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  1. Hm – as an American, I had to look up whether the trees that are called sycamores in Europe are the same ones that are called sycamores in America. (They’re not; ours are in a different genus.) You make a good point, though, that not all non-native species are necessarily invasive. Some can become a naturalized part of the landscape.

  2. It was remiss of me to omit the Latin name (Acer pseudoplatanus) of the English Sycamore from this post, interestingly the name Sycamore is a reference to a biblical tree in the Ficus genus, a sub-tropical tree that is not able to grow in northern Europe or I guess in America but must bear a resemblance to our stand-ins. What tree do you refer to as the Sycamore?

    1. In America “sycamore” refers to trees in the genus Platanus. The one I’m most familiar with is Platanus occidentalis, a really beautiful tree with multi-colored mottled bark that tends to grow along streams.

  3. I think your Sycamore is one of the parents of the classic street tree, London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia) funny how those maples and planes get all mixed up! In Scotland our Sycamore (maple) is called the Plane just to confuse things even further…

  4. wow… great post! And what a surprise to see this just as we finished posting our own observations on the Rowan tree 🙂 Thanks for visiting our blog so that we could find yours… This is a beautiful blog and we’ll be adding it onto our links in just a moment.

  5. Great post! We saw several Strawberry Trees while we were in southern France…. tried eating one of the fruits but they are quite mealy. I’d love to try making some strawberry tree jam though!

    1. Apparently Strawberry tree jam is not bad and something I’d like to try too. In Portugal they make a fearsome eau-de-vie/grappa type drink from the berries called Medronho – I’m less keen on this!

  6. Thanks for the comments – I recently discovered this Thomas Hardy poem:

    The Levelled Churchyard
    “O passenger, pray list and catch
    Our sighs and piteous groans,
    Half stifled in this jumbled patch
    Of wrenched memorial stones!

    “We late-lamented, resting here,
    Are mixed to human jam,
    And each to each exclaims in fear,
    ‘I know not which I am!'”

    Courtesy of Liberal England

    1. Thanks Rob. I hope so too. This tree deserves to be much more widely known – it’s fascinating and has fascinated me for years!

  7. Ha! Your Bloomsbury photo is typical of how I usually see ToH growing. I like the words tenacious, ruthless, and alluring to describe this determined tree. The picture from Baltimore is incredible – bricked in like some crazy anchorite and still growing!

  8. What a magnificent old beast. It’s rare to see any tree so old in Pennsylvania. The best I can manage are 300 year old sycamores. I also hope more people come to appreciate this yew. I enjoyed a lesson in Welsh too. I’m sharing this post with a couple of landscaping/horticulturist friends. We’ll put it on our “to see list” for “one of those days.”

  9. Thanks for posting these lovely pictures. I love seeing trees whose value is so great to their community that it’s supported by props. Sadly, I’d be surprised if there’s a single tree in Australia treated this way.

  10. What a lovely old tree. So pleased that Moorhens are nesting nearby. Do you think it’s large low branches provide cover for grass snakes?

    1. From Plants For A Future: “The fruit itself tastes like a sharp lemon… What makes this fruit rather special is that it is quite possibly the most nutritious fruit that can be grown outdoors in Britain. It is very rich in vitamins (especially C) and minerals and also contains essential fatty acids.” And that’s just for starters!

      1. Interesting. I’ve extracted the juice from sea buckthorn and mixed it 1:3 with clear honey to make a tangy salad dressing, so will look out for this one.
        A nitrogen fixer too, I see.

  11. That is an awesome pic of the Tree of Heaven in brick. Such a common tree as to almost never be noticed, but what power a stunning photograph can give!

  12. I will be visiting this church. When I come over from Australia As my3/great grand paents were married there in 1846. Great site. Thanks

  13. Have just visited Wyndham Oak myself and found your blog whilst looking to see what else I could find out about it. I took a couple photos inside and out which are on my blog if you’re interested.

  14. There is no globe street in southwark on the map, nor does it show off great dover street. Where do you mean – I want to see these trees?

  15. Hi, I can’t believe my luck finding your blog!

    I am helping with a project to identify notable trees, orchards or woodlands within the vicinity of each of the London tube and overground stations for a new tree app. Do you mind if we use some of your information for a spreadsheet to help us? Also, if you have any other info regarding notable trees, would you be willing to share it?

    Thanks, Rachel.

    1. Hi Rachel

      Glad that my blog is of interest, feel free to use the info as a starting point in your virtual travels. Obviously copying any of the content would not be credited… Other sites that you should look at are the London Wildlife Trust and GIGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London) who have just launched the iGIGL mapping website showing you all the open spaces in London in great detail.

  16. My great great great grandfather (James Bryant) was a gardener for Mr Molesworth, who immigrated to New Zealand in 1840. When he was established he sent back the cabbage trees to his native cornwall.

