Species Of The Week Number 4: Whitebeam

If you take the path to the bridge from Rolette Cafe at the moment you will find various trees all resplendent in red Autumn berries, including both Rowan and Hawthorn. However the first tree at the top of the path (after the dead one which sticks up like a skeleton) is a Whitebeam.

It has large shiny green leaves which have a serrated edge, the underside of the leaf is much paler. Whitebeam is hermaphrodite, meaning each flower contains both male and female reproductive parts. The five-petalled flowers will appear in clusters in May, to be pollinated by insects.

I don't know if its the only Whitebeam in the valley, maybe it is? It has almost certainly been planted intentionally, as Whitebeam is only native in Southern England, not in the North.

If you are passing by in the next few months keep an eye out for flocks of winter thrushes feeding on the berries. Redwings and Fieldfares in particular are arriving in the UK in large numbers at the moment (some of our few winter migrants) and have been spotted flying over Leeds this week.

I have always been intrigued by the land to the West of our Whitebeam - on old maps it is marked as 'Paper Mill', it would be great to find out more. That land is also being considered for a future flood mitigation scheme by the Council, essentially allowing it to flood in order to protect properties downstream. If it happens there could be wildlife benefits with a series of ponds created.

Posted by clunym clunym, October 20, 2022 09:59 AM

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