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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
On the Old and Remarkable Sycamores in Scotland

By Robert Hutchison of Carlowrie.
The Gold Medal]

This tree, which is also styled by some botanical authorities The Great Maple, must not, from the vulgar error of its being generally called "The Plane" be confounded with the true plane (Platanus). Even Dr Walker appears to have fallen into this mistake of calling the sycamore "The Plane" and so styles it in every instance in his "Catalogue of Remarkable Trees in Scotland," written about 1790 or 1798, and published in 1812. Considerable doubt appears to have prevailed amongst our earlier botanists as to whether the sycamore is one of the truly indigenous trees to Scotland. In the edition of Miller's "Dictionary," edited by Martyn in 1749, the author remarks that if it were really an indigenous timber tree the whole country would have been overrun by it, from its wonderful fecundity and vitality, and from the exceeding proneness it possesses to propagate itself from the seed-keys. This argument, however, will hardly prove its foreign origin, but rather tends to foster the opposite proposition, for the fact that a tree presents so much capacity in every season of ripening its seeds, and of "self-sowing" its seedlings in any country, points rather to its indigenous characteristics to that soil and climate. But, independently of this argument, there exist sufficient reasons to come to the conclusion that the sycamore is not indigenous either to Scotland or England, but is an introduction from the continent of Europe, and was probably first planted in this country shortly before the beginning of the sixteenth century, or, at all events, not before the middle of the fifteenth. Gerrard, an author of no mean reliance, who wrote in 1596, calls the sycamore "a stranger in England, found only in the park, and places of pleasure of the nobility." Other contemporary writers about that date also refer to it as peculiar to churchyards, courtyards of manor places, and noblemen's grounds. Dr Walker, reasoning from the measurements of old specimens he had himself taken during his long experience and observation, considered it to be one of the earliest introductions of the "exotic" trees into Scotland. He says in the concluding paragraph of his notice of old sycamores, or "Planes," as he calls them (several of which we have been able to identify, and append their dimensions at the present day to this report),—"the first barren trees planted in Scotland were those of exotic growth. These, at the time, were planted in gardens, rather from curiosity or for ornament than for use.

We have no planted oak, ash, elm, or fir, of so old a date (about 1500), as the country was then full of natural woods composed of those trees, and very little demand for them."

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, who considered the sycamore to be an indigenous tree, notices the predilection for planting it in Scotland, when he says it is "a favourite tree," and "if the doubt of its being a native of Britain be true, which we cannot, however, believe, then it is probable that the long intimacy which subsisted between France and Scotland may be the cause of its being so prevalent in the latter country." With this cause of the origin for the sycamore being so extensively planted in Scotland we are fully inclined to agree, and an additional collateral reason for this assumption is found in the many individual specimens of the sycamore which tradition points to as having been planted by the hapless Mary Queen of Scots, and which to this day are called "Queen Mary's Trees." Several of these, still extant, will be found noticed in the tables appended to this report, and they occur at places where the unfortunate Queen either resided when in Scotland on her return from France, or around the scenes of her dreary imprisonments. Many other fine old relics of these troublous times are still to be found by Border keep and feudal tower, flourishing in vigour by the crumbling ruined fortalice, or in the spot where the baronial garden had once existed, while several of the largest and most noble specimens still linger, and in some instances continue to maintain a green old age, by the ruined monastery and cloister wall. Planted in such sites, evidently with care, and for some special reason—it might be on account of its rarity at the time, or for its hospitable shady foliage—there seems little room for doubt that the sycamore was first introduced from the Continent about the time we have indicated ; and for the earliest examples still surviving we must look to such localities as we have described and recorded, in the tabulated appendix to this report.

Another reason for the general diffusion of this tree, after its introduction over the various counties and districts of Scotland, is to be found in the peculiar capacity which its twiggy habits of young wood and growth presents, of withstanding with impunity the severe blasts of wind which are so prevalent in many parts of Scotland, and also its singular suitability for resisting the sea breeze in insular or sea coast localities. Numerous instances of its successful introduction and growth in such situations are recorded in the appendix. Indeed, no better examples could be found than those of the many specimens we have noticed from the sea coast of East Lothian and Berwickshire, where large and handsome trees may be seen situated quite within the influence of the sea breezes and easterly gales that sweep across the North Sea, and yet quite unaffected either in vigour or in contour by