  17. love the pics of this tree on here i have one growing in my front garden and was wondering what it was i live in the south of england and it must be about 18foot tall now

  18. My grandad lived in 20 orchard st in 1828 anyone got info on this place or residents I live in australia now and trying to family tree thanks jimfleming1

  19. I have a wild service tree in my garden in Gloucester (city). Imported over 20 years ago when 2′ high from a nursery in deepest Sussex (Harting area).

  20. I have toh growing throughout my yard and up the side of my house. Let me know if you want a picture and a place to attach it.

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  22. Thanks. Very interesting. I feel quite lucky now to be able cycle by a Street Beech every day as they are such rare sights. Would be great to see more of them.

  23. This is such great news! Roots for the Future is a recently set up community interest company working with communities to plant trees. Trees have so many benefits from carbon sequestering, to flood mitigation to beautifying an area. We have read that they also cut crime and this case study in King’s Cross is further evidence of their ability to do so. Congratulations!

  24. What a fabulous story! Congratulations to all involved. The trees in flower are magnificent – and already so tall. And imagine olives and bay trees in London – the warming climate will make them feel right at home! I know that it took vigilance at the outset to prune and replace damaged trees, and that this eventually dissuaded people from breaking branches. How wonderful to read about a project that has combined vision, determination, community and council cooperation, and lots of loving care over years. Well done John and friends for your part in transforming a suburb!

  25. Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting. Unfortunately I see that there is Islington data missing – some trees not on the map. Also, Islington does not have the latin names – just putting ‘alder’ for example, when the trees are not native Alnus glutinosa, but non-native Alnus cordata. Islington needs to improve its data & plant native species that will provide habitat for insects & birds. Planes are nice, stately trees, & they are better than bare streets, but what lives on them? Nothing like the huge variety of species that an oak supports.

    1. Great points about planting more native street trees as these are better for biodiversity, supporting more non-human Londoners. In terms of Islington’s data, they provided exactly what was asked of them by the GLA (see the explanation here), so I don’t think they are to be blamed for, what I agree, is rather shonky data. Your example of Alder is a good example, but also look at ‘Whitebeam’ which on the map includes all the Sorbus species including Rowan which is such a common tree in it’s own right and is not easy to confuse with Whitebeam.

  26. oops! A minor point – I note that the City of London put the Latin binomials with species then genus! Anyway it is still very encouraging that this has been done, & let us hope that there are more trees planted this year, & a greater variety.

  27. Off the top of my head theyve missed out the Medlar trees on Medlar street… Also the orange trees on East street in Walworth. No sign of the Mulberry’s or Walnuts either. Crap Map needs work.
    On the bright side, I pre ordered your book and im really looking forward to reading it.

  28. I have subsequently discovered that the pair of trees on the Haringey watershed are in fact Raulí Beech, or Lophozonia alpina. They have previously been classified as Nothofagus alpina and Nothofagus procera, so I can claim a few brownie points for nearly getting that ID right. The Lysander Road tree is indeed a Chinese Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia).

  29. I just got this book. Excellent! I’m putting more trees into my road and this is the prefect guide (to a total novice).

  30. Your reasoning is flawed. Trying to replace the native ash with non native norway maples does nothing but pose a serious threat to the bio diversity of our forests. Norway maples have been in north america for over 300 years and still support about two types of wildlife. Contrast that with our native white or red oaks which support over 500 species. This is a NA perspective but it could very well be the same in the UK.

    1. My point is that the Norway Maple, while not native to the British Isles, is from the very near continent (native to Belgium, separated by just 50 miles of sea) and provides habitat and a food source to many species that are native here. I take your point that in North America, Norway Maple comes from entirely different continent and will offer very little biodiversity support in your native ecosystem. I think we need to be a bit more expansive in our thinking about borders however, nature does not recognise political borders defined by one species (us)!

  31. My aunt wishes to have her ashes spread under a hibiscus tree in the city of London. Can anyone advise of a suitable location ?
    Many thanks

  32. What a great book! Tried to subscribe to the blog but it keeps telling me it’s an invalid email (even though I have a wordpress account and my email is valid!)

    1. Thanks Leticia! I don’t know why WordPress says your email address is invalid, but I hope you will receive notifications of future posts.

  33. There’s a tree in Great Percy Street WC1, the side with even nos. Walking down the hill it’s before the circus and currently (late Dec. 2017) full of big, apple-like fruit, much of which has fallen. It looks nothing like an eating apple tree, what is it please.

    1. Hi Andri, I think it’s a Sand Pear… There are a few dotted about Islington. They have big apple like fruits but are actually an Asian Pear, sometimes seen in supermarkets labeled as ‘Nashi Pear’.

  34. Hello, I have a favourite woodland near me (Kent) that is full of wild service. I am surprised that there is so many fruits this year- never seen so many. Perhaps it has benefitted from the heatwave? I’m going to make some sort of booze with them – will let you know how I get on! I have put some pictures on my Instagram page @dugfired Great blog!

    1. Thank you Claire, I very much look forward to hearing how your wild service booze turns out! My potted tree in London flowered and fruited for the first time this year!

