Every tree in the Sid valley is potentially an Arboretum Tree and there were more than 400,000 of them in 2014 (see the survey). We have logged many of the more interesting trees in our database but are always looking for suggestions for more trees, and for more information about the trees we have already logged. If you have any new information for us, please get in touch.
Which tree is which?
The Woodland Trust has a handy guide to some of our most common tree species. Trees are identified by considering a combination of: leaf, flower, fruit, bark and form. There are two main tree groups, usually called Conifers and Broadleaf trees but it would be better to call the second group flowering trees although the flowers are not always obvious.
Conifers are the more primitive trees and have been around since before the time of the dinosaurs, there are fossil conifers in Triassic rocks from 300 million years ago. As the name suggests, their seeds are carried in cones and not enclosed by a fruit, but the cones can be very variable. The Yew tree and Ginkgo are both conifers but you might not recognise the seed bearing part as a cone, Juniper ‘berries’ are actually fleshy cones.
So called Broadleaf trees are actually trees with true flowers and their seeds are enclosed in a fruit, but not all fruits are juicy and good to eat. The first flowering trees appeared in the fossil records of the Cretaceous period about 80 million years ago. Most flower bearing trees do have leaves that are thinner than their breadth, but some have very narrow or reduced leaves to cope with living in arid conditions.
Many people start to identify a tree by looking at the leaves, but they are not always a reliable guide. The leaves of the North American Liquidambars that can be seen around Sidmouth are very similar to Japanese Maples, but the two species are not related.
Conifer leaves are described as simple with no branching of the veins. Most of them are adapted as needles or scales to reduce water loss.
Dawn Redwood Monterey Pine Hiba Cypress
Leaves of flowering trees fall into three types generally; many have just one part, these are called simple leaves but they can be many shapes, pinnate leaves are subdivided into leaflets arranged along a midrib, and palmate leaves are subdivided into leaflets like the fingers on a hand.
Flowers and fruits are a more reliable guide than leaves to tree relationships. Different Oak species have very different leaves, but they all have pollen catkins and produce acorns.
You can find out more about particular tree species by clicking here.