Thursday, September 16, 2004

Forestry Fair and the Buckthorn

Attended the Forestry Fair of Eastern Ontario held at the Ferguson Forest Centre Kemptville, Ontario.
The nursery had common plant stock grown from local seed for sale; wood was being auctioned off, many interesting tree burls were sold, solid trunks of various hardwoods even cherry wood were auctioned and there were a couple of portable sawmills set up to cut into boards any of the logs that were purchased.

Inside there were various environment, forestry and nature related booths on display. There were also a couple of sections selling books. NRCan Canadian Forestry Service had one booth set up to help identify diseases. This was where I was finally enlightened about the identity of the invasive Buckthorn that is taking over much of the open areas of our forest. It is very aggressive. The booth also displayed the emerald ash borer (dead of course) as well as examples of its damage, and also the Asian Longhorn Beetle.

Our forest has a large number of mature ash trees and I am truly worried about the impact of the borer if and when it gets here.

There were tables of books for sale. I bought three books, Trees in Canada, 500 pp., and Trees of Ontario, 240 pp., both identify the buckthorns. Shrubs of Ontario, 495 pp., devotes six pages to just the Buckthorn and looks like a very thorough work on all shrubs in this province.

Two species of Buckthorn were identified in this woodlot.

European Buckthorn [Rhamnus cathartica L.] (also called common buckthorn, purghing buckthorn, European waythorn, Carolina buckthorn); and

Glossy Buckthorn [Rhamnus frangula L.]. It is also called European alder-buckthorn, European-alder, columnar buckthorn, fen buckthorn, arrow-wood, black-dogwood. Now I understand the reason for a unique latin name.

The European (or common) buckthorn tends to be a small tree shaped schrub with several very close stems. It is quite pretty in appearance. It develops horrible thorns instead of a central terminal bud. I had one lodged in my finger which took much effort to remove. Its bark tends to be reddish and smooth. Its sap is very noticeably orangy yellow.

The glossy buchthorn is more of a bush and in these parts tends to have a grey stem with little specs. Typically its shape is one of two or three main stems spreading out widely from a root stalk.

Trees in Canada, John Laird Farrar, Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited and the Canadian Forestry Service, NRCan, 1995 8th printing 2003. ISBN 1-55041-199-3

Trees of Ontario including Tall Shrubs, Linda Kershaw, Published by Lone Pine Publishing, 2001 1st printing. ISBN 1-55105-274-1.

Shrubs of Ontario, James H. Soper and Margaret L. Heimburger, Published by Royal Ontario Museum,1982. ISBN 0-88854-283-6

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