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Posted on October 7, 2011 by Ash
A familiar rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) on Whitwell Moor.
The weathermen forecast a startlingly hot few days last week – 25°C for the end of September in Sheffield certainly made me open my eyes – so I took measures to make the most of this unexpected resurgence of summer by taking a couple of days off work. Instead of sweating buckets trapped in a pair of chainsaw trousers, I was out roaming the moors and woods having a whale of a time. Wednesday was incredible but Thursday was truly the epitome of an autumn day; it’s just a shame that the sun sets so much earlier now than it did in the height of summer.
A familiar downy birch (Betula pubescens) of extraordinary girth, also on Whitwell Moor…
…and growing beneath its spreading branches, this little bolete (some kind of Leccinum, I think).
Hallo! It’s the famous Lonely Oak!
Last year I couldn’t find any acorns on the L.O., but there were a few on one side of the crown last week. I confess I collected some. Perhaps there will be a treeblog Set E next year?
One of my acorns. The Lonely Oak is an English or pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), so the acorns are attached to the tree on little stems.
Looking north from the ‘back’ of the L.O. towards Hunshelf Bank. Looking over its shoulders?
A familiar pair of Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) between the Salter Hills.
Chilled-out cows in the next field.
The eastern Salter Hill, complete with solitary hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna).
Gorse (or furze or whin: Ulex europaeus) - one yellow drop in the ocean.
Posted on August 24, 2011 by Ash
Taken August 3rd.
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) bark.
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaf.
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) berries.
Posted on August 11, 2011 by Ash
…Continued from the first course.
I went out for a little walk around Whitwell Moor last week. The weather was typical summer 2011 stuff – hot but cloudy. In the middle of the moor there is a little wood which is much longer than it is wide. The upper part of the wood is predominantly downy birch (Betula pubescens) with some English oak (Quercus robur). I would guess that this part of the wood is very old, and it was here that I found lots and lots of mushrooms.
Before we carry on with the fungi, here’s a glimpse of this birchwood to which you have already been introduced. Old, gnarly, many-limbed downy birches abound – this one is a fine example. The ground layer is made up of short grasses and scattered bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) bushes.
It’s a lovely place to linger.
This is a bolete… it’s a Leccinum… and that’s as far as my certainty goes. I’m tentatively going with an ID of Leccinum scabrum (brown birch bolete) because the scabers (stem scales) are black – if they had been buff or fox-coloured I’d have gone with Leccinum quercinum (orange oak bolete). I don’t think it’s a Leccinum versipelle (orange birch bolete) because the cap does not have an overhanging rim.
For the same reasons I think this too is a L. scabrum (brown birch bolete), but an older, more tired specimen.
This mushroom may be an immature Amanita fulva (tawny grisette), a species that favours birch woodland. From Jordan’s Fungi: “usually without cap patches but with volval bag… [cap] occasionally with brownish velar patches” – I believe the creamy covering on the right side of the cap is such a patch (a remnant of the veil). At the bottom of the stem are the remains of the white volval bag.
I fancy this yellow fellow is a Russula claroflava (yellow swamp russula / yellow swamp brittlegill), a species that is found in damp places under birch.
I guess these belong in the genus Russula, but I’m stumped again. I give up. They do look nice though.
Let’s end with an old favourite - an immature Piptoporus betulinus (razor strop / birch polypore) bursting in slow motion from the chest of downy birch.
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Posted on August 5, 2011 by Ash
I went out for a little walk around Whitwell Moor yesterday. The weather was typical summer 2011 stuff – hot but cloudy. In the middle of the moor there is a little wood which is much longer than it is wide. The bottom part of the wood is mostly Scots pine and larch, and I would guess that at some time in the distant past it was planted by human hands. The upper part of the wood is predominantly downy birch (Betula pubescens) with some English oak (Quercus robur). I would guess that this part of the wood is very old (who would plant downy birch?), and it was here that I found lots and lots of mushrooms.
