Trees A Crowd
Field Maple: Is it a BIRD (tongue)? Is it (an experimental Second World War) PLANE (cargo drop)? No! It's the colourful corky bungs of the SAPINDACEAE!
Season 3, Ep. 31
Our forty-fourth tree, Field Maple (Acer campestre); the sole truly native member of an incredibly colourful family. Their branches have supported Roman vines, the fruits have inspired modern military design, and the wood is one of the most sonorous - inspiring everyone from Stradivarius to Fender. You can drink its sap, make salads from its leaves; but the best way for your senses to enjoy the Field, and indeed all Maples, is simple to open one’s eyes at the end of Autumn. Unforgettable foliage; a stunner. More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
Hornbeam: Hardwood for smelting Boy Scouts & yoking chariots to hunt Ben Hur!
Season 3, Ep. 30
Our forty-third tree, Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). As hard as horn, and... well... 'beam' just means 'tree'. A beautiful leafy canopy supporting biodiversity year-round, it has been used by humans for centuries to smelt iron and to harness the power of beasts, and you probably just thought it was an odd Beech tree! Truth is, it should be more loved than it is... because it isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon! More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
Hazel: "Monsieur, with your mellow fruitfulness, Dormice and ancient epigenetic poetical-pescatarianism, you are really spoiling us!"
Season 3, Ep. 29
Our forty-second tree, Hazel (Corylus avellana). DORMICE! Enjoy. But, if you need more: we explore the pros and cons of modern agricultural hedge-care, how the Elizabethans were addicted to ‘filberts’, how Ferrero accidentally use 25% of the whole World’s hazelnuts, and we have poetry from all four corners of the British Isles - Phil Cumbus reading Shakespeare and Keats, Pollyanna McIntosh with Rabbie Burns, Katie McGrath with some cob-guzzling-salmon-based ancient Irish folklore, and Dylan Thomas’ “Hazel” (ish) reimagined for saxophone by the host of the awesome Sound Spring podcast. More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
The Birches: Magic Shrooms to Witches Brooms, the A to Z of the Birch nurtured
Season 3, Ep. 28
Our fortieth and forty-first trees, the Silver Birch (Betula pendula) and Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) - with apologies to the Dwarf Birch (Betula nana). Our birches are some of our very earliest colonisers, and as such there is little the birch does not nurture; for example, its mycorrhizal relationships support hallucinogenic mushrooms, witches’ brooms and barber’s razors, we drink it, and prisoners of gulags have even written love letters on it… The birch was also instrumental in helping Dr Suzanne Simard discover the secrets going on beneath our soil in the Wood Wide Web. Added to this the corporal punishment of sailers and barren cows, an ancient language of tree-climbing and how it is involved in the magic urine trade, and you have a couple of very special trees. (Special thanks to Alan Devine for adding his voice to this week’s episode.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
Alder: Swamp thing! You make my heart (-sized root nodules) sing / fix nitrogen with a symbiotic bacterium!
Season 3, Ep. 27
Our thirty-ninth tree, Alder (Alnus glutinosa). A tree designed for water; as strong as steel when submerged, alder timber has been keeping Venice from sinking for centuries. In the wild, our Alder provides homes for otters within its exposed root systems and can be found carpeted in the most verdant of mossy carpets. But more important than that, in cahoots with a bacterium, Alder fills our waterlogged and swampy soils with life-building nitrogen. This week’s episode was recorded with our host’s wellie-clad feet dangling in the Beaulieu river, in the heart of the New Forest. (Special thanks to Natalie Dormer for adding her voice to the Betjeman in this week’s episode, and to Hodder & Stoughton for giving us permission to do so.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at:https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
Sweet Chestnut: Legendarily tasty, but as prickly and trustworthy as a Borgia
Season 3, Ep. 26
Our thirty-eighth tree, the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa). A mighty tree, but actually a non-native archeophyte; one whose fruit has both fattened us and inspired us. We soak the chestnuts in sugar, we sing christmas songs about them, and they’ve inspired histories greatest fable-fabricators to have a LOT of fun! So, whether you want stories of 4000 year old trees growing in the shadow of a volcano and sheltering 100 horsemen, or myths about a horny Roman god wanting to make illegitimate love-tadpoles with a water nymph, or simply the tried and tested Renaissance tale of Alexander the chestnut-depraved Borgia Pope and the joy of sharing his nuts with his cardinals... this tree has it all! (Special thanks to Francois Arnaud for adding his voice to this episode.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at:https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
The Oaks: From two tiny acorns grow Viking Gods, Druidic ritual sacrifice, Nazis and... Mr Darcy?!
Season 3, Ep. 25
Our thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh trees, the Oaks; Pedunculate (Quercus robur) & Sessile (Quercus petraea). Revered by Druids, Vikings, Fascists, Socialists, Shipbuilders, Piglets, Invertebrates, Epiphytes and (most importantly) Dr George McGavin, our British Isles would not be in the shape they are now if it wasn’t for our Oaks. For good or ill; they’ve given us wine and warships, literature and law, cricket balls and currency, and that’s not even mentioning the gifts they have given to nature in the form of a biodiversity bonanza. What is hidden in these branches will make you yearn, lichen love and weevils weally happy... and we haven’t even mentioned that the Oak is named after our host (or at least he thinks it’s that way around!) (Special thanks to Dr George McGavin, Adam Ewan, Clare Corbett, Louis Maskell, Alex Lanipekun and ‘The Show Shanties’ for all adding their voices to this episode.) More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at:https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/
Peter Wohlleben: The hidden life of the ‘Green Sheep’ who wanted to become an Ent
Season 3, Ep. 24
Peter Wohlleben is a German forester, an international best-selling author and (unfortunately for our host) a rival dendro-podcaster! Here Peter talks not only in the manner for how he has become internationally renowned - speaking of how trees can have families, of how they can feel panic and of how they may LITERALLY be able to see what we are doing with tiny optical lenses in their leaves - but also more personally - about how he was the “green sheep” of his family, spending his childhood imitating frogs and whispering sweet nothings to egg yolks. Peter and David discuss the importance of trees as whole ecosystems, of how trees work as a natural thermostat and how the forests of Europe provide the rain for much of China. Add in some of Peter’s respect for the UK's Woodland Trust, and his concerns about forest bathing in the buff, and you have an incredibly wide ranging conversation, that seeks to unroot the secrets and stories surrounding the hidden life of Peter Wohlleben. For further information on this and other episodes, visit: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/peter-wohlleben/
Beech: Never judge a ‘buche’ by its leaf-cover - (Buchen sollst du suchen-ish!)
Season 3, Ep. 23
Our thirty-fifth tree, Beech (Fagus sylvatica). Without the Beech, we would not have literature (ish). The tree has been so useful to human/British kind that its substantial distribution across the country proudly represents this. It has fed us, clothed us, given us books to read and even provided us with a soft bed for the night - but NONE of this would be possible without its fungal friends. This week we examine the first of the Fagaceae and the fungi that feed her. This is the Queen tree; our Mother tree - or indeed ‘Der Mutterbaum’ - for we’ll be popping across to Germany for a little of this episode… as such, special thanks to Goetz Otto and Peter Wohlleben for adding their voices to this episode. More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/