Tuesday’s tree: sycamore
Today’s tree is a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) growing in parkland close to the river. A relatively late introduction to Scotland, but one that self-seeds prolifically, sycamores are considered by many foresters as hardly better than a weed. The leaves of your bog-standard sycamore are a rather dingy green even in spring and, unlike the glorious maples of North America to which it is related, they fade to an even dingier brown in autumn. Although wood-turners and cabinet makers prize its pale, fine-grained wood, it tends to be pretty under-rated in the landscape.
Yet I have become a convert to sycamores. Their flaky bark is quirky and characterful, and the mature trees can be as statuesque as oaks. Today’s tree is an example of one such specimen. Here it is at the end of the first week in May, coming into leaf:
and here is the same tree at the end of May, in full foliage:
While we are here, you might notice also the changing colours of the woods on the hill behind, as the oak and ash finally catch up with the other species. What a delicious palette of greens!
On sultry days, the great sycamore in the park is much appreciated by the sheep and cattle, which can often be seen dozing in its shade. For myself, I have come to admire it in every season.
See also: Too Many Trees
P.S. Don’t forget, there is still time to enter the Centenary Giveaway for tree-related goodies and other treats!