A mushroom from the genus Leccinum. My best guess is Leccinum quercinum (orange oak bolete), but I really couldn’t say.
I’m fairly sure this is a Russula nitida (purple swamp brittlegill). This species grows under birch, especially in damp areas.
This one might be an Amanita – are those cap scales? How would you describe that mottling? Snakeskin? Tortoiseshell?
Here’s one I can actually identify. It’s an immature Piptoporus betulinus (razor strop or birch polypore) emerging from a piece of dead birch.
This pair also belong in the genus Leccinum - given away by the scabers on the stalk (which are unfortunately obscured in this photo). Do they belong to the same species as the first mushroom of this post? I don’t know. The caps are a deeper brown, but that might not mean anything.
Posted on December 10, 2010 by Ash
When the Sun goes down the trees turn black.
The Lonely Oak.
Posted on March 26, 2010 by Ash
A twin-stemmed beech (Fagus sylvatica).
A proliferation of small fungal brackets on a dead Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). They look like turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) - or at least something in that genus - but my encyclopaedia of fungi says that T. versicolor is only found on broad-leaved species. Is that right? Can anyone set us straight in the comments?
The first wood on Whitwell Moor, home to the twin-stemmed beech and rotting Scots pine.
A weak sun shines through the peeling, papery bark of a young downy birch (Betula pubescens).
Goat willows (Salix caprea) are currently putting out their furry catkins. They are dioecious trees – individuals are either male or female – and both sexes produce catkins. At this early stage in their development, I’m not sure whether these catkins are ♀ or ♂.
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) catkins. The long ones in the centre of the photo are the males; these will extend and become golden in colour before they shed their pollen, at which point they will resemble male hazel catkins. The ruby-red, rugby ball-shaped immature female catkins (above the males in this photo) will develop into hard, woody, seed-bearing ‘cones’.
Here they are: the mature female catkins. The three in this photograph would have been at the same stage as those in the previous photo at this time last spring. The cones persist on the tree through winter, lending the leafless alder a distinctive silhouette.
A female hazel (Corylus avellana) flower peeking between two pairs of male catkins.
Just look at all those catkins! There’s even another female flower at the top of the photo! Hazels are amazing at this time of year.
How’s this for a spot of genius? An ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) seen above and below ground simultaneously!
Posted on January 6, 2010 by Ash
A snowy scene in Lower Whitwell Wood, looking west across Whitwell Moor to distant Millstones Wood.
It’s been snowing a lot lately. In fact, the last couple of weeks have made 2009/2010 the snowiest winter in these parts since 1981/1982. I went for a walk on Saturday afternoon when there was still plenty of snow around up on the tops. It snowed a lot Saturday evening, and I went for another walk Sunday afternoon on which I took these photos. Then yesterday the weather went beserk and it put down, on average, nine inches of snow around the house. And more snow is forecast! It’s brilliant!
A pair of reasonably lonely oaks not far from an even lonelier one.
This bleak and snowy scene may not have much in the way of trees, but I’ve included it here as it’s the view to the south-east from…
…the Lonely Oak. (There are now eleven different photos of the Lonely Oak on treeblog’s Flickr.)
There were a fair few tracks around the Lonely One. The two tracks in the bottom left part of the photo were made by one or more rabbits or hares, (likeliest to be rabbit, I’d say). From the book Animal Tracks and Signs by Bang and Dahlstøm (2001): Each of the regular print groups is made up of four separate footprints, at the back the two short fore prints, one behind the other almost in a line, and at the front the two hind prints, more side by side and usually longer than the fore prints. So the furthest-left track was made by a rabbit/hare heading towards the camera; the track to the right of it was made by a rabbit/hare heading away from the camera. The track with the funny lines coming out of the bottom right corner is probably from a little dog; the lines would have been made by paws skimming the top of the snow.
There were tiny icicles dangling from the Lonely Oak (an English oak, Quercus robur). Is that a gall I spy in the background?
The Trig Point atop the western Salter Hill.
