Friday 8 February 2013

Plant ident 17/01/2012 - Twigs

From left to right:

1. Cornus alternifolia argentea - can have bright red stems when young - aka The Wedding Tiered tree. An unusual large shrub that is like its common name has abundant tiers of white flowers.

2. Eating pear Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du comice'. The clue could be the pointy alternate brown buds that it has.

3. (Top) Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha'. Macrophylla are the mophead types, 'Ayesha' is distinguishable to other hydrangeas of this species is that its petals turn in.

4. Alder glutinosa aka Common Alder - the deciduous tree native to Britain. It can grow up to 35m and is a good strong wood that can be used underwater, so prefers a wet habitat and has been used in boat building, piers etc. It has had interesting folklore surrounding it and has been associated with the devil because the wood is red when you cut it. The catkins on this particular one is purple. I have seen them with bright pink ones also. Their leaves are ovalish shape with a distinctive indentation at the top.

5. The seedhead of a Peonia delavayi - the tree peony that has maroon flowers and yellow stamens. It can grow quite widely and up to 2m tall. It has large deep divided leaves.

6. (Top with red berries) Iris foetidissima

7. (The stubby one with the hoof like black buds) Fraxinus excelsior - the common ash troubled by the fungal disease Chalara fraxinea at the moment. Another tree native to Europe is also good for timber and burns well even when green. It is tough but springy so good for handles like axes. Can reach up to 43m. It has a big bushy habit and often a long bole (main trunk) and an airy crown. They have 'keys' as seeds. Leaves are compound (made up of lance-shaped leaflets), about 30cm long and unique in that there are no native other tree with leaves like it.

8. (Top thin multi-stemmed one) Salix sp. -  shiny twig, possibly a coral bark one (if so then it will have bright orange twigs as a whole) - another one of those trees that can have colourful stems like Cornus. A good way of distinguishing it from a Cornus is that it has alternate buds instead of opposite ones that rotate.

9. Ficus 'Brunswick' not so clear in the photo but this fruiting tree is distinguishable by the green tip buds at the end of the stem. This tree can be found on the wall in front of the terrace of the house.

10. Quercus robur seeing this I realised I had never looked at an English Oak properly. It has clusters of buds at the end of twigs.

11. And we meet again - Clerodendron bungei, I've had it in leaf form and in flower form, now the twig.

12. Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire', when confronted with a plant grown for its colourful stems I always wonder how best to maintain and prune it so that you get the best display out of the plants as much as possible. According to the RHS this particular cornus can just be pruned every two years in late winter or early spring, and then you would cut it 60 - 90cm above the ground and thin out side shoots to encourage more branching. It is probably good to feed it every year especially after pruning, and water it well in dry summers.

There was also Rosa virginiana - a rose that has thorny red stems which I have taken cuttings of before which give lovely autumn colour.

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