Unfolding buds

Beech buds (Fagus sylvatica) are among the last to unfold in spring.  The lovely, soft, silky, lime-green leaves slowly emerge from the cigar-shaped buds. Some people find these leaves very tasty when they are at this stage of development.

The black ash buds (Fraxinus excelsior) are slow to open too because the young, delicate leaves are susceptible to frost.  The old saying goes: “Oak before ash, we’re in for a splash; ash before oak, we’re in for a soak”.

The small leaved lime (Tilia cordata) is another slow one to unfold its red buds.  The heart-shaped leaves emerge with a long petiole attached to the twig. 

The soft light green leaves of the larch (Larix decidua) unfolded earlier in the spring.  This is a deciduous, coniferous tree that is native to Europe, but not to Ireland.

The elder (Sambucus nigra) is one of the first trees to unfold its buds and is now displaying its flower buds.  These will open in May to display creamy-white clusters of tiny flowers with a heady scent.  These can be used to make elderflower cordial.

Unfolding buds 1 1ae Beech bud opening
Beech bud opening
Unfolding buds 2 2e Ash bud opening
Ash bud opening
Unfolding buds 3 3ae Lime bud
Lime bud
Unfolding buds 4 3be Lime leaves
Lime leaves
Unfolding buds 5 4e Larch leaves
Larch leaves
Unfolding buds 6 5e Elder flower buds
Elder flower buds

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