Two Deciduous Conifers

Two Deciduous Conifers

Identification of two Deciduous Conifers with all images and text taken from the book Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe published by Reed New Holland in 2017, author Alan Birkett and ISBN 9781921517839

Swamp Cypress in November
Dawn Redwood in November
Not all conifers are evergreen. Here are two conifers that shed their leaves in autumn. The first image is of the Swamp Cypress and the second that of the Dawn Redwood. Both photographs were taken in November. The Swamp Cypress, also known as the Bald Cypress, is a conifer native to the coastal areas of southeastern USA from Delaware to Texas and the Mississippi River valley. It was introduced to Britain in1640. In the USA it is usually found in low lying, waterlogged areas but it can grow well in dry conditions. In Britain it has been planted in formal gardens and parks. The Dawn Redwood is a conifer that was only re-discovered in central China in 1941. It was known from the fossil record but was thought to be extinct. It is one of the World’s most endangered trees. It was introduced to Britain in 1948 and has since been planted in many parks and gardens in warmer regions. It grows best next to water. The Dawn Redwood, the Coast Redwood and the Giant Sequoia (sometimes called the Sierra Redwood) are all related. They are relics from a period 100 million years ago when they were widespread. They now have very restricted natural distributions – the Dawn Redwood to central China and the other two to California.
Swamp Cypress leaves
Dawn Redwood leaves
The leaves of the Swamp Cypress can be confused with those of the Dawn Redwood but the shoots and leaves, if looked at closely, are different. The leaves of the Swamp Cypress, shown in the first image, are arranged alternately along the shoot in 2 ranks. The leaves of the Dawn Redwood, shown in the second image, are opposite.
Swamp Cypress cones
Dawn Redwood cone
The cones of the two conifers are quite different.  The first image shows cones of the Swamp Cypress in September. The second image shows an old cone of the Dawn Redwood on the ground after shedding seed. 
English and Sessile Oak

English and Sessile Oak

All images and text are taken from the book Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe published by Reed New Holland in 2017, author Alan Birkett and ISBN 9781921517839

 

English Oak tree in mid May
sessile oak tree in midsummer

There are 2 native oaks in Britain, the English Oak and the Sessile Oak. From a distance they look alike as shown above, where the first image is of the English Oak and the second the Sessile oak. The English Oak is also known as the Pedunculate Oak because its acorns have stalks (known as ‘peduncles’ by botanists). It can easily be confused with the Sessile Oak, which gets its name from the fact that its acorns have no stalk, a feature that is known as “sessile” by botanists. The English Oak is the dominant tree in most of Britain, particularly on the richer soils in valley bottoms. It has been planted everywhere in parks, gardens, deer parks and woods. The Sessile Oak is also known as the Durmast Oak, a name that is possibly related to the feeding of pigs on acorn and beechnuts, known as ‘mast’. In Britain it is more common than the English Oak in upland areas in the North and West and is often found in woodlands on well-drained hillsides.

english oak leaf with ears and no stalk
seesile oak leaf with long stalk

The first image shows the English Oak leaf which has a very short stalk, hidden by two small leaves known as “ears” at the base of the leaf. In comparison, the second image shows the Sessile Oak leaf which has  a long stalk.

english oak acorn on a long stalk or peduncle
sessile oak acorns no stalk

The first image shows an English Oak acorn, which is on a long stalk called a peduncle. The second image shows acorns of the Sessile Oak which have no stalk. They sit on the shoot like this – a feature that is known as “sessile” by botanists.