A lovely pair of Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris). They appeared in a couple of posts last March when summer was near and snow wasn’t on my mind.
This would be the view from the top o’ the hill, looking south-west towards the darkly wooded upper Ewden Valley and Pike Lowe (on the horizon, slightly right of centre). Snowtastic.
A snowy cluster of mushrooms. This photo was taken on my Saturday walk, but I’ll sneak it in here. I love those gills.
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Posted on November 20, 2009 by Ash
Autumnal larch (Larix decidua) needles.
Photos taken on Sunday the 15th of November.
To Whitwell Moor…
Could this be… a golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)? Y-yes?
These are immature amethyst deceivers (Laccaria amethystea). I know they are because I overhead some people in the woods say they were .
A Malus fruit – perhaps a small crab apple? Aah, Millstones Wood – you and your mysterious Maluses!
The Lonely Oak, looking all apocalyptic and stuff. Yeah, but not really. It’s a fake. A fraud. A Photoshop phoney. The sky just wasn’t red at all.
Posted on November 16, 2009 by Ash
These rubbery-looking mushrooms were growing out of a dead part of the split oak on Whitwell Moor. The split oak is an English oak (Quercus robur).
Photos taken yesterday.
Lichen growing on a nearby oak that is still managing to hold on to its leaves.
The wee mushroom here was growing from a dead branch overhead. Unusual place for a stalked mushroom, I thought.
A lovely turquoise lichen with bonus pinky-red bits. The dark green crust growing all around the big lichen is lichen too.
These tiny orange brackets were growing out of a dead branch on the ground beneath the oak. Their undersides look sort of bristly.
These two bigger shrooms were growing close by…
As usual when I put up photos of mushrooms, I’ll tell you I’m pants at identifying mushrooms and then ask for your help.
Posted on October 18, 2009 by Ash
A goat willow (Salix caprea) with birch saplings on Whitwell Moor.
This set of photos isn’t very recent. I took them three weeks ago, on the 26th of September – the day I collected cut-leaved beech nuts for treeblog Set D. It was a beautiful, beautiful day.
A hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) below Hunger Hill.
Entering Yew Trees Lane Wood from the fields, you are plunged into an amazing environment of dense foliage and huge pine trunks.
A Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) looms overhead…
Scots pine bark.
It may not look very big in this photo, but the tree in the centre is a very tall, very straight beech (Fagus sylvatica). It’s a cracking specimen!
Posted on October 3, 2009 by Ash
Looking into the canopy of the Whitwell Moor rowan. [Photo: 12 Sep. ‘09]
On Saturday the 12th of September I went for a late summer’s wander with my father. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was stunning, and our route just happened to pass by a couple of special trees: two rowans from which we collected berries to plant for treeblog’s Set D, one on Whitwell Moor and one overlooking Oaken Clough high up in the Ewden Valley.
Berries on the Whitwell Moor rowan. [Photo: 12 Sep. ‘09]
I previously collected berries from the Whitwell Moor rowan in autumn 2008 which I planted as part of treeblog Set C this spring (along with berries from another rowan, downy birch seeds, and sweet chestnuts), then replanted as Set C-r on the 12th of May. None of those seeds have germinated to date, presumably because I never pretreated them before planting them - something I didn’t realise was necessary. Without the pretreatment they still ought to germinate, but a whole year later rather than in the same year like I expected. So treeblog is expecting rowans from both Set C and Set D to germinate in spring 2010!
The Whitwell Moor rowan on the day of my Set D berry collection: the 12th of September 2009.
I discovered the Oaken Clough rowan this summer on the 18th of July. When I first lay peepers on it I knew that it had the biggest girth of any rowan I’d ever seen. I measured it on the berry run: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in.) in circumference at about shin height. That gives a diameter of 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in.). These figures might not sound very impressive, but for a rowan they are well impressive. Unfortunately, this monster of a rowan has suffered a catastrophic collapse. Most of the collapsed boughs nevertheless remain alive, and since this incident the tree has put out a lot of new growth. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t keep on going for many years to come.
