Tree of Heaven

Tree of Heaven

The Tree of Heaven Ailanthus altissima, native to northern and central China, was introduced to Britain in 1751. It was planted extensively in London Squares and elsewhere in parks, streets and gardens. It is now very common in urban areas and has spread naturally in the warmer parts of the USA by colonising waste ground. The leaves have a characteristic bad odour when crushed. At first sight the tree looks like an Ash but closer examination of the leaves shows the difference.

A Tree of Heaven in full leaf in August.

A Tree of Heaven in late October.

Each leaf has 11 to 25 leaflets. It is a pinnate leaf. At first sight the leaf looks like that of the Common Ash.

Each leaflet is smooth-edged but has a single tooth at the base of the leaf.

The male flowers come out in July.

 

The fruit hangs, in the form of keys, like this in October. They look like Common Ash keys except for their colour.

The bark has vertical “snakes” like this

Three unusual Lime Trees

Three unusual Lime Trees

There are three unusual Lime trees that are found in Britain, Mongolian Lime, Henry’s Lime and Oliver’s Lime.

The Mongolian Lime Tilia mongolica is a small tree native to eastern Russia, Mongolia and northern China. It was introduced to Britain in the 1880s. It has a very distinctive, attractive, leaf and is slow growing, so it is being used increasingly in town and city parks. The leaves turn yellow in autumn.

Mongolian Lime leaf
Mongolian Lime leaf

Henry’s Lime Tilia henryana is a medium-sized tree native to central China It was discovered in China by Augustine Henry, an Irish plantsman, and introduced to Britain in 1901. It has beautiful leaves with long yellow-tipped teeth but until recently has only been planted in a few gardens. In Europe it tends to be slow growing and so most trees are small.

Henry's Lime leaf
Henry's Lime leaf

Oliver’s Lime Tilia oliveri is native to central China. It was named after Daniel Oliver a former Keeper of the Kew Herbarium when it was introduced to Britain in 1900 by E.H.Wilson, the plant collector. It is a medium sized tree with elegant leaves that are silvery underneath. It is a beautiful tree but is only found in a few collections.

Oliver's Lime leaf
Oliver's Lime leaf