Hornbeam

I can’t draw a tree with twisting, carunculated bark without thinking of Arthur Rackham’s lively pen and watercolour drawings. No tree twists more than the hornbeam which always seems snakelike to me. This tree by the Lower Lake at Nostell is also dotted with pale lichens, echoing the cryptic colouring of a boa constrictor. I’m going […]

Artichoke Gall

These artichoke galls began to form earlier this summer when a female gall wasp Andricus fecundator laid a single egg in each of the terminal buds of this branch of a sessile oak. Artichoke galls are also known as larch-cone galls or hop galls. The larva develops protected by the overlapping scales. An adult female will […]

Car Park Lichens

Two species of lichens are thriving on the trunks of trees in the Asda supermarket car park in Dewsbury but nationally, as sulphur dioxide levels decrease, one of them appears to be gaining ground while the other is becoming rarer. The yellow lichen with the pale-rimmed orange apothecia (the fruiting bodies of the lichen) is Xanthoria […]