The third in a series illustrating different tree bark patterns and textures, this post features the Caucasian Elm, Zelcovo carpinifolia; the Sessile Oak, Quercus petraea Lieb.; and the Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta Loudon.
The Caucasian Elm has been introduced to Britain from a region between Europe and Asia. It grows to a fair height but the trunk or bole of the tree is short, usually less than 2 metres high. It then characteristically and unusually divides up into numerous vertical branches. The bark is relatively smooth with a bit of flaking; and in these pictures is bright green from a covering of alga.
The Sessile Oak is so-called because the flowers, and the acorns that develop from them, grow directly attached to the twigs and do not have a stalk (so they are fixed in position and cannot move). The bark of this species was used in the past for tanning leather. In fact, these trees were grown as a crop, and felled after only twenty years, so the wood could be used for various purposes not requiring large timber, and the bark was stripped for its tannin.
The Lodgepole Pine is originally from North America where it was used historically by native American people in the construction of their lodges and tipis. The textbooks say that the bark is different from other pines in that it never shows any tint of red but remains a dull brownish-black and eventually breaks up into small, thin, squarish plates, divided by shallow furrows. However, this is apparently not always the case as you will see from the pictures.
The photographs were taken at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London, UK. You can visit their website for more information on Causasian Elm
Two useful but old books that I use for the identification of British trees were produced by the Forestry Commission. These are currently out of print but still available second hand on-line:
Edlin, H.L., 1970, Know Your Conifers, Forestry Commission Booklet No. 15, HMSO, SBN 11 710006 4
Edlin, H.L., 1968, Know Your Broadleaves, Forestry Commission Booklet No. 20, HMSO, SBN 11 710016 1.
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