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Posted on March 22, 2008 by Ash
A follow-up post to this one all about my time at the Thetford Forest silver birch provenance trial, replete with photos of trees and bark and twigs and stuff like that.
The trial was rife with these little horrors: common or pearl-studded puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum), well past their prime. These little bags are full of spores, so mind you don't step on them. The spores are spikey and will irritate the lungs if enough are inhaled, causing lycoperdonosis.
A normally-green-but-for-some-reason-red bryophyte. Isn't it pretty?
A pair of female silver birch catkins. These will be packed with tiny winged seeds!
This is very strange. A twig coming in from the right has made contact with a twig from a different tree and has coiled around it like a vine tendril. Why has it done this? Is it some freakish genetic mutation? Can we cultivate vine birches???
A sweet chestnut. There were a couple of big sweet chestnuts and a few big oaks around the edge of the provenance trial. These probably grew up when the land was in its previous use as a pine plantation and were retained when the pines were felled. There were loads of chestnuts covering the ground beneath this tree. I hereby conclude that this part of the forest has a squirrel shortage, and that rabbits don't like chestnuts (there were a lot of signs of rabbit activity).
Looking down at bark on a pine stump. A few of these stumps were scattered about the trial, remnants of the old plantation. Most of the stumps had been removed and were piled outside the trial. I guess the ground was then rotovated to level it off again.
These young pines, probably Scots pines, were growing right next to the birch trial. One day they might look like...
... this. A mature Scots pine plantation, just a couple of hundred metres from the birch trial. These can't be far from being harvested now.
And today I am fresh back from another silver birch provenance trial, this one overlooking Loch Tay up in the Highlands. I shall tell you all about it in the next post!
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