 2008 held the worst summer I can remember, weather-wise. Whole weeks of grim, overcast skies broken up by days of incessant rain. How depressing. Where were those incredibly hot days (and nights) of 2006? Perfect days beneath perfect blue skies.
Posted on July 29, 2008 by Ash
Well, I was down at Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens on Sunday (third time that week) and it was a glorious day. I had myself a good time walking around in the sun admiring trees and taking several hundred photographs. My favourite bit of the Gardens is the Highlands area just on the left when you come in at the East Gate. Not because it is particularly well laid out, or that there are any especially interesting specimens in there, but because it is planted with the things that I am most familiar with and fond of: Scots pines, silver and downy birches, gorse, heather, bilberries (blaeberries), rowans, brooms, alders, foxgloves… These kinds of flora are familiar to me from trips to the Highlands, but mainly from living on the edge of the Peak District, where all of the above are abundant.
Only a few hundred trees of each species exist, clinging perilously to the steep rocky slopes of two remote glens at the north of the island.
This is the smaller of the two S. arranensis trees. As you can see, it is only a young 'un.
And these are some of the leaves of the small S. arranensis.
This is the larger S. arranensis. A poor photo, but it gives an idea of the form.
Leaves from the top...
...and some from the bottom.
The S. pseudofennica, squeezed in between a rowan and a birch.
S. pseudofennica leaves...
...and the silvery undersides of even more leaves.
I found a paper by Robertson, Newton and Ennos (my dissertation supervisor and one of my old lecturers) - Multiple hybrid origins, genetic diversity and population genetic structure of two endemic Sorbus taxa on the Isle of Arran, Scotland (Molecular Ecology (2004) 13, 123–134) – that clears up the origins of both of these Arran whitebeams. From the abstract:
In this study, we use an array of genetic markers in a population analysis to elucidate the hybrid origins of the Arran whitebeams Sorbus arranensis and S. pseudofennica, two woody plant taxa endemic to the Isle of Arran, Scotland. It has been proposed that S. arranensis was derived by hybridization between S. aucuparia [rowan] and S. rupicola [rock or cliff whitebeam], and that subsequent hybridization between S. arranensis and S. aucuparia gave rise to S. pseudofennica. Analyses of species-specific isozyme, nuclear intron and chloroplast DNA markers confirm the proposed origin of S. arranensis, and indicate that S. aucuparia was the female parent in the hybridization. Analysis of microsatellite markers suggests that there have been at least three origins of S. arranensis on Arran. Microsatellite markers also support the proposed hypothesis for the origin of S. pseudofennica, and indicate at least five hybrid origins of this taxon.
And from the Introduction, an explanation of the origins of S. rupicola, the subject of the last treeblog post:
...S. rupicola... (rock whitebeam), itself an autotetraploid derivative of S. aria [common whitebeam]. It is most likely that S. aucuparia was the female parent involved in this cross because S. rupicola produces seed apomictically, but has significant pollen fertility of 20%.
Being the kind and generous human being that I am, I have attempted to sum up all of that information in the following simplified graphic:
Now, I think I'll end the post here. I have more material for a future post about whitebeams in Holyrood Park (again), but I think regular readers must be sick of Sorbi by now so I'll lay off 'em for awhile!
When I was photographing the S. pseudofennica this fly accosted my hand. So I took a photograph and was pleased to see what a big fly looks like from so close.
Posted on July 26, 2008 by Ash
Rock whitebeam leaves; upper surface (left) and silvery lower surface (right).
Rock whitebeam (Sorbus rupicola) is a small tree endemic to north-west Europe. According to ukwildflowers.com, rock whitebeam is
Absent from the south east of England and central and Southern Ireland, the few trees which exist are scarce and slightly more frequent the further north you go.
Not so long ago I stumbled across this .pdf document which provides details of rock whitebeam and its distribution in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. The document, marked “Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership”, is over eight years old now so I will take the liberty of plagiarising big chunks of its content:
Rock whitebeam is found on steep rocky slopes or cliffs of basic rock at low to moderate altitude. It often grows in inaccessible situations... Mature individuals readily produce flowers and fruit, the latter probably being distributed by birds in order to regenerate the species in new locations.
Regarding Holyrood Park’s population, the document has this to say:
[Rock whitebeam] has probably never been common in Edinburgh, with numbers particularly declining since the turn of the century. Rock Whitebeam has been known from Holyrood Park since 1813…
Fire damage, both accidental and as a management tool, has probably had the single largest impact on the Edinburgh population of rock whitebeam. Rabbits are keen to eat the bark of the closely related rowan, and so it is likely that rock whitebeam has also been targeted. This may be the main reason for its occurence [sic] only in inaccessible places.
Although fire is no longer used as a management tool in Holyrood Park there is always the possibility of accidental fires being started. Indeed, the prevelance [sic] of fire may increase as gorse, which is highly flammable, is likely to extend its range as a consequence of the recent removal of grazing cattle and sheep from the Park and the fact that it is no longer collected for winter fodder.
Hearing that there were rare trees within a short distance of our flat, last Monday (July 21) I went on a mission with my flatmate and fellow ecologist to Dunsapie Crag to see a rock whitebeam up close. We were in luck: there were three of them at the Crag. There was a big one high up the rocky Crag face, which I presume to be the aforementioned ‘mother tree’; a smaller one beneath the ‘mother’ but still on the face; and a smaller one still growing in the grass beneath the Crag.
The ‘mother tree’.
The youngest rock whitebeam with Dunsapie Loch in the background. The leaves in the photos at the beginning of this post belong to this tree.
All three Dunsapie Crag rock whitebeams.
We didn’t go and have a look for the rock whitebeams that the “Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership” said were on the face of Raven’s Crag, but on the way back around the west side of Arthur’s Seat we spied a couple of young specimens just below the path.
Two more Holyrood Park rock whitebeams - new discoveries?
And coming in a future post… more whitebeam wonders at Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens.
Posted on July 11, 2008 by Ash
Posted on June 22, 2008 by Ash
I first saw this a few months back. There are a fair few mentions of this thing across the internet, but most of them say roughly the same thing. The harvester is apparently a prototype developed by Plustech Oy, a Finnish subsidary of John Deere. However, I don't think Plustech Oy exists these days. They have no online presence at all, although I did find their (dead and gone) old site, plustech.fi, through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. This is what they had to say about their harvester:
The walking forest machine is Plustech's best-known innovation. The goal of product development was a machine that caused minimum impact to the terrain.
P.S. treeblog Set A and Set B updates coming soon!
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