**133/O-Tree Talk-Yew.


This gloomy-looking  tree of sinister reputation rival the oak in longevity & the life of some hoary specimens is estimated to be nearly two thousand years.  While the leaves of the yew are undoubtedly poisonous  to cattle,  many  of  the evil qualities attributed to the tree are superstitions.  The berries are not poisonous, as the birds eat them.      The yew grows very slowly,   as befits a tree that has possibly twenty centuries ahead of it.      It never reaches a great height ,   but  old   trees  have  an immense  girth & a wide spreading  crown.  The bark is  smooth & grey & the trunk of old trees is generally heavily fluted as if many stems had joined themselves together to form this shape.      The dark shining evergreen leaves are set in close rows on opposite sides of the twigs.  They are about an inch long & very narrow.  The flowers are of distinct  sexes & grow on separate trees, which is unusual in conifers.   male flowers are small yellow balls growing among the leaves on the top side of the spray.  The stamens  produce an enormous quantity of pollen.  The female flowers are small green pointed ovoids rowing on the underside of the twigs.  They turn into little green cups containing a  hard nut.    


**133/N-Tree Talk-Goat Willow.


There are numerous different species & varieties of willow in England, but the differences many of them are not very marked.  Most willows  like a moist soil, the damper the better & usually  to be found in water meadows or along river  banks with their roots almost  in the water.  The male & female flowers  grow on separate trees.   The first signs of them are furry, silvery tufts breaking out of some of the buds in  the  spring.   The male  flowers  become erect  brushes of golden-tipped stamens while the female flowers are erect  green stems studded with numerous pointed green capsules. When ripe  these capsules burst open & a thick mass of white cotton protrudes, the small seeds each being attached to a cottony filament.   When the tree is in full seed it looks as though it were dotted with little tufts of cotton-wool.