Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Well Worn Path

It's always nice when walking a regular route to spot something that you haven't seen before. That really is the beauty of having a local patch and getting to know it inside out. This time it was on my route over to Temple Newsam (VC64), and it was a tree of all things. I must have walked past this species at least four times a year for the last 3 years without seeing it. To be fair to myself, it was Dwarf Cherry (Prunus cerasus) and it was growing with its larger cousin Wild Cherry (Prunus avium), but even so it was only a metre off the path. Perhaps it was something to do with the low autumn sun shining off the glossy leaves that caught my eye this time.

Dwarf and Wild Cherry are quite distinct once known, as the following scan of the leaves should show. Dwarf Cherry (four leaves on the left) has smaller, darker green, glossy leaves with rounded rather than sharp teeth along the edge.

Other nice finds on the same trip included a planted Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), a tree I have wanted to see for a while to understand how it differs from Red Oak (Quercus rubra) - the answer to which is smaller more refined leaves, and naturalised Late Michaelmas Daisy (Aster x versicolor) with it large flowers providing a nectar feast for late flying bees and butterflies.

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