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U3A Botany Group - February 2019

by Peter Slater - 17:04 on 06 February 2019


Botany group meeting on 5th February 2019.

After our successful outing to Happy Valley in the summer, when we learnt the features of various tree species in leaf, we decided to hold a winter meeting and learn to identify ones without the leaves to help us. Rather than braving the winter weather (it was in fact rather nice that day!) we met inside at Peter’s house. We are really lucky to have Jenny Taylor, Orkney’s leading expert on trees, as a member of the group, and she brought numerous twigs from different species for us to learn about, as well as literature including a species by species key she had prepared for us.  Some points are easy enough: do the dead leaves stay attached (beech, and sometimes oak), are the buds opposite (sycamore, ash, horse chestnut) or do they alternate in position up the twig (most other species)? But others are more difficult and subtle, like the colour of the bark and the shape of the buds. We learnt a lot and are extremely grateful to Jenny for all her help. Fortunately we were not tested at the end of the afternoon, but repaired for tea and pancakes, with excellent chocolate cake kindly brought by Marguerite. During this we made some plans for trips we hope to make in the coming summer.



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