Saturday, December 23, 2017

Colours of birch

One of the most conspicuous features of the Square Metre at this quiet time of year is one of the root buttresses of the birch.  This tree appeared as a seedling in spring 2004, nearly 14 years ago.  The orange tan exposed root (I think it is root rather trunk) runs from the craggy base of the tree on the left for a few centimetres before disappearing underground.

I wonder why it is so brightly and differently coloured that the rest of the tree and why it has raised ridges encircling it.  It must be dancing to the beat of a different drummer than the rest of the tree, but is there any reason for it?

The trunk of the tree further from the ground is generally white with black marks but it is washed with the palest pink on the northern side and palest green on the southern, the colour mainly being on the fine strips of outer bark that are constantly peeling off.  Many of the colours in nature seem to have no especial significance and I suppose they are just evolutionary by products conferring no particular competitive advantage.

Not far from the birch I noticed a group of ivory coloured seeds on the wet fallen leaves.  I have seen similar arrangements of seeds in the past and I think they are made by mice.  However, I am not at all sure what these are seeds of.  Maybe one of the irises - gladdon or yellow flag - both of which grow nearby.