Ancient birches

Birch

“Beneath you birch with silver bark

And boughs so pendulous and fair”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ancient birch trees have the most wonderful body language in old age. Their trunks and lower horizontal limbs are no longer just round, but become deeply fissured and even rope-like.

The development of such discrete columns of living wood, called functional units, is a strategy for survival. They can be regarded as separate trees, each of which can transport carbohydrates from photosynthesis from the crown down the tree and water and nutrients up from the roots. In some uncommon situations a functional unit can stand alone or break free from the original tree – allowing at least part of the tree to carry on living independently.

Rogalin Palace, Poland – three legendary oaks

Lech, Czech and Rus – three famous oaks ….

Three of the monumental oaks at Rogalin Palace near Poznan are named after three legendary brothers who were said to have founded the Slavic nations: Poland (also known as Lechia), Bohemia (Cechy now known as the Czech Republic) and Ruthenia (Rus which became Russia, Belarus and Ukraine).

It’s a very special place to visit. We feel so lucky to have been taken there following the Tree Assessment Congress run by The Instytut Drzewa in Wroclaw in 2019.