These pages are designed to assist the beginner in the identification of the main types of trees found on Biston Hill.
What is a Tree?
The dictionary describes a tree as a tall woody perennial (present all year around) plant having a single long and erect main stem, generally with few or no branches on its lower part. This is a good description of a tree in its natural state; however if trees are coppiced (stems pruned to the base on a regular rotation to promote regrowth) they can take on a very diferent shape.
The Broadleaf section deals with trees with wide flat leaves, the Coniferous section contains those tree types which have needle shaped leaves, and the Understory section deals with small trees or common shrubs/bushes which are found growing under the canopy, in clearings throughout our woodland,or out on the heathland.
It is interesting to see in the “History of Rhododendrons on Bidston Hill“, which tree species were planted, as the Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) have almost completely died out, all except for 4 specimens in Park Wood.
No larch (Larix decidua) have survived, but there is a large mature Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster) in Park Wood.
The ‘Scotch Firs’ are almost certainly the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and the Austrian pines are probably Corsican Pines (Pinus nigra var. corsica).
Silver birch (Betula pendula), beech (Fagus sylvatica), oak (Quercus robur), pine (Pinus sylvestris), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) are the main tree species in Park Wood now with holly, laurel and rhododendron planted below.
When identifying trees it is important to look at the leaf shape, texture, and colour. lt is also useful to look at the bark colour and texture, and flower and seed type or shape.
Glossary of Terms
The woody parts of a tree can be split into 4 groups: l) Branches 2) Twigs 3) Trunk 4) Roots.
Leaves can be split into three groups:
1) Broad leaf 2) Compound leaf 3) Needles
Leaf or leaflet (individual parts of a compound leaf) edges can be described in a number of ways. You can have a combination of more than one edge type on each leaf:
1) Lobed 2) Toothed 3) Smooth 4) Hairy
Nuts, Seeds and Berries
Most trees produce a seed of some kind. The seeds contain everything that is required to begin the life of a new tree. Seeds are dispersed in different ways; some have wings and are spread by wind, some have cases or cups and are spread by animals, birds or gravity, and some are covered by a berry or fruit and are spread mainly by birds. On these pages, the seeds will be illustrated alongside the tree descriptions.