Crack Willow is a large willow tree found along riverbanks, around lakes and in wet woodland. It is often planted alongside rivers and dykes to stabilise their banks. Often pollarded with a gnarled, cracked trunk. It has long, dark green leaves which are glossier than those of the White Willow, and have more jagged teeth along the edges.
Trees and shrubs are an important part of any eco-system, they provide shelter, homes, food and oxygen for all the other creatures living in that habitat, including us!
There are around 33 species of tree native to the UK – these are trees that have been here since the ice age, including common oak, hawthorn and silver birch. Many of these species can be found here at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.
There are also a number of trees which have been introduced for their unique properties, such as sweet chestnut. These are known as ‘naturalised’ and are now a part of the great abundance of tree species found in the UK.
Elder can be recognised by its strong-smelling, compound leaves (each leaf is divided into five to seven leaflets), the white umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of flowers in the spring and summer, and the glossy black-purple berries during the autumn.
Rowan is a small tree found on mountains, heathland and in woodland edges, and is frequently planted in towns and gardens. It is slender tree with creamy-white spring flowers and clusters of bright red autumn berries - a favourite food of birds such as visiting Waxwings, Redwings and other thrushes.
Spindle is most striking in the autumn when its narrow, oval leaves turn reddish-orange and clusters of bright pink and orange berries hang from its twigs. These berries provide food for all kinds of creatures, including mice, birds and even Foxes, but are poisonous for us. Spindle is a small tree, widespread in woodland edges and hedgerows.