It seems a long time since we have posted a Specimen of the Day, to rectify that here is an old, oak tree specimen. It was collected on 17th May 1894 by Charles Bailey. The tree that the specimen was taken from was at No Man’s Acre near Much Marcle in S. E. Herefordshire. Oak trees are famous for their longevity and may live for up to 800 years or more, so maybe it is also an old specimen from an old oak tree. I wonder if the tree is still surviving there today?
Oak trees in Britain could be facing a difficult and uncertain future as it has been reported in the press recently that they are threatened by a deadly disease that has been called Acute Oak Decline. AOD has been likened to Dutch Elm disease which killed millions of trees in the UK in the 1970’s and 80’s. AOD is a bacterial infection that can kill a tree in just a few years. Infected trees ‘bleed’ a dark fluid from cracks in the bark which then runs down the trunk. The Forestry Commission has a good website with more information and pictures to help you identify and report cases of AOD here.