Notable Trees of Alloway

For the second month in a row we were blessed with perfect weather, albeit somewhat colder on this occasion.

Our route included the following trees:

(1) Italian alder, Cambusdoon. This has larger cones than the native alder. A few cones, catkins and characteristic heart-shaped leaves were still on the tree.

(2) The `Rabbie Burns Sycamore' Old Alloway Kirkyard. We are not sure why it has that name. It's a magnificent mature tree, but we estimated its age as 150-160 years, so it would only have been a twinkle in its mother's eye during the life of the poet.

(3) Yew in Burns' Memorial Gardens. Thanks to Sandy, we learned that it is an Irish Yew. Which naturally brings to mind the old joke: "Knock, knock - Who's there? - Irish Yew - Irish Yew who? - Irish Yew in the name of the law!

(4) The Doonfoot white poplars. The pale underside of the leaves can make these trees look almost white. No leaves at this time of year though, but the attractive diamond-scarred trunk is a memorable feature. The white poplar is a thirsty tree - according to Elspeth they are not well thought of in South Africa for this reason.

(5) Belleisle's only official "Champion Tree", an aspen last measured some years ago as 25m high, 40% above the usual maximum. It is likely to have grown further since last measured. Difficult to find without its leaves, but Moira's observational prowess once again came to our rescue, as she found a patch of them littering the ground. The flattened petioles (leaf stalks) facilitate the renowned trembling of the leaves in even the faintest breeze.

(6) The Rozelle cedars. We estimate these to be over 200 years old, our oldest find of the day.

(7) Cut leaf or fern leaf beech, an unusual non-native beech. We spotted it on our last visit and have now identified it.

(8) Pair of cobnut trees. From the nuts and surrounding husks that were on the ground, we concluded these were cobnuts, not the similar filbert. Both of these are varieties of hazelnut cultivated for their edible crop.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.