I’ve chosen to talk about the Sycamore as many of us are taking the opportunity to explore our countryside and you will notice that this strong and resilient tree is everywhere. It can reach 20 meter high and live for 60-100yrs and because many native trees were lost during the occupation the sycamore has taken over many woodland areas.
The sycamore tree has become a very familiar part of our countryside, you can easily recognise it by its hand shaped leaves which have 5 lobes. Children love the winged seeds that we call helicopters and I have fond childhood memories of picking them up and watching them spin to the ground.
Many trees were cut down during the occupation as fuel was rationed and exhausted completely by 1944. No trees were spared, cutting down trees and sawing them into logs provided much needed employment and it is recorded that over 200,000 trees were felled for fuel.
The sycamore has the ability to reproduce and colonise any habitat. Its resilience to spread through seedlings and suckers means it has naturalised very successfully here and has taken over many woodland areas. Although it is a beautiful tree in its own right, its value to wildlife is less successful. In Jersey it’s thought to have quite a low wildlife value supporting around 15 different species of insect, compared to nearly 300 different species of insects you might find in our common oak tree.
Images Courtesy of Woodland Trust