Top Ten Trees of the World: No. 7

At number 7 we have Liquidambar orientalis: the Oriental sweet gum – one of my favourite trees of all time!

Native to SW Asia, the name Liquidambar refers to its aromatic gum, previously described as ‘liquid amber’. Orientalis is Latin and means ‘from the East’ (Source: Davis Landscape Architects).

Deciduous, broad-leaved and often found in parks and arboretums in temperate zones (e.g. Kew Gardens, ANU Canberra), Liquidambar is famed for its show-stopping Autumnal display when its palm-shaped leaves turn from green to vibrant shades of orange, scarlet or purple.

Liquidambar produces beautiful round pollen grains covered with large pores – click here to see some photos.

The exterior ‘shell’ (exine) of this and other pollen grains are made of decay-resistant sporopollenin, enabling grains to be preserved for thousands of years in lake sediments, peat bogs and other depositional environments – providing a record of the types of vegetation that grew in the past.

 

 

 

Love trees? Support the UK National Tree Week (29 Nov to 7 Dec 2014)

Each year the Tree Council hosts National Tree Week with the aim of promoting the benefits of forests and inspiring people to help plant around a million trees at sites across the UK.

This year National Tree Week runs from 29 November to 7 December 2014.

So whether you fancy helping to plant to forests of the future or just want to know more about trees, click here to find out about the events and activities happening near you.

 

Top Ten Trees of the World: No. 8

Eighth on my list is Pinus Wallichiana: the Himalayan Pine.

A majestic tree growing up to 70 m tall with long, soft blue-green needles and large fresh green cones. It is native to the high mountains and temperate rainforests of China (Southern Tibet, Northwestern Yunnan), Afghanistan, Bhutan, Northern India, Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sikkim.

Pine pollen grains are very small, measuring approximately 100 microns in length (1 micron = 0.001 mm). We can see what they look like using a microscope. Pine pollen grains look a bit like Mickey Mouse to me – click here to see if you can work out why!

Click here for an image of Pine pollen taken using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), a very powerful type of microscope. The image colours have been enhanced to highlight the air sacs on the pollen grain shown in white and the main body of the grain coloured green.

Top ten trees of the world: No. 9

At number 9 is the Baobab (Adansonia).

Native to Madagascar, Africa and Australia, the Baobab (pronounced ‘Bay-O-Bab’) is capable of living for over 1000 years.

Having a distinctive shape characterised by wide, flat branches that look like roots and a water-storing trunk thickest near the base, the Baobab is the focus of myth and legend; it is said that a devil uprooted the tree and replanted it upside down. Pollinated by bats, at night the Baobab produces foot-long flowers in an impressive display of yellows and purples.

Click here to learn more about these unique trees and see footage of flowering Baobabs.

Curious to know which tree will be at No. 8 on the list? Keep following my blog to find out…