April takes its name from the Latin Aperire a word which describes the unfurling of the leaf, a fitting description at this time of the year.
"loveliest of trees the cherry now,
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride,
Wearing white for Easter tide"
From a poem ------A Shropshire lad by A.E. Houseman.
It is not only the ground flora that enhance the countryside with an array of colourful blooms . Trees and shrubs put on a floral spectacular of their own. It is not necessary to travel in to the heart of the countryside to gaze upon this spring time splendour, 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.
For many people, one of the most familiar flowering trees will be the ornamental cherries. The spring and Tibetan species are among the first to flower. However, it is the wild, native,cherry reaching a height of thirty meters, which takes pride of place for me. To see a mature specimen in a pasture or woodland ride in all its glory is truly a sight to behold. The flowers appear with or just before the leaves, usually in clusters of three to six. They are white and borne on long stalks.
Other familiar flowering "garden" trees such as the laburnum will put on a display before the month is out. The bright yellow pea like flowers will cascade in pendulous sprays. These are then followed 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 and are copious in autumn, they are round, small and black when ripe.
April is the month that allows most of our trees to be clothed again in there 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 tree, to prevent damage, to the new growth.
The flowers of the horse chestnut appear in late April or early May and are often referred to as candles. They are usually white flowers many individual ones forming a spike . They consist of four or five petals which have delicate shades of yellow or pink at their bases. The stamens protruding from the centre are red tipped adding to the alchemy of colour. When the tree is in full bloom the horse chestnut tree is a majestic sight and few 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 As the common name suggests the flowers of this species are of a pinkish red. They are smaller in every respect than the flowers of the white species, nevertheless, the tree produces a stunning display.
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