COLOURED FLOWERS USED FOR TREE IDENTIFICATION
Coloured flowers have evolved to attract pollinators. Colour in petals is produced by pigments such as anthocyanins (red/blue/purple), carotenoids (yellow /orange/red) and betalains (red/violet). A white petal lacks these pigments. UV light is absorbed or reflected by other pigments. The pigments are complex chemical compounds and there is a cost to the tree to produce them.
Bees are the most important pollinators of flowers in Britain. Bee’s eyes have 3 photoreceptors – ultra-violet, blue and green, which compares with humans red/blue and green. So bees can’t see red (it appears as black) but can see UV. Bees see purple/violet and blue best but can see yellow/orange flowers. Butterflies are more attracted to pink, orange, and red flowers. Moths tend to be attracted to white flowers, while birds are attracted to red, orange, and yellow flowers. For more information on pollinators click HERE.
Many trees in Britain have white or pink flowers. To see these flowers click HERE. A few trees have yellow, green, deep pink or pale violet flowers. These are shown on this page and can be used to identify the tree. Click on the button below the image to get a full description of the tree. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Note that many trees rely on wind pollination. These trees have catkins which do not have petals. To find out more about these trees click HERE.