  35. What a delightful post, Paul. You have introduced me to the notion of using these elusive berries in alcoholic drinks. In previous years, I’d only seen a few stray service berries in my local woods but this year there has been an abundance. I see that Patrick Roper in his little booklet mentions their use in ratafia, a term I’d not encountered before. This led me on to further online searches and the potential for using these berries in various spirits. Intriguingly, Richard Mabey seems to indicate that they go well with whisky. I’ve made a wild service berry whisky ratafia and a wild service berry vodka ratafia. I had a guess in terms of quantities but on first sampling the whisky ratafia tastes like a smokey cherry brandy. It is awesome! In my initial enthusiasm, I’m wondering why on earth there is so much talk of sloe gin when whisky ratafia is such a marvelous drink!

  36. Hey, if you visit the online Street Tree Register of Hamburg, you can see every Street Tree in the Free and Hanseatic City! Also it is possible to set a filter and for Example it is easy to find all the old Trees which stand more than 100 years at the Streets! It is only in German but a verny nice application for the Tree interested citizens in Hamburg.

    If you visit Hamburg in future, let me now! Then we can do a Street Tree walk togehter.

    1. You can eat the fruits of Prunus cerasifera – they are starting to ripen now (July). Apparently they make fine plum sauce!

  37. Paul – this is an excellent item about the remarkable work done by Ada Salter and others in Bermondsey. Well done. For additional information on the trees aspect, your readers might want to consult my book ‘Street Trees in Britain: A History’ that has a substantial section on this. They may also be interested to know that a film entitled ‘Remembering Ada Salter’ is being made about her overall life and work. See:
    Best wishes, Mark Johnston

    1. Thanks for your comment Mark, I wasn’t aware of the film being made of Ada’s life – this will no doubt engender even more interest in her pioneering work. And apologies for omitting ‘Street Trees in Britain: A History’ from the further reading, I will correct that. It is an important work for anyone with an interest in street trees, as is Marks previous book, ‘Trees in Towns and Cities: A History of British Urban Arboriculture’. Both books have been invaluable to my own research into the history of urban trees in London.

  38. What trees do you recommend for a street in Tooting? Criteria I’ve come up with so far: not too big or invasive, pollution resistant, attractive bark and foliage, acceptable to the Council

    1. Hi Rowena, there’s so many to choose from! Wild Service, Hornbeam and Field Maple would be good native choices, Clerodendron, Tetradium and Gymnocladus would be very interesting, more unusual species!

  39. Really appreciate finding this web site, extremely useful, thank you. Look forward to reading your book.

  40. Great post, by the way. Although the elephant story has been disputed in local Ealing History groups, as there is no evidence of it being true.

    1. According to the Ealing Civic Society the elephant story was made up by an estate agent in the 1980s. Which seems equally far-fetched, and it doesn’t account for the large animal bone discovered in a nearby garden!

  41. Visited here yesterday and loved it!
    I am curious to know why you left out the other notable feature about the gardens – the Beatles featured in a photo shoot in and around the church and grounds – and a bench with an engraved plaque. For Beatles fans, like my husband, this little nugget of memorabilia is an awesome find!

  42. Very much enjoyed this post, thanks. I have bought your walks book and already had gre

  43. My lockdown 1.0 was spent admiring my local trees – nothing special, but the ones in my street are quite new: inspired by your book, we petitioned the local Council and got 14 new trees.

    In lockdown 2.0 these new trees are looking good: settling in, growing nicely and we no longer live in a very hard urban looking street, but a leafy one. Thx.

  44. I live now in a carehome in Mile End, in lockdown. The great joy in my life is that my window looks across Eric Street at an unfamilar cherry tree, and l would love to know its species.
    There are several very small dark cherries still in the branches, even after the lanceolate leaves have nearly all fallen. My daughter managed to bring me some fallen twigs yesterday, with the cherries still on them: there was a very thin layer of flesh around the stone, but with a distinct cherry taste!
    Can anybody give me any idea of the variety of street cherry tree this is? I fear l may not live until next spring, to see it in flower ☹️


    1. I’m afraid I have no idea, all the cherries I can think of will have lost their fruit by now, so I wonder if someone else reading this might have any ideas.

  45. I live in Brighton and Hove and look after the National Elm Collection. From 1994 to 1999 I did a huge survey of trees in the Greater London area for the Tree Register which was followed up by Owen Johnson (the Tree Registrar) which in turn pioneered the beginning of the Green Plaques in London for notable trees. It is very satisfying to see so much interest in trees nowadays whatever the cause for the interest. Trees are an important factor in our lives and for the five years that I travelled around the GL County I will never forget the profound effect that many of the trees had on their local environment or the views that accompanied them. Keep up the good work

  46. What a wonderful piece. I knew a lot about Ada, but I particularly enjoyed learning about the actual species of trees she planted. I did not know where she and her husband were interred. I am a few minutes walk away and shall go and look at this fabulous tree. I am a lover of trees and I have complained several times about this council cutting down so many trees recently. Dreadful. I always think of Ada’s legacy when out and about. I will definitely want to read your and Mark’s books. Thank you so much. Maria

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