Trees in Autumn

Trees in Autumn

Trees  in Autumn 

Some trees in Britain have spectacular coloured leaves in autumn. For more photos and a discussion of why some trees change colour in autumn click HERE 

Golden Ash
The  first photo is of the Aspen Populus tremula. This is a Poplar that tolerates cold conditions. It is a smaller tree than most Poplars. It is a species that grows in cool regions across the whole of Europe and west Asia. (The American Aspen is a different species). It is more likely to be found in the north and west of Britain and is common in the Scottish Highlands. It is typically found in oak or birch woodland. It can spread by sending suckers up from its roots. Male and female flowers are on separate trees. Flowers are in the form of catkins. The second photo is of a Golden Ash Fraxinus excelsior ‘Jaspidea’. The Golden Ash is a medium sized deciduous tree with yellow shoots and golden foliage in autumn. It is a cultivar of the Common Ash and was introduced to Britain in the late 1870s. It was rare but is now found increasingly in parks and on streets where its spectacular autumn colour stands out. 
Common Beech
Persian Ironwood leaves

The first photo is of the Common Beech Fagus sylvatica. The Common Beech is the dominant tree of woodlands in south and central England. It grows strongly on well-drained chalk soils found, for example, in The Chilterns. It does not like wet ground. It has been planted in woods, gardens and parks throughout Britain. Beech wood from The Chilterns was used as firewood for London, then when coal replaced it, for furniture. It is a large tree and can grow to 40m. In some years there is a huge crop of oil-rich beechnuts. These are known as ‘mast’ years where ‘mast’ is an old word for ‘fruit of the forest’. In former times pigs were fattened up on beechnuts and acorns prior to going to market.  The second photo is of leaves of the Persian Ironwood  Parrotia persica.  The Persian Ironwood is a small deciduous tree native to northern Iran. It was introduced to Britain in 1841. It is related to the Witch-Hazel. Its wood is extremely hard, hence the name ironwood. It has red flowers, which appear before the leaves in late winter. The leaves turn bright red in autumn. It is frequently found in parks and collections, often as a large shrub, selected for its superb autumn colours.                                            

Common Hornbeam
Maidenhair Tree leaves
The first photo is of the Common Hornbeam  Carpinus betulus. The tree is native to Southern England and is also found throughout Europe and Turkey. It is a medium-sized tree and can grow to 30m. It is common in hedgerows and woods and has been planted in many parks and gardens. Its wood is too hard to be used in general carpentry but has been used in hard-wearing tasks such as chopping blocks and cog-wheels. In Epping Forest Hornbeams were pollarded to provide firewood. The tree can be confused with the Common Beech but its oval leaves are toothed not smooth-edged. The bark of the tree is very unusual. It is smooth, like the Beech, but is patterned with distinctive silver-grey vertical lines. Male catkins appear in spring and the fruit hangs on the tree through winter. The cultivar ‘Fastigiata’ has an egg-like shape and is often planted on streets. The second photo is of leaves of the Maidenhair Tree Ginkgo biloba. The tree, also known as the Ginkgo, is the only surviving member of a family, which has existed since the Jurassic era 180 million years ago. The tree is native to a small area of China where it has been cultivated for centuries for its apricot-like “fruit”. It was introduced to Britain in 1758 and has been planted widely in southern England, in large gardens, parks and new towns. It is known as the Maidenhair Tree because its leaves resemble those of the Maidenhair fern. The tree can easily be recognised in summer by its unique leaves and in the winter by its large buds. The tree is deciduous – its leaves turn yellow and fall in autumn.