Friday 2 August 2013

The Buzzing of the Limes

The grounds of Blair Castle have many common lime trees (Tilia x europaea), including the wonderful lime avenue drive up to the Castle from the village. This was planted way back in 1737, though some trees have been replaced since then.

Lime avenue from Blair Castle to Blair Atholl

The lime trees are now flowering, and this provides an absolute late summer feast for many of the smaller nectar feeding insects, such as bees, wasps and
 moths. Walking underneath the trees you can hear how alive the canopy is with beasties - the air is literally buzzing above your head all the way up the avenue. The flowers are pollinated by these insects and the resulting seeds have a special wing which allows them to sail in the wind to find new places. These seeds look nothing like the green citrus fruit called a lime - the tree's name comes from Linde, the German word for rope, because ropes used to made from the inner bark of the lime tree.

Lime flowers

Lime fruits and the lime nail gall.
The fabulous lime hawk moth, sadly not found in Scotland,
but common on lime trees in the southern half of Britain

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