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This is Not a Tree

This is not a treeThis isn't what it appears to be.

The Monday Photo

This is not a tree. It looks like a tree, but when I went to look at it again at the weekend I found three sorts of leaves and two main trunks. It hasn’t been snowing in the Ouzel Valley Park; this photo is from a previous year but you can still see the two main trunks.

I walked around and around it on Sunday trying to work out just what is growing here, and here’s what I think. The biggest trunk is Hawthorn. It has been strangled by ivy and it’s struggling. I found just one Hawthorn leaf and a few red berries which gave me a clue; there were very few thorns.

Most of the Hawthorn branches I could see were the lowest ones here. Even though it grows leaves and is obviously alive, the main trunk is rotten in places.

The Ivy stays close to the crown of the Hawthorn and its evergreen leaves are in shadow, just where they like to be. Considering how thoroughly the Ivy has strangled the Hawthorn, there are surprisingly few of them.

The other tree is probably a Dogwood, and it’s doing quite well. Even now in December, it still has many of its leaves. In the past one of the branches has touched the Hawthorn’s trunk and they have joined together; the Dogwood bending away like a bent elbow above the join.

The curious flat bottomed shape to the foliage we can see here is down to livestock, who might eat the tender leaves and who certainly like to rub up against the trunks, judging by the muddy and hoof marked ground I found underneath. The dense foliage will give shelter to livestock in the height of summer and the two trees and the Ivy all provide food for many insects and birds.

What was the other thing; why am I showing you a photo taken in the snow? Oh yes. of course.

I wish you all a merry Christmas. and a happy and healthy New Year.

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