Woodland Highlights: December

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Woodland Matters

Image: Annick Monnier Wikimedia CommonsDecember may be chilly but our woods still offer beauty. Frost is certain to be spreading its icy fronds across fallen leaves and branches this month. Hoar frost can be exquisitely intricate, its interlocking crystals form feathery, fern-like patterns.

Trees/shrubs… The holly tree is one of our only native evergreens. Its berries are a symbol of the festive season and are an important source of food for many birds and small mammals.

Plants… Mistletoe is another seasonal favourite. This semi-parasitic plant can be found on many trees, but favours cultivated apple trees, limes, poplars and hawthorn. It is more often found on open trees. In Britain it is most abundant in the south and west midlands. Ferns, mosses and lichens still adorn trees and woodland, these include the hart’s tongue fern with its long slender green leaves.

Fungi… Most seasonal fungi have disappeared, but wood blewitt’s may still be seen in December. Other fungi can be spotted all year round…

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