The Oaken Clough rowan. Massive yet collapsed. [Photo: 18 Jul. ‘09]
After I’d picked my berries, I sort of forgot about them for a couple of weeks. I just couldn’t stomach the upcoming task…
The Oaken Clough rowan berries. The black ones have gone bad. [Photo: 20 Sep. ‘09].
Then last week I got around to removing the seeds from the berries. This was a long, time-consuming process. I estimate it took me four or five hours, and that was only working with about half of the berries! The other half had gone rotten because I’d waited so long to act. I should have removed all of the seeds when the berries were fresh, but then ten hours of seed extraction would have sent me pathologically insane. Whatever, the outcome is I have plenty of seeds.
The Whitwell Moor rowan berries. [Photo: 20 Sep. ‘09].
This afternoon I removed any bits of husk still attached to the seeds. How nice and clean they look!
The clean extracted rowan seeds earlier today. The Oaken Clough rowan’s seeds appear to be slightly larger than those of the Whitwell Moor rowan.
Right. Now the seeds are all ready for pretreatment. To improve my chances of Set D success, I’ll be trying out not one, not two, but three methods of pretreatment. My two piles of seeds will be split into thirds, and each pair of thirds will undergo a different method of pretreatment. These methods are laid out in a Forestry Commission practice guide, and an upcoming post will detail what they are. The pretreatment has actually already begun for one pair of thirds: they are currently being soaked for 48 hours to rinse off any germination-inhibiting chemicals!
Posted on June 7, 2009 by Ash
Last Monday (the 1st of June), in the middle of a period of brilliant weather, I went for a walk up Whitwell Moor, down into Ewden, through Millstones Wood, then back down Whitwell Moor. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the trees were rustling…and I enjoyed every minute!
The branches of an ash (Fraxinus excelsior) hang low over an abundance of flowering cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris).
A cherry sapling (Prunus avium) growing amongst more cow parsley by the side of a lane.
The view to the west across Whitwell Moor from the Set C(r) parent rowan (right). The lush ground cover in the foreground is bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus).
Looking across the Moor - studded with naturally regenerating birch – to Emley Moor Mast. The mast is a Grade II Listed Building and the tallest freestanding structure in the UK at 330.4 metres. It may look as if it stands on top of the hill in the photograph but it is actually much further away, standing roughly ten miles distant.
Male Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) flowers.
English oak (Quercus robur) leaves in the sun.
Standing amidst the heather and bilberry, Whitwell Moor’s most iconic oak: the Lonely Oak (also an English or pedunculate oak).
A developing European larch (Larix decidua) cone. Remember all those photos of larch roses on treeblog in March? This is what they have grown into!
Posted on March 11, 2009 by Ash
Day 0 (Set C).
One hundred and one weeks since the planting of Set A and fifty-one weeks since the planting of failed Set B, I planted treeblog’s Set C today in a private garden ceremony. This latest set is represented by three species: rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.), and birch (either silver (Betula pendula Roth) or downy (Betula pubescens Ehrh.)). Whereas a single tree provided me with all my chestnuts, and another with all my birch seeds, my rowan berries were collected from two different trees.
Another (more aesthetically pleasing) view of those chestnuts.
The planting process was straightforward. I half-filled four seed trays with compost. Into one tray went all the birch seeds, into another went the Whitwell Moor rowan berries, into the third went half of the sweet chestnuts, and into the fourth went the rest of the chestnuts and the Upper Midhope rowan berries. All nicely spaced out likes. Then a light covering of more compost and a good watering.
Posted on February 6, 2009 by Ash
Everything was white.
My first port of call: the ‘first wood’ on Whitwell Moor. The trees prominent in the foreground are Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris), but this part of the wood also contains plenty of beech (Fagus sylvatica), English oak (Quercus robur), and larch (Larix decidua).
This split English oak on the edge of the wood featured heavily in a mid-January treeblog post on galls.
