Thursday, 19 June 2008

Life Photo Meme - Ancient

The most ancient living thing I could think of around here was the Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris. I am lucky enough to have four very old specimens in my garden, and this is the biggest and grandest of them:

Scots Pine, despite their name, are the most widely distributed conifer in the world, according to Trees For Life. Nevertheless, we do feel a special bond with them here in Scotland. Much of the North of Scotland was once covered in forest it is believed - an almost mythical forest known as The Great Caledonian Forest. There are only a few 'islands' of ancient woodland left in a sea of commercial forestry, but conservation work is being done to try to redress the balance.

The ancient forests had several hardy tree species in them - birch, pine and rowan - but the grandest, largest and most striking were and are the Scots pines. Each one is different - a unique individual. Eleven different growth forms have been identified, from tall and straight to spreading and multiple-trunked and this must help explain the great variety in their appearance. One of the pines in my garden was struck by lightning a few years ago and lost its growing tip. Now a few years later, it is bravely sending out a new leader skewed off to the side. Another one is tall and straight, but with many dead branches, and is a rather scruffy looking individual. The one in the photo above is the grandest - standing in the centre of the lawn and dominating (and dwarfing) everything around. I measured its girth at 8ft and 9 inches this morning, which makes it an extremely old specimen - 300 years or more.


Dorid said...

wow... Trees always amaze me, and I've been caught today doing what I didn't want to... being narrow in my view. I have some really lovely photos of Sequoia and Redwood, and didn't even think of it!

This is exactly why I started this meme... diversity!

Wonderful post!

Puddock said...

Thanks Dorid!

I am so glad you set the (optional) task of finding something ancient as it got me out there measuring that big old tree today. It's something I've meant to do for years but never got around to - until today...thanks!

Eric Heupel said...

Gotta love a tree in you own backyard that is so old. I love that the meme is what prompted the measuring of it!!

Selma said...

What a magnificent tree. You are fortunate indeed to have it in your garden. Imagine the things it must have seen!