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Willow, apple and pear give the bees early pollen in BIGGEST AND OLDEST
abundance with small amounts of nectar that, at best,
sustains them in their pollination quest. The common lime The Californian coastal area is home to Sequoia sempervirens,
(Tilia vulgaris) produces honey with a greenish hue that one of which is the tallest tree in the world at 115.5 m or
imparts a mint taste, a sign of its purity; the pollen is 379.1 ft. The oldest specimen is believed to be 1500 years old.
collected in abundance. Some trees cease to yield after Specimens of trees have been excavated from the forest
reaching maturity, while others appear unaffected. floor, where they have lain for some 2500 years, and found
still to yield usable timber. The Wellingtonia (of which therePOLLARDING
are young specimens in this country) can attain a diameter
The pollarding or coppicing of any of the above trees is a of some 9.25 m (30 ft). It is covered in fibrous fireproof bark
policy to be deplored as, from a beekeeper’s point of view, from 30 to 60 cm (1–2 ft) thick. These trees were giants at
trees treated thus can then become non-flowering and, from the dawn of Christianity and are still living at an estimated
an amenity point of view, they very often become merely a age of 4000 years.
stark, dry and ultimately rotten stick of wood of no use. It is OUR NATIVE TREES
the view of many arborists that when trees become too
large, make too much shade or reach maturity they should Returning to our native trees, the ash is a fine tree too,
be felled and fresh young trees planted in their place, thus yielding a tough and elastic timber used for fine furniture. It
ensuring the perpetuation of both amenity aspects and is notable for its late leafing, appearing quite inert when all
3sustainability . others are in full leaf. It is like Charles Lamb and his office
8hours, making up for arriving late by departing early . SuchPART OF OUR HERITAGE
is the habit of the ash as the first autumn frosts cause it to
The native trees of these islands have played, and still do shed its leaves; on a bright, sunny, frosty morning, the
play, an important part in our heritage. The oak (Quercus leaves fall like rain.
robur, sometimes considered as Q. pedunculata, the The beech is a magnificent tree, unequalled for its greenery
English oak) is one of the strongest and most durable of in early leaf, growing to a very large size, its timber being
timbers. The oak has played an important part in history,
notably in the building of the earliest ships and as a The largest and tallest Sequoia sempervirens trees are
constructional timber in many of our ancient buildings. found in the Redwood National and State Parks, USA
The oak featured with many land owners as a means of
4wealth . The surveyors for the Commissioners of the
Admiralty laid claim to all oak trees for the building of the
5mighty warships in the Napoleonic times . In 1810, it took
five men 20 days to fell, dress and remove the bark of the
Galenos oak at Newport, Monmouthshire. The tree yielded
2426 cu ft of timber with six tons of bark. It took a pair of
6sawyers five months to convert it into planks .
The coniferous trees of the United Kingdom are of all kinds,
although the Scots pine or European pine is the only
indigenous one. In spring, the larch (Larix decidua
commonly known as Larix europaea) bursts into life with
exquisite green foliage and pink flowers that can only be
described as breath taking. The first larch trees were
introduced at Dunkeld, Scotland, by the fourth Duke of
Argyll who planted 27,000,000 trees in an area of 15,000
acres. This was a vast project to be undertaken in those
days when forestry was in the hands of individual
7landowners .
The yew (Taxus baccata) is a conifer and is believed to be
the oldest of our native trees. The English longbow men
relied on the yew wood for their deadly weapons, most
famously for Henry V at Agincourt 1415. Now the yew with
its poisonous berries is relegated to be guardian of the
dead in most rural churchyards.
Other conifers include the spruces which are grown
extensively for Christmas trees. The Douglas fir, silver fir and
cedar are all now regarded as native to these islands.
Page 22 Bee Craft Digital November 2008
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