Cherry blossoms and other tree flowers.-2

April takes its name from the Latin "Aperire" a word which describes the unfurling of the leaf, a fitting description for this time of the year in the U.K.





From a poem - A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Houseman.

It is not just the ground flora that enhance the countryside with an array of colourful blooms. Trees and shrubs put on their own floral spectacular. It is not necessary to travel into the heart of the countryside to gaze upon this spring slendour, many varieties can be admired in parks and gardens throughout the region. Local authorities have long employed trees and shrubs to brighten town centers, parks and industrial areas.


Below -ornamental cherry in full bloom


The familiar cherries---

For many people , one of the most familiar flowering tree will be the several species of ornamental cherries.  The spring and Tibetan species are among the first to flower. However, it is the wild native cherry, reaching a height of 30m, which takes pride of place for me. To see a mature specimen in a pasture or woodland ride in all its blossoming glory is truly a sight to behold. The flowers appear before the leaves, usually in clusters of 2-6. They are white and borne on long stalks.

During this same period another familiar shrub will display its yellow blooms to brighten up gardens and shrubberies the Forsythia another species that flowers before the leaves appear.

BELOW--Forsythia brightens up the locality


Other "garden" trees and shrubs.

Other familiar "garden " trees and shrubs  such as the laburnum will put on a display before the month of April is out. The bright yellow pea like flowers cascade from pendulous sprays. The flowers are then succeeded by the formation of seed pods which are hairy when young, becoming smooth as they mature. The seeds of the laburnum are highly poisonous to animals and children. They are available in copious amounts during the autumn, they are small, round and black when ripe.

Below the flower buds of Laburnum.


Horse chestnut flowers and foliage.

April is the month that allows most of our trees to be clothed again in all their finest greenery, following the grim nakedness  of winter. The horse chestnut is one of the earliest trees to take advantage of the new season. The swollen sticky buds are conspicuously large and of a deep brown colour. The stickiness is a ploy, also shared by other species of trees, to prevent insect damage to new growth. As the buds burst and new foliage begins to emerge, it is noticeable that the young pale green leaves are clothed in a white down, this acted as a protection for the forming leaves against the ravages of our coldest months. Once the leaves are fully expanded the down is quickly discarded.

The foliage of the horse chestnut are palmate, having five to seven leaflets, toothed along their margins. Each are cut back to the base and spread out like the fingers on a hand. They are of an elongated pare shape. The entire leaf may easily attain the width of 20 cm, making it the largest leaf on any tree in Britain. The leaf stalks, known as petioles, may also reach a length of 20 cm. The flower spikes are borne in April along with the foliage but it will be the middle of May before the spikes commonly referred to as candles burst in to flower.

Below the foliage of Horse chestnut.



The common white flowered horse chestnut produces many flowers spiraled around the "candle". They consist of four or five petals which have delicate shades of yellow or pink at their bases. The stamens  protruding from the center are red tipped adding to the alchemy of colour. These candles often up to 30 cm long, are in my opinion, one of the most beautiful tree blooms that nature has to offer. Two or three spikes in full bloom will enhance any vase of spring flowers. They have the bonus of lasting well in water. When in full bloom it is a majestic sight - few trees can match its floral contribution.

The red flowered species is a cross between the common white flowered and the red buckeye, a north American species of the same family. They are smaller in all respects to those of the white. However, a tree in full bloom still produces a stunning display.. It differs also by the seed cases which fall in the autumn. Those of the white flowering species have cases which contain the fruit that are covered in sharp spines. Those of the crossed species lack these spines.

Below. The flowers fade to give way to the forming fruits.


Below top. Apple blossom.---- Lilac flowers-Hydrangea flower with Lady bird--Flower buds of the magnolia tree.


Other trees in the wider countryside---

Below is a visual guide to the trees in the wider countryside that produce flowers, most of these trees and shrubs will have a link at the top right hand side of the page where they are reviewed in greater detail.  Below are the Rowan {see link} Guelder rose, {link will added in the near future}


Below top Elder flowers.--- Middle-Guelder rose flowers Bottom-- Rowan flowers.


Above we have viewed a small selection of shrubs and trees.

Above we have discovered a small selection of the many flowering trees and shrubs that adorn gardens,parks, streets and the general countryside through spring and summer in the north west of England. Many of these can be viewed in greater detail by clicking on the links at the top right hand side of this page. Many more will be added to the site as work continues.

Thank you for reading.

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