Peachysteve's picture

Common Whitebeam

Observed: 16th February 2013 By: PeachystevePeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in Plants
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Description:

Spotted this in ancient woodland. Mostly oak and silver birch with a few beech. I spend a lot of time looking at tree bark and can identify the trees common to this area from the bark. This stood out as completely different to anything I've seen locally. A tall slender tree, still holding many leaves. Distinctive marking on bark.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) interacts

Comments

Peachysteve's picture

Whitebeam

I did wonder about whitebeam. The buds looked that way and it is found locally but the whitebeam I'm familiar with have very lobed leaves..

James Borrell's picture

I'm not hugely familiar with

I'm not hugely familiar with whitebeam, but there does seem to be quite a few subspecies and hybrids, so it could be an unusual phenotype. Hopefully someone will come along with more of an idea :)

James Borrell

Conservation Biologist
www.jamesborrell.co.uk

Rachy Ramone's picture

Whitebeam with lobed leaves...

... also very common around here (Oxfordshire) are Swedish Whitebeam, Sorbus intermedia.

In winter, the two features for IDing Whitebeam are firstly that the backs of the leaves are very white (unless they are on sodden ground), and secondly the buds, which have distinctly hairy scale edges.

Not the whole bud (as in Rowan) but just the scale edges.

It's hard to differentiate with only the buds, but if you can check the leaf litter for leaves - or indeed if there are any still on the tree, as you have here - then you can be fairly confident as to it being Common or Swedish.

Although as James says, hybridisation is always an issue!

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

Peachysteve's picture

As is often the case, the

As is often the case, the "common" variety is the one I'm unfamiliar with.
Were it summer I would automatically have looked at the underside of the leaf. Despite the clearly pale colour I didn't think to take it into account even though I kept coming back to whitebeam. Thanks for reminding me to keep that in mind. It's these little things that the (or my) books don't tell you.

Rachy Ramone's picture

I could write an entire book....

...on things that my book(s) didn't tell me!

It's also worth cross-checking all the reference books you have (I have at least 8) with the internet (adding large pinch of salt to Wikipedia entries, of course) as often, the reference books copy from each other.

Sometimes wrongly.

Hooray for independant research.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY