Tree photo: © David Hawkins
Our Tree of the Month series is an opportunity for the whole family to explore, find and learn about different types of tree in Richmond Park through free information sheets, written and illustrated for younger readers (but interesting for adults too).
Read the Tree of the Month useful facts sheet, with lots of information about trees:
MARCH – the water-loving Alder
- Alder facts sheet
Alder trees love water and like to live in damp places particularly along riverbanks and around ponds. It is a relatively small tree and there are several different types. The alder is a member of the birch family.
APRIL – the mysterious Yew
- Yew facts sheet
The evergreen yew is one of the longest-lived native species in Europe. Yews are often found in and around churchyards but were probably there before the churches were built.
MAY – the majestic Horse Chestnut
- Horse Chestnut facts sheet
A horse chestnut grows in a tall dome up to 35m tall. The bark is smooth and pinky-grey when young, which darkens and develops scaly plates with age
JUNE – the beautiful Sweet Chestnut
- Sweet Chestnut facts sheet
This beautiful and majestic tree is not a native. It was imported from southern Europe, western Asia and North Africa, but looks perfectly at home in British parkland. The presence of a chestnut tree is often the result of human activity rather than an act of nature.
JULY – English Oak, the king of trees
- English Oak facts sheet
English Oak trees can live for many hundreds of years and they hold a special place in our culture and history. Richmond Park is one of the best places to see ancient and veteran oaks, including one that has become known as The Royal Oak – a drawing of this is our emblem for 2020 The Year of the Tree.
AUGUST – Beech, the queen of trees
- Beech facts sheet
If the oak is the king of our Great British trees, then the beech tree, often linked to femininity, is the queen. The beech is a sturdy and imposing tree which can grow for 250 years and is one of Britain’s commonest trees. It is native to large parts of southern England. In Richmond Park about a fifth of all the trees are beech and have been planted extensively to provide food for the deer.
SEPTEMBER – the funny little Hawthorn
- Hawthorn facts sheet
Hawthorn is a funny little tree, only 5-15m tall when mature, with branches that twist and turn and trunks that can divide into several twisty, gnarly parts. Often planted along boundaries as hedging, hawthorn is a feature of the English countryside. The tree grows slowly but can live for up to 400 years. Hawthorns are also known as quickthorn, thornapple, May-tree and whitethorn.
OCTOBER – The Maple
- Maple facts sheet
Maples belong to the Acer family, which contains more than 128 species, including Sycamore, making it a very diverse and fascinating family of trees. Field maples have been here since before the last ice age – therefore officially making them a native species. Maple wood is hard and very strong. Field Maple has dense timber with a lovely creamy colour. It was often used for carving, making furniture and musical instruments.
NOVEMBER – The Scots Pine
- Scots Pine facts sheet
There are over 100 species of pine in the world but only the Scots pine is native to Britain and even this tree is not native in England. Scots pine can grow up to 35m tall and live for up to 700 years. Younger trees have a conical top but this flattens out with age. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to identify, since mature trees can be tall and straight with a few branches at the side, or quite short and broad, spreading outwards, often with more than one trunk.
DECEMBER – Holly tree
- Holly tree facts sheet
Holly is a native British tree, common in southern England. It is quite easy to recognise with its spiky evergreen leaves and red berries in Winter. It often grows in hedgerows and underneath oak and beech trees in woods. Holly is a dioecious tree that is either male or female. Other dioecious trees include willow, poplar and yew. Holly was important in deer parks and old hunting estates as it was useful as winter food for wildlife and domestic cattle. more here.