— Downy Birch
A deciduous broadleaf tree native to the UK and northern Europe and northern Asia.
Downy birch is found on damper soils than silver birch, and can even tolerate waterlogged or peaty conditions. Its range is more northerly and western than silver birch, and it can grow at higher elevations. Mature trees can grow up to 30 meters tall forming a light canopy with elegant dropping branches.
Birch woods (which may include downy or silver birch, or both) have a light, open canopy, providing the perfect conditions for grasses, mosses, wood anemone, bluebells, wood sorrel and violets to grow.
Downy birch provides food and habitat for more than 300 insect species – the leaves attract aphids, providing food for ladybirds and other species further up the food chain, and are also a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths, including the angle-shades, buff tip, pebble hook-tip, and Kentish glory. Birch trees are particularly associated with specific fungi including fly agaric, woolly milk cap, birch milk cap, birch brittlegill, birch knight, chanterelle and the birch polypore (razor strop).
Woodpeckers and other hole-nesting birds often nest in the trunk, while the seeds are eaten by siskins, greenfinches and redpolls.
— Scots Pine
An evergreen conifer native to northern Europe, and is one of just three conifers native to the UK.
In 2014, a consultation to choose a national tree for Scotland found that the Scots pine was the clear favourite, with more than 52% of all responses opting for the tree. The decision has been widely seen as important recognition for the country’s trees and woodland which face increasing threats from climate change, pests and diseases.
The Caledonian Forest is a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is home to rare species such as the creeping lady’s tresses and lesser twayblade orchids, the Scottish wood ant and Rannoch looper, and the capercaillie, crested tit and Scottish crossbill. Mammals include the red squirrel, pine marten and Scottish wildcat.
— Sessile Oak
A deciduous broadleaf tree native to the UK and most of Europe.
The sessile oak is so-named because, unlike the English, or pedunculate oak, its acorns are not carried on stalks (peduncles) but directly on the outer twigs (sessile).
Whether sessile or pedunculate, oak trees support more wildlife than any other native trees. They provide a habitat for more than 280 species of insect, which provides food for birds and other predators. The bark also provides a habitat for mosses, lichens and liverworts, and deadwood cavities for nesting birds and roosting bats. The acorns are eaten by a number of birds and mammals including the jay, badger and red squirrel.
Flower and leaf buds of English oak and sessile oak are the foodplants of the caterpillars of purple hairstreak butterflies.
The soft leaves break down with ease in autumn and form a rich leaf mould beneath the tree, supporting beetles and numerous fungi, such as the oakbug milkcap.
A deciduous tree native in the UK and across Europe.
Also known as the May-tree due to its flowering period, it is the only British plant named after the month in which it blooms.
Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects and is the foodplant for caterpillars of many moths. Its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals. The dense thorny foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.