Snowy holly (Ilex aquifolium) leaves – those Christmas card favourites.
Hello! It’s the Lonely Oak, last seen with a bit on snow on treeblog in January 2008.
Snow-packed Scots pine needles.
A pair of heavily snow-laden beeches in Millstones Wood, a veritable winter wonderland.
The view south-west from the southern edge of Millstones. Ewden Beck courses through the wooded valley, which splits Broomhead Moor on the left from Upper Commons on the right.
It didn’t snow on Tuesday or Wednesday, so the roads cleared up. But we got another inch or so on Thursday morning. It’s Friday afternoon as I write this and there has been no fresh snow today. The roads are clear, but the gardens and pavements are still covered. To be continued...
Posted on January 16, 2009 by Ash
What is a gall? The British Plant Gall Society’s site has a good definition from Redfern & Shirley’s British Plant Galls:
A gall is an abnormal growth produced by a plant or other host under the influence of another organism. It involves enlargement and/or proliferation of host cells, and provides both shelter and food or nutrients for the invading organism.
British oaks are particularly rich in galls. Here is just a tiny sample.
A pair of oak marble galls (one not fully developed) caused by asexual Andricus kollari larvae. A. kollari is a member of the family Cynipidae, “whose members are of special interest because most of them induce gall formation on plants and many of them display a marked alteration between sexual and parthenogenetic generations. They are called gall wasps… Most of the European species occur on oaks, although some species attack roses and certain herbaceous plants. There are about 90 British species.” - from Chinery’s Insects of Britain & Northern Europe (Collins Field Guide, 1993). This page at hedgerowmobile.com details the life-cycle of A. kollari and has good photos of the wasps and larvae with cross-sections of the gall.
A pair of artichoke galls caused by asexual Andricus fecundator larvae. Another gall wasp, A. fecundator is closely related to A. kollari. I’ve known about marble galls since I was a kid, but my first encounter with an artichoke gall came recently, in September 2007, on a university field trip to Kintyre. How did I ever miss them? hedgerowmobile.com has an A. fecundator page too.
An unknown gall. Perhaps a partially formed marble gall?
An unknown bud gall. If you recognise this gall and can ID the causal agent, please leave a comment.
Enough galls; how about some fungi? This weirdness has taken over the underside of this branch. The top side is covered with leprose lichen.
More leprose lichen. Notice how it only grows on the right side of the branch. There must be a favourable microclimate there, perhaps because of sunlight or exposure.
Another lichen; this one is fruitcose. As for what species it is… I wish I could tell you.
The subjects of all those photographs were found on this one English or pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). Even though it has split in two, both halves continue to grow; in fact, the large branch that goes off to the right is impressively long.
One more thing! A reminder about the next edition of the Festival of the Trees, which treeblog will be hosting. Please submit your blog posts, photographs, poetry, works of art, articles, news pieces, bark rubbings and anything else tree-related to mail [at] treeblog [dot] co [dot] uk, making sure that Festival of the Trees or FOTT is contained in the subject header. Alternatively, you can use the online submission form at blogcarnival.com. You do not need to be the author or artist of the content you submit. Although there is no theme this month, it would make my day if you submit something pertaining to a particular favourite tree of yours! The deadline for submissions is the 30th of January, so that leaves you a fortnight to get them in. Get to it!
Posted on December 3, 2008 by Ash
Last Friday afternoon I went for a walk around Whitwell Moor. As well as making some bark rubbings, I took some photographs of the winter scenery.
Birch tree on silhouetted against the winter sun.
A common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) sapling on Long Lane seen with leaves on the 5th of October and without on the 28th of November (Friday). Pretty cool, huh?
A small stand of birch silhouetted by the afternoon sun.
More silhouetting! A Scots pine surrounded by other trees: birches, larches, and more pines.
A frosty beech leaf blown out of Millstones Wood.
The Lonely Oak on Whitwell Moor at twilight. This post from January has a contemporary photo of the Lonely Oak with links to three other photos from spring and summer 2007.
