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Nature notebook

Hi everyone, I hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed being outside. Maybe you even caught sight of the tree I am going to talk about this week. It's the elder tree and is a small, native tree found all over Ireland in hedgerows. The leaves come at the beginning of April and the creamy white flowers come out in June.

The elder flowers attract lots of insects and the insects pollinate the flowers while trying to collect nectar. This means that the tree can then produce berries in September. Lots of birds love to eat these dark purple berries especially the wood pigeon.

The elderflowers can be made into elderflower lemonade and the berries can be made into red wine.

The timber of the elder tree is very soft and not much use for making anything. It is considered bad luck to make a boat or a cradle from this wood.

Our wildflower for this week is the Vetch. This flower is a member of the pea family and it is a bluish purple colour.

Each leaf has little tendrils on the end and these help it climb up towards the light by clinging on to other plants. After the flowers die back you can see the seeds of the plant which are like a small peapod. These peapods turn black and when the seeds are ripe they are shot out suddenly away from the plant. They then grow into a new plant. I hope you have fun looking for your plants. Don't forget to draw some pictures.

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