• wildwoodlandlearning

Updated: May 22, 2020

This weeks tree to identify is the Bird Cherry. It can be found in wet woodland and hedgerows as it seems to like to grow in cramped conditions. These photos of the Bird Cherry in our blog were taken on the banks of the White Cart river near Linn Park.

As you can see the beautifully scented blossom is currently on show, spring time is best for all blossom displays. The flowers are clustered along short stalks. Like wild cherry, the flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees. The cherries are eaten by birds, including the blackbird and song thrush, as well as mammals such as badger and wood mouse.

The leaves are oval and smooth except for the tufts of hair under the vein joints. Unlike wild cherry, the edges have fine, sharp serrations, with pointed tips. The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of many moth species, including the Bird Cherry Ermine Moth.

The Bird Cherry Ermine moth larvae creates web-like nests sometimes covering the whole tree. They feed on the leaves and grow very quickly into caterpillars which in turn pupate into the (really quite beautiful) Bird Cherry Ermine Moth. Keep your eyes peeled for these webs as it's incredible to see just how many caterpillars are inside them.

The bark of the bird cherry has the familiar stripes and papery thin features of all trees in the Cherry family. It's dark brown and has an acrid smell when cut. The smell is so strong it was believed to ward of the plague from a household if a branch was placed at the front door!

Good luck in finding a Bird Cherry and everything that lives in it!

Happy hunting :)


  • wildwoodlandlearning

Hi Folks

This week’s tree that would be nice to keep an eye out for is the Hawthorn.

May really is the month that Hawthorn comes to life. It is very common and you can see it anywhere from gardens, lanes, verges, hedgerow and woodlands.

It’s spiny bare branches now have a fresh coat of strong leaves and it’s stunning scented white blossom sets it apart from the crowd.

Have a look at our video of the Hawthorn or see the identification traits to look out for below.

Leaves – Feel tough to the touch with tufted hairs, darker green above paler below. They are small with 3-5 deeply divided toothed lobes.

Flowers – They appear initially as tiny white balls in clusters then the white flowers open with a fantastic scent, white flowers with a pink tinge. The mass of leaves and flowers cover the whole tree and the branches droop as they are weighted down with them.

Bark – Orangey and cracked, becoming gnarly with age in older trees.

Value to Wildlife – Hawthorn provides food and shelter to lots birds, small mammals and a variety of insect life so is a very important tree! It’s home to many varieties of moth larvae like Ermines and Lappets, with the leaves a meal for the emerging caterpillars and the Hawthorn shield bug amongst dozens of other insects. Its seeds are sown by the birds, voles, mice that eat them.

History - A Hawthorn can live for over 400 years and remains of it have been found in megalithic tombs. Hawthorn is so engrained in ancient history that its life cycle has become part of village life. From May-day celebrations to weddings, poets and writers have written about the Hawthorn representing human nature, rebirth and fertility.

Mark the fair blooming of the Hawthorn tree,

Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,

Fills full the wanton eye with May’s delight.


Good luck with finding the beautiful Hawthorn tree this week!

Take care

Love fromWILD

  • wildwoodlandlearning

Updated: May 20, 2020

The leaves are just beginning to appear on this awesome tree. They're all tender and baby soft in comparison to the immense trunk and branches of tree.

Oak is the second most common species of tree in the UK next to Birch. It supports an abundance of life. Oak forests support more life forms than any other native forest. They are host to hundreds of insect species, supplying many birds with an important food source. In autumn, mammals such as squirrels, badgers and deer feed on acorns.

Flower and leaf buds of English oak are the food plants of the caterpillars of Purple Hairstreak butterflies.

Bats also roost in old woodpecker holes or under loose bark, as well as feeding on the rich supply of insects in the tree canopy.

The oak was sacred to many gods, including Zeus and Jupiter. Each of these gods ruled over thunder and lightning, and oak trees are often hit by lightning as they are the tallest living feature in the landscape.

Good luck with finding an Oak tree on your walk.

Take care,



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