Salix caprea (Goat Willow)
Other Names: Pussy Willow, Great Sallow
Description: This tree or more usually a shrub is a deciduous, broadleaf species often found in damp area but is also found in dry locations more than any other willow. The bark is grey brown and develops diamond shaped fissures with age. Twigs are hairy at first but become smooth and can appear yellow brown in the sunlight. Unlike other willows the leaves are oval in shape. The flowers which appear in early spring and are called catkins, are yellow white in colour. Once pollinated the seeds become “Fairies” and are dispersed in vast quantities by the wind.
Uses: Goat Willow timber is soft and yellow. Unlike nearly all other willows, its twigs are brittle and are not used for weaving. They make decent fire wood and have been used for making charcoal. Traditionally willows have been used to relieve pain from headaches and toothaches and the drug aspirin is derived from salicin which is found in the bark of all willows.
Conservation Value: The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of a number of moths and butterflies which I turn provide a food source for many species of bird. The flowers are an early source of nectar for bees.
Preferred Locations: This species prefers moist to semi moist locations on clay, sand and loam soils and thrives in full sun.
Size: Max 10m but often less, especially when coppiced and has a canopy spread of between 1.5 and 2.5m
Time to reach full height: 10 to 20 years
Lifespan: Up to 300 years
Tilia cordata (Small Leaved Lime)
Other Names: Little Leaf, Little Leaf Linden, Small Leaved Linden, The Pry
Description: A medium sized locally common species broadleaved deciduous species often found in mixed woodland, limestone cliffs, hedgerows and occasionally as coppice. Its bark is grey brown and smooth and develops flaky plates with age. The twigs are brownish red in the shade but become shiny in the sunlight. The flowers are green yellow and appear in clusters. Once pollinated, the fruits are round to oval with a pointed end. The tree always grows suckers around its base reaching high up the trunk.
Uses: Lime wood is soft and light with a white yellow colour and if finely textured. Its is easily worked and so used extensively for wood turning and furniture making. Lime bark was once used for rope making. The wood is used today to make sounding boards and piano keys as it does not warp. During the second world war when tea leaves were hard to come by, lime flowers were used as a popular substitute.
Conservation Value: Lime leaves are eaten by many species of moth including the Lime Hawk, Peppered and Vapourer. Due to the sweet say the tree produces in abundance it is very attractive aphids which then supply food source for predator species such as Ladybirds, Hoverflies and many bird species.
Preferred Locations: Found on chalk, clay and sand soils and can cope with occasional waterlogging. Prefers full or partial shade locations.
Size: Around 20 to 25m with a canopy spread of at least 8m when mature.
Time to reach full height: 20 to 50 years.
Lifespan: Can be very long lived with some species exceeding 700 years. This can be even longer when the tree is coppiced.