Series T🌳ree: “Oakes on Oaks…”

Jul 6 2021

Uprooting the secrets and stories of the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles.

David Oakes

David Oakes


Our Trees!


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About this episode:

In a temporarily altered format, for a temporarily altered age, this series (series three/tree/🌳🌳🌳) aims to explore the secrets and stories hidden beneath our 56(ish) native trees. Here’s an introduction to the what and to the why…

New episodes will be released EVERY TUESDAY, right up until the Winter Solstice – in taxonomical order, no less! The initial three episodes of this new season will unearth the tales behind our three native Conifers, and then we’ll head off into the world of our Broad-leaved Trees!

So, without further ado, our Conifers:

Tree 1 – Yew (Taxus baccata)

Tree 2 – Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Tree 3 – Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

There are many more Broad-leaved Trees than there are Conifers. As such, you’ll notice that I have grouped the trees below within their families. For the extra keen listeners amongst you, this may help you notice some family similarlities between trees you otherwise thought were not alike in the slightest.

The Buxuceae:

Tree 4 – Box (Buxus sempervirens)

The Celastraceae:

Tree 5 – Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)

The Salicaceae:

Trees 6 to 14(ish) – The Willows (Salix spp.)

Tree 15 – Black Poplar (Populus nigra)

Tree 16 – Aspen (Populus tremula)

Trees 17 & 18 – White Poplar* (Populus alba) & Grey Poplar* (Populus × canescens)

The Rosaceae:

Tree 19 – Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Trees 20 & 21 – Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) & Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)

Tree 22(ish) – Wild Pear (Pyrus pyraster)*

Tree 23 – Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)

Trees 24 & 25 – Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) & Midland Thorn (Crataegus laevigata)

Tree 26 – Whitebeam (Sorbus aria aria)

Tree 27 – Wild Service (Sorbus torminalis)

Tree 28 – Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

The Rhamnaceae:

Trees 29 & 30 – Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) & Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
Coming 3rd August

The Elaeagnaceae:

Tree 31 – Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
Coming 10th August

…then, each and every Tuesday morning until Tree no.56(ish) and the Winter Solstice (or earlier if you’re a Patreon supporter)…!

* denotes an archeophyte / non-native / hybrid, basically, an (ish) tree

David's thoughts:

I was hoping that this third season would build upon the success of the last two and continue to seek out the unique human voices who find inspiration and purpose from within our natural realm. But, despite having safely stolen a few moments to record a few chance encounters, numerous pandemical lockdowns have left me lacking as many interviews as I might like… but – watch this space – I may well occasionally drop a traditional TAC interview into the forest we’re about to enter.

With that in mind, this year marks a substantial departure of format, but – presuming you don’t tire of my voice – it should hopefully prove informative, inspiring and, on occasion, a little infantile (sorry – not sorry). In researching this series I’ve scoured botany, history, music, medicince, art, folklore, environmental science, personal anecdote and more… hopefully there’ll be a little something for everyone each episode.

All that said, as a thematically-linked series of arboreal mind-waffles, it does rather make this section of the website a little superflous. As such, this section will serve to provide links to illustrate and illuminate the topics touched on in this woody series.

But first, a few thanks.

This series isn’t designed to help you directly identify each species – a podcast isn’t really the best format for an identification guide (not enough pictures) – so I haven’t tried. BUT, you will see that each episode is accompanied by some incredible artwork. Each episode will be flanked by an image of one of the most iconic attributes of the species in question. Above, you’ll see yew arils, juniper berries and scots pine cones; and if I’ve got this right, a lovely carousel of all the episodes’ artwork will appear below. These are drawn by my fantastic and talented cousin, Nell. I am indebted to her, and you can find more of her artwork here:

Secondly – where would this podcast be without Edale’s Mountain Hare-ess herself, the Trees a Crowd balladeer, Bella Hardy. A massive thank you yet again for being the official minstrel of Trees a Crowd. Much more from her can be found here:

Thirdly – you’ll hear lots of little voxpops along this trail through the 56(ish) tree forest, they’ll be previous guests of the show, future guests of the show and indeed friends of mine. I would be nothing without them. So, in advance, thank you all.

Finally – and most importantly – a whole herbacious border of thanks go to my Great Aunt (a botanist extraordinaire!) without whom I would have made far too many mistakes in both these podcasts, and indeed in life! Thank you Bubs.

Now, without further ado…


The Ancient Yew Group –

JUNIPER (Special thanks to William Tweed):
In Our Time: “The Gin Craze” –
The Glendalough Distillery –
Plantlife –

SCOTS PINE (Special thanks to Jennie Martin and James Wallace):
Jennie Martin IDing Scots Pines:
Colorado’s Gray Wolves –

BOX (Special thanks to Alistair Petrie, Dr Terry Gough and Sarah Mudd):
Clarinets for Conservation –
Box Hill –

SPINDLE (Special thanks to Mark Oosterveen):
The Wildlife Trusts views on Neonicitinoids –

WILLOWS (Special thanks to Rina Mahoney and Alistair Petrie):
Decolonising Kew by Prof. Alexandre Antonelli –
Adam Shaw’s “Woodland Walks” podcast –

The Green Cathedral –
Manchester Poplar –

ASPEN (Special thanks to Sophie Pavelle and Sam West):
Simulated Beaver attacks on Aspen –

IUCN Redlist –
The Red-backed Shrike –

CHERRIES (Special thanks to Martin  Simpson & Michael Gladis)
How sonorous is the Bullfinch? –
How colourful are Pigeon wings? –
How early is too early for Cherry blossom in Japan? –

WILD PEARS (Special thanks to Adam Sopp)
The Battle of Evesham illustration –

CRAB APPLE (Special thanks to Adam Sopp)
Granny Smith –
Extra special thanks to Richard Worrell, Markus Ruhsam & James Renny for their article “Discovering Britain’s truly Wild Apples” in the Feb ’21 edition of British Wildlife, which reinforced my research a great deal when writing this episode.

THE HAWTHORNS (Special thanks to Tom Bateman)
The Holy Thorn –
“Fairy Bush survives Motorway” –

WHITEBEAM (Special thanks to Pete Basham)
Cheddar Gorge Whitebeam –
African Forest Elephant –

WILD SERVICE (Special thanks to Xavier Gens and Rob Heaps)
“Le tornoiement de l’Antéchrist” –
Mabey’s Wild Service –
Thank you! –

ROWAN (Special thanks to Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson & Alistair Petrie)

THE BUCKTHORNS (Special thanks to Ian Bartholomew, Darren Moorcroft and James Robinson)
Woodland Trust –
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust –
Sap Green –
Oare Gunpowder Works –
Oare Marshes –

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