One of the most glorious Elders sessions, for no particular reason but much laughter.
We opened the day with a song, composed on the fly by Nickie and Kally:
Field Maple, Field Maple, we love you. Field Maple, Field Maple – are you sick of being called sycamore?
For indeed they are difficult to tell apart as Peter and I found on our wander around the Pits collecting samples from various Acer trees. However, a rapid comparison with Virginia sorted it. Leaves were more rounded in Maple and more pointed in Sycamore.
Our talking stick was a glorious mallet carved out of Maple wood by Iestyn. Here was what we gathered about Maple:
Jackie immediately saw the colours of the lichen and moss on the mallet bark
Virginia reviewed our quick analysis of maple sycamore we’d just done 10 minute prior. It is a beautiful tree
Kally told us that it was used to make harps and one found in Sutton Hoo, then she magiced out of her folder a shaft for spinning wool made out of maple.
Rose Ann has relatives in Canada where they are famous for making maple syrup
Armoral returned to the maple relative, sycamore, for she had hundreds of sycamore babies in her garden. Some know Sycamore as the tree weed.
Esther reminded us that Field Maple are traditional in hedges, used for furnitute making and she magiced out of her bag a Recorder that may be made of maple. It can be worked so thin it is almost transparent.
Nickie took us on a different bent – it is the Tree of Love, and if you are in need of love, just lie beneath it.
Diana – it is the on the flag for Canada
Virginia, used the word Fishured to describe the bark. The seeds are known as Keys (or Kitty Keys in Yorkshire)
Chris – also found out it was the wood used for guitar making. That it takes 40-50 liters of syrup to make one litre.
Peter of course, said you can make things with maple
Will – Birds Eye maple, and guitar necks.
Missing Jo, Nicky did a very good interpretation of tapping, we particularly enjoyed fists on buttocks.
The inspiring homework was displayed: Chris had made an extraordinary head of an animal I forget the name of out of the hazel he took away with him last week. A stunning mallet may be out of pine was bought in by Bobie, finely finished.
Settling down into group s (like university challenge) we had a test on maple, (as well as what were the questions!)
Here they were with some of the remarkable answers
Latin name fro Maple – an easy warm up question
How would you describe the bark? Fissured,
How would you describe the stems of the leaves attached? Tiggy, red malleable, diameter bilateral
How would you describe the leaves? Palmate, Kidney, pentaleaf,
How would you describe the flower? Cluster, spikey fluffy bit, Clusters of yellow eye lashes
What is the sex of the Maple? ambidextrous! or hermaphrodite or Metro-sexual (travels underground to have sex)
Pollinators? Insects, flying insects flying butter flies, wind
What is its ecological succession Field maple is an intermediate species in the ecological succession of disturbed areas; it typically is not among the first trees to colonise a freshly disturbed area, but instead seeds in under the existing vegetation.
(I was crying with laughter by the end)
With our new knowledge informed, we set off for the wood edge to do a hedgerow survey of Kaliwood. Like me, many had paid scant regard for hedgerows until this observation moment. and a good list was compile of the western hedgerow. The proper way to do it is here. In addition to the hedge plants we knew (hazel, hawthorn, maple, we could id Elm (corky bark) and honeysuckle, flowering privet. Some of us found grasses and our childhood game of making music
We’d earned our maple syrup pancakes cooked over the fire by Lesley, served with cream whisked in the wood by Kally and her remarkable whisking machines.
And we tasted the expensive cobnuts that had finally arrived from the Internet. A raw one and a roasted one. Delicious.
Pollution filter: The field maple is a sturdy broadleaf which supports caterpillars, aphids, and all their predators, all while resisting air pollution.
The bark is light brown and flaky, and twigs are slender and brown and develop a corky bark with age. Small, grey leaf buds grow on long stems. Field maples can grow to 20m and live for up to 350 years. Look out for: new seeds which are tinged with pink and the wings on the seeds set in a straight line.
After pollination by insects, flowers develop into large, winged fruits which are dispersed by wind.
Not to be confused with: Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and Norway maple (Acer platanoides). An easy way to distinguish the field maple is by the leaves, which are much more rounded than those of the sycamore and Norway maple.
Value to wildlife
Field maple is attractive to aphids and their predators, including many species of ladybird, hoverfly and bird. Lots of species of moth, such as the mocha, feed on its leaves. The flowers provide nectar and pollen sources for bees and birds, and small mammals eat the fruits.
Mythology and symbolism
In parts of Europe, it was thought that maple branches hung around a doorway stopped bats entering. The herbalist Culpepper recommended maple leaves and bark to strengthen the liver.
Uses of field maple
Field maple produces the hardest, highest-density timber of all European maples. It is a warm, creamy-brown colour with a silky shine. Traditional uses include wood-turning and carving. Its wood is also popular for making musical instruments, particularly harps.
Threats and conservation
Field maples can be affected by sycamore gall mite and can also be susceptible to a wilt caused by a soil-borne fungus.
Medieval superstition said that if you passed a maple branch over a child, it would remove all traces of witchcraft.
Field maple is an intermediate species in the ecological succession of disturbed areas; it typically is not among the first trees to colonise a freshly disturbed area, but instead seeds in under the existing vegetation. It is very shade-tolerant during the initial stages of its life, but it has higher light requirements during its seed-bearing years. It exhibits rapid growth initially, but is eventually overtaken and replaced by other trees as the forest matures. It is most commonly found on neutral to alkaline soils, but more rarely on acidic soil.
Diseases include a leaf spot fungus Didymosporina aceris, a mildew Uncinula bicornis, a canker Nectria galligena, and verticillium wilt Verticillium alboatrum. The leaves are also sometimes damaged by gall mites in the genus Aceria, and the aphid Periphyllus villosus.
1 thought on “Elders 10 May 25 – Field Maple”
Here is my very poor attempt at another verse of the song! Maple you Rogue, I know your game, I hear you argue. But I know. It is your whispers of Amore!
That make the Sycamore, leaves blush so prettily!
Looking forward to Ash in two weeks time! Have a lovely break, hope your tears dry and your sides soon stop aching ( laughter is the best medicine) and the elders can be very saucy! At our age it is allowed!
Best wishes Virginia R