Rosy Sycamore Seeds

#30DaysWild no 27. We’re appreciating small beauties, like these rosy sycamore seeds, framing Beech Lodge in the background.

Sycamores get a bad name sometimes, as they’re not considered native and can even be seen as weedy. Well, maybe that’s stretching the point. They were introduced from Europe some time in the 15th or 16th century. They grow fast, and those helicopter seeds disperse well. Saplings spring up all the time, even in relatively poor soil.

But even if they are not as English as the oak, they’re important in our landscape, especially as ash die back takes so many of our markers and high points. At Wheatland Farm we’ve already lost a lot of ash trees. Sycamore doesn’t support quite so many insects as oak and ash maybe, but a few weeks ago these very same clusters of developing seeds were flowers, and the whole tree was completely buzzing with feeding bumble bees.

Dormice also eat sycamore flowers and developing seeds apparently, along with hawthorn and oak. They come out of hibernation in May, needing a rich food source. As summer draws on, dormice then switch to insects and caterpillars, and also berries and finally hazel nuts, fattening themselves for hibernation.

We may well need to nurture sycamore strategically as we lose more and more ash trees. So we’ll be keeping an eye out for saplings that turn up in the right places around the farm, and maybe transplanting a few seedling trees.

Previously for #30DaysWild

This time last year: We were keeping up with our biological recording and submitting records to irecord. And of course, we keep this up. We’re delighted to report that guests in Honeysuckle Lodge were watching barn owls quartering the lodge field last week at dusk, searching out the voles.

This time in 2019: We were enjoying more little things – a shiny green bug near the wildlife pond.

This time in 2018: A woodpecker was having a wild spin on the Wheatland Farm peanut feeders. This year we captured a clip of an adult male feeding its young fledgling.

This time in 2017: The ringlet butterflies were everywhere in the eco lodge meadows. This year, Meadow Browns are abundant at Wheatland Farm, but we’ve not yet seen Ringlets.