Sycamore seeds
Sycamore seeds

There is plenty of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) in the wood.  Sycamore is viewed less favourably than native tree species as it was only introduced to the British Isles in the middle ages and is perceived to be invasive.

It can grow to a large tree, but most specimens in the wood are multi-stemmed having been coppiced at some point, presumably for firewood.  Sycamore produces close-grained timber historically valued for musical instruments and kitchen bowls.

In the UK sycamore supports fewer species of insect that, for instance, ash or oak.

However, it is attractive to aphids and therefore a variety of their predators, such as ladybirds, hoverflies and birds. The leaves are eaten by moth caterpillars, the flowers provide a good source of pollen and nectar to bees and other insects, and the seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.

There are risks for various tree species in Warleigh Woods: dutch elm disease is present and chalara ash dieback has already spread to Wiltshire and Gloucestershire (confirmed in Westonbirt Arboretum).  Sycamore at least provides an additional species to add resilience through diversity.


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