Monday 17 January 2011

Introducing the Hornbeam

I'm participating in Tree Year this year, and will be concentrating on two trees, a cherry tree across the road from our flat (you can read a bit about that here) and a hornbeam on the bank of the Water of Leith.
Unfortunately this tree was badly damaged by heavy snow and storms in December last year, but it's still an impressive tree.

The European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is found across Europe but is not native to Scotland. This individual was planted along with quite a few others along the Water of Leith specifically to produce timber for the mills that once lined the river (yes its hard to believe now, as you walk along the quiet wooded river in the Dells, but this was once the industrial centre of Edinburgh). The hornbeam was used a lot in construction because its wood is particularly hard.
The hornbeam has a fluted trunk, though the bark itself is smooth. It has fairly nondescript leaves (which are just in bud at the moment, but the photos didn't come out!) but has beautiful catkins that grow in the summer and last through to early winter. They look like mini-chandeliers.


Jo Potter said...

Hi Juliet,
Thank you for stopping by my blog and leading me here!
I'm very fond of Cherry trees because I have one growing in my garden. The fruit are a real ruby red.
You are very lucky to be living in Edinburgh, it is a wonderful place!
The Hornbeam tree sounds magical with the catkins growing in the summer time. :-)
I will now follow you and visit your lovely blog again!
All the best for 2011.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I don't think I have ever seen a hornbeam Juliet - must look out for one.

none said...

Trees are probably my favorite of plant life. They have a spiritual quality to them. The chandelier description stood out to me in this post. Sounds lovely... :-)

Anonymous said...

What an amazing tree. Hornbeam. It sounds like something from The Lord Of The Rings.

Glo said...

That is one substantial looking tree! Interesting about its history and its relationship with the mills. I look forward to seeing its chandelier catkins.

Marvin said...

Please to meet the Hornbeam. Great texture on that fluted trunk.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for this, Juliet. I'm still trying to 'meet up' with my tree (though have a strong contender)! I knew virtually nothing about the Hornbeam, so this is going to be a really interesting one to follow. As for your cake Haiku on FB . . . WOW!

martine said...

We are very fond of hornbeams trees because they play a major role in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials books. Thanks for pointing me to the Tree Year project, sounds interesting.
much love

Kerri Farley said...

What a lovely tree :)

NicoleB, Kuwait said...

What a big Beauty! Am looking forward to see the changes it will go through :)!