By: Blonde Two

An arboreal Tuesday’s Ten this week, mainly brought on by my searches for a silver birch tree to grace my back garden. Trees give us so many things, fun, food, oxygen… isn’t it about time we all learned a bit more about them. Here are my 10 things you might not know about trees.

  1. The longest monkey puzzle tree avenue (Araucaria araucana) in the UK was planted in 1844 and has not moved from Bicton College in Devon since then.
  2. The fruits of a horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)were not the first conkers. Snails and hazelnuts were amongst their predecessors.
  3. The oldest tree in the UK lives in Scotland and is called the Fortingall Yew (Taxus baccata). It is thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.
  4. The Plymouth pear (Pyrus cordata) was first discovered in Plymouth and is one of the UK’s rarest trees. This rarity is, in part, due to its self-imposed protection against inbreeding.
  5. Oak trees (Quercus rober) do not start producing acorns until they are at least 20 years old. We think this is very sensible.
  6. The stump of wood left after a tree has been coppiced is called the stool.
  7. To make charcoal you need a wood that burns slowly such as oak.
  8. The tallest native tree in Britain measures 44 metres and is a beech (Fagus sylvatica) who may or may not be called ‘Bob’.
  9. Galloway Forest Park is the UK’s biggest forest with 207 miles square of woodland.
  10. The Forestry Commission (Commissionus Forestus) is England’s largest landowner and, in 2019, is celebrating its 100th birthday.

My apologies to the Latin plant aficionados amongst you. I think I have the right specific epithet for each tree but am not entirely sure about the Forestry Commission!