Along the riverbank in April
April 29, 2016 by squirrelbasket
Horse chestnut beside the river Taff
In the centre of Cardiff we are blessed with long paths alongside the River Taff and I walk along one of them at least once a week. I have been watching the trees as they have gradually come into leaf and have managed to make quite a few basic identifications.
This bank of the river is wilder than the far side, on the right, where you find Bute Park
Most of the trees along this side of the river are more of less native to Britain, while looking across to the Bute Park arboretum you see tree treasures from all over the world gathered together.
Here are some of the “wild” trees I have spotted in April – I won’t call it spring as it’s still very cold here, sunny sometimes but with northerly winds, very unusual for these parts.
The horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) are way ahead of all the other trees
The flowers are already well out
Coming along behind the chestnuts are the maples – the British sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) seem to be first but there are other Acers here that I can’t quite pin down.
Something like sycamore leaves
Something like sycamore flowers
This also looks like a sycamore…
…but the leaves are a bit later than the other sycamores
This always looks like two trees canoodling
I think this may be an Acer of some sort
The leaf buds aren’t open yet
There are many willows (Salix) beside the river but I am not sure what species they are.
Female willow catkins – possibly crack willow (Salix fragilis or Salix euxina)?
More developed female willow catkins a week later?
Leaves and willow catkins on April 21
Maybe male catkins of goat willow (Salix capra)?
One sort of tree that has intrigued me all winter is this – which has silvery bark and lots of thin parallel shoots sprouting upwards from bigger branches.
I think it may be a sort of poplar (Populus)
It has many vertical stems and the silvery bark has diamond-shaped lenticels, which suggest it might be white poplar or abele (Populus alba)
The leaves are roughly diamond shaped and silver-backed
Then there are trees which still haven’t realised it’s spring…
This is an alder (Alnus glutinosa) – no signs of leaves yet
This is the coarse alder bark
You can tell it’s an alder from last year’s cones
The same with this ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) – no leaves yet but last year’s seed keys hang on
I think this is a hazel sapling (Corylus avellana)
These white flowers were a pleasant surprise…
…cherry (Prunus) I think
There are quite a few swans on this city centre stretch of the river at the moment – maybe as many as six
This oak bush (Quercus robur) beside the path helped me identify the tree I am following this year in Thompson’s Park (see my Tree Following posts)
Soft green oak leaves
Can you see the neat hole in the top right oak marble? That’s where the Andricus kollari gall wasp let itself out
Over the red bridge is Bute Park – on the right is the big old hybrid wingnut tree (Pterocarya × rehderiana) and on the left a pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens)
Just 100 yards away is the city centre
Looking back up the river, the path I followed is on the left and Bute Park on the right
I’m sure we’ll pass this way again as the year goes on…