2015 tree following 6: My lady green leaves
July 7, 2015 by squirrelbasket
Fresh leaves on the empress tree, Paulownia tomentosa, in Bute Park, Cardiff, on July 2, 2015
Last month, as the purple flowers were falling and the leaves were just opening, the empress tree I am following in Bute Park, Cardiff, looked a mess – and I feared she would look terrible all summer. But bless her, she now looks splendid all clad in fresh greenery.
You may recall I am following this Paulownia tomentosa, also known as the foxglove tree, princess tree or empress tree, as part of the excellent Loose and Leafy tree-following project.
My latest visit to Bute Park was early on July 2. The day started overcast but the sun broke through as I approached the arboretum. Lucky!
Approaching the empress tree
Leaves, with a few of last year’s seed capsules hanging on and the new capsules developing
Under the tree was fading cow parsley
Cow parsley seed heads
Attractive purple on a cow parsley leaf
Buttercups also flowered under the tree
I can’t quite recognise these red berries but I wouldn’t eat them – a nightshade, maybe?
The leaves of the empress tree seem to have a rounder shape before they mature
I think the rather large leaves remind me of the cucumber family – Cucurbitaceae – which also includes melons and pumpkins.
The leaves were big and healthy-looking
I can’t get enough of these leaves…
The capsules are certainly growing where once there were purple flowers
Green leaves, dark trunk
The pale broken branch I always notice is still dangling
There is a lot of trunk before you reach the leafy branches
I hadn’t noticed that before…
That knot and that little hole…
Yes, that little hole…
After digging around on the internet I think it may be a woodpecker nest hole. I would like to think it belongs to the yaffle – the laughing green woodpecker I often hear in this neck of the woods.
Beautiful picture of a green woodpecker Picus viridis with its nest hole – at the RSPB wildlife site in Arne, Dorset – click on the image to go to the source
But the nest hole may belong to a smaller Dendrocopos major, like the great spotted woodpeckers we have in our own garden. Either way, I hadn’t noticed it before. I suspect it’s another sign that the empress tree is becoming old and soft. Not in her green youth any more, despite the appearance of the fresh green leaves every year.
Goodbye empress, until next month…
More Paulownia posts are here
Last year’s hornbeam is here
Loose and Leafy’s other tree followers are here