Posted on September 26, 2008 by Ash
There’s been a small voice in the back of my head lately and it’s been telling me to go and get the berries and seeds I need for treeblog’s Set C. So today I went on a wander to see what I could do about it. I’m going to be planting three species of tree for Set C: downy birch (Betula pubescens), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), and sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa).
I already have some rowan berries from the fallen rowan that I collected on the 15th of August, six weeks ago to the day. It’s a good job I collected those when I did because the last time I saw the fallen rowan, just over a week ago, there wasn’t a single berry left on it. But there was another rowan I wanted berries from – the one in the photo above - and I’ve paid it a visit today. Its berries were very ripe and quite a lot had been shed. I gathered up a fair few, some from the ground and some still on the tree.
My next port of call was this big old downy birch (probably - it might be a silver birch), only a short walk from the rowan. Whilst not a very tall tree, its short trunk has an impressive girth to about one metre from the floor, where it splits into numerous spreading branches. The approach to this tree is a little bit special. You have to squeeze down a narrow cow-made path through a cluster of young birches and pines, which happen to frame this picturesque tree as it squats in its own little clearing on the edge of open moorland. When I arrived, seeds were collected. Hundreds of them.
There were a lot of these pearl-studded puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum) under the big birch. I saw plenty of these looking well past their best at the end of February down in Thetford Forest when I was collecting data from a silver birch provenance trial. My guess is that this species of puffball is associated with birch, perhaps in a mycorrhizal role.
Posted on June 16, 2008 by Ash
Walking up Long Lane to Millstones Wood you pass by two small woods on Whitwell Moor. This is the second.
These are parts of a tree I've seldom seen in Millstones Wood. I think it's a crab apple (Malus sylvestris), but I'm not certain. Can anybody ID this for me?
Little sunlight penetrates the beech canopy. A typical characteristic of the average beechwood is a shady floor.
Beeches. The many-branched beech to the left was probably grazed as a sapling which prevented it from growing with a single main stem.
Not sure what this is supposed to symbolise, or if it's just pure art, but I found it carved into one of the trees.
A male inflorescence and accompanying whorl of needles on a Scots pine.
The female flower of a Scots pine, only a few millimetres in height. In a couple of years this small red blob will have matured into a hard, woody pine cone. treeblog has already done a post on Scots pine reproductive organs (about this time last year).
Stunted pines on the top of the hill, just outside of the wood. Although I think only pines can be seen in this photo, there is at least one larch in the group.
From the vantage point beneath this pine, enjoy the view in the general direction of Sheffield and take in some of the Peak District landscape typical to my local area. In the foreground is a field of strangely neat gorse.
Posted on January 7, 2008 by Ash
Snow on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
A snowy boggy patch in a small wood. Birch and Scots pine in the background.
A snowy woodland scene in Millstones Wood. Snow and stone and tree.
This broken larch (Larix) branch looks like old news nowadays. There's even a patch of fungus visible at the back. But back on the 4th of April 2007 it was all fresh and glorious!
A generous portion of larch twigs, delicately powdered with snow.
A picturesque snow-covered European beech (Fagus sylvatica) in Millstones Wood.
A serene scene. Wintry beauty in the woods.
Posted on May 28, 2007 by Ash
The enemy in our midst. Rhododendron ponticum on heather moorland. The moorland appears to be under succession by birch woodland, although Rhododendron might end up taking over instead.
Photos taken on the 23rd of May 2007.
R. ponticum inflorescence.
Looking across fields towards the village of Bolsterstone between the branches of a hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna).
Female beech (Fagus sylvatica) flowers - these will transform into beechnuts over the next few months.
The twisted and tortured-looking trunk of a stunted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
A beech seedling with one pair of cotyledons and one pair of 'proper' leaves.
A nice bit of semi-natural mixed woodland. Lots of beech and Scots pine and plenty of oak off-camera. The low shrubs in the foreground are bilberry (Myrtillus vaccinium).
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