Ayr

Botanic Gardens

Our March outing was to the Botanic Gardens and Arboretum, Glasgow.

Many of the trees are labelled, which helps quite a bit with identification. Some native and other common trees also have notices with an extended narrative, from which the following information was gleaned:

Goshawks, sparrowhawks, crossbills and siskin like to nest in the upper branches of sitka spruce.

The Scottish or Arran whitebeam is the rarest of the Scottish native trees.

The hemlock tree is named after the poisonous herb, as it is said to smell like it, but the tree is harmless.

The hornbeam has the hardest wood of any tree in Europe. Its wood was used for the yokes for ploughing oxen and is still used for the hammers of piano keys.

Previously known only from fossils up to 5 million years old, and believed to be extinct, the dawn redwood was discovered growing in a remote area of China in 1941. It has since been planted in parks and botanic gardens across the world and has generally thrived as it has outlived most of its natural enemies.

Laboratory tests have shown that ash has greater hardness (impact strength) than any other native hardwood. This has been known for a long time; the Anglo-Saxons and others used ash to make spears and shield handles.

Under good conditions, hawthorn trees can live for up to 300 years, unusual for such a small tree.

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