History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

28 February 2007

More trees...

Continuing on with my research about trees in the British Isles...

The Walnut Tree grows to about 40 to 60 feet and can be up to 20 feet or more in circumference with a huge spreading head. It has large leaves and both male and female flowers that grow on the same tree. It blossoms in the spring before the leaf-buds have burst. Walnuts become ripe around the beginning of October. They make a fine oil. The value is as a fruit tree, but the wood is also useful in making furniture. The wood is dark and of a course grain. Because the wood is both light and tough, it is a good material to make the stocks of guns and rifles. It was introduced to Britain around the middle of the 16th century and there are laws to preserve the species.

The Box tree is frequently found in parks and ornamental grounds, but is only indigenous to a few area: Surrey, Kent, Buckingham and Gloucester. This tree grows to a height of 15 to 20 feet with a girth of about 20 inches. Its slender branches are clothed with small, oblong, leathery leaves about an inch in length. They are polished on the upper side. Small, inconspicuous flowers form from January to May and are found clustered between the leaf and the steam. They are whitish-green and the sexes are in separate flowers. The tree grows very slowly so the grain of the wood is very fine, very hard and very heavy. It will not float. It is used by wood-engravers for "wood-cuts."

The Wych Elm is one of the three types of Elms commonly found in England. The rough-leaved Wych Elm, the smooth-leaved Wych Elm and the Common English Elm. There are also local varieties and hybrids of Elms such as the Cornish Elm, the Huntingdon Elm, and the Jersey Elm. It was thought until recently that the Common Elm was introduced to Britain by the Romans, but now thought that perhaps it descended from crossing the two Wych Elm species. Wych Elms are also called Mountain Elm, Scots Elm and Witch Hazel. The Wych Elm has a large trunk and rises from 80 to 120 feet or more in height. It has rough, corky bark and long slender branches. The leaves are somewhat oval but the two sides are unequal in size and shape. Their edges are toothed and the surfaces are rough and harsh. They have hairs on the undersurface that protect the breathing pores from dust. Brown bell-shaped flowers, a quarter of an inch long, are produced in bunches in February or March.


Blogger Unknown said...

Very cool, Jessica. I love having accurate info about flora and fauna for my books!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

Thanks for the great info, Jessica! Perfect for setting the scene.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful and useful facts!

This site is the best. I've just plowed through all your archives, and I am so hooked.

My thanks to everyone contributing! My hero has just pulled my heroine from some bushes, where she shouldn't have been peeping through windows--now I can start to figure out what those bushes should be :)


6:57 PM  
Blogger Jessica Trapp said...

Thanks, guys! I was worried this topic would be... boring. I love trees.

:) jes

8:26 AM  

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