such inclement influences. We find it also planted for shelter and shade round many a hill side and exposed hamlet and steading at high altitudes; and, although at great elevations the sycamore does not attain to the ponderous dimensions it acquires at the lower levels, it still grows to a considerable girth and height of hole even in these higher positions. Thus, for instance, at Woodhouselee, Mid-Lothian, altitude 700 feet (vide Return), we find it thriving and vigorous in light gravelly loam, on a gravelly and rocky subsoil, and about 60 feet high, and girthing over 16 feet at 1 foot from the ground, and 13 feet 4 inches at 5 feet; while at other high elevations, such as at Dalwick, Peeblesshire, 800 feet; at Stobo, 745 feet; at Lochwood, Dumfriesshire, 900 feet; at Ardross, Rosshire, 800 feet. Similar and in some cases even larger dimensions are attained by the sycamore {vide Table). In regard to soil, this tree is not fastidious; it will be found from our returns to thrive well in any soil which is not overcharged with moisture. In such situations early decay of the trunk and oozing from the stem near the base are produced; but, while preferring an open good loam, rather dry, it is also found thriving in stiff soil inclining to clay. Its progress is most rapid in deep dry soft loam, and in such circumstances it is no uncommon thing to find the sycamore, in Scotland, planted out singly in open situations, attaining 20 feet in height in ten years; and Grigor states he has known instances of its having attained the height of 40 feet in less than twenty years. At Twizel, in Berwickshire, in a light dry loam, the sycamore in twenty-five years attained the height of 35 feet in an exposed situation, and had a diameter of stem near the base of 12 inches.

The sycamore is one of the earliest of our forest trees to put on its foliage in spring. The tints of the opening buds and young tender leaves "are rich, glowing, and harmonious," as Sir T. D. Lauder, in his edition of "Gilpin's Forest Scenery," well describes them. They deepen in summer into darker green, contrasting well with the massive wide-spreading head of the tree, and in autumn the varied browns and reds with which they tartan the woods harmonise well with the lighter yellow shades of the declining foliage of the lime and elm and ash in the landscape. In old trees, the habit of peeling off in scales, which is noticeable in their bark, produces an agreeable effect in the rich contrast between the ashy-grey colour of the adhering bark, and the russet hues thereby produced and displayed in patches along the trunk. Considerable variety and difference of time also, in foliation, is observable in the sycamore in this country. In this respect one tree, still extant and quite vigorous, near the ruins of Corstorphine Castle, and adjoining the old dovecot of that barony, has acquired a unique reputation, and given its name to a new family or variety of the sycamore. This tree puts forth its buds and young foliage ten days or a fortnight earlier than any other sycamore, of which there are many in the immediate vicinity. Its young foliage—which is very dense, from the compact, close, round-headed habit of the tree, and which has caused Sir Walter Scott to remark appropriately of the "Corstorphine Plane," that it "has no weather side" although exposed in the middle of a wide open strath—is at first of a peculiarly rich yellow or golden bronze tint, attracting the eye of the most unobservant visitor to the district. The history of this tree is unrecorded, but tradition reports that it was brought from the East by a monk when it was a mere sapling, and planted where it still stands, the site being then within the church lands, and probably garden ground, of the provostry or collegiate church founded by Sir John Forrester there in 1429. The trees in its immediate vicinity indicate the presence of an old garden having at one time existed around the spot, there being still some remains of large and old yew and holly trees, and also a few fruit trees. The present dimensions of this remarkable and noteworthy tree are as follows:—73 feet in height; length of bole, 22 feet; and 13 feet in girth at 5 feet from the ground. It has recently been banked up with earth round its base to form a rockery for Alpine plants and ferns by the villa proprietor, in whose garden it now stands, and no measurement at a lower point is obtainable. Many young trees have been propagated from this parent tree by grafting and budding, and have all maintained the peculiar golden foliage in spring, quite distinctly; but plants raised from seeds shed by the tree, of which there are very few, the parent being a shy fruit-bearer, vary much, some being blotched and sometimes streaked with lighter variegation, while others have shown no apparent difference from an ordinary sycamore in foliage. They all, however, retain the parent's habit of being in leaf in spring considerably earlier than the other varieties around them. [Wilder this tree, on 26th August 1679, Lord Forrester fell, murdered by his niece by a first marriage, Mrs Christian Nimmo, daughter of Mr Hamilton of Grange, by the Hon. Mary Forrester, and wife of James or Andrew Nimmo, mer-chants in Edinburgh.—R. H.] We ought, perhaps, here to notice another sycamore which presents the same early bronze golden foliage as the Corstorphine tree; it grows in the manse garden at Liberton, near Edinburgh, in the south-west corner, and is in spring quite conspicuous at some distance off by its rich and early bronze foliage and dense round head. It is also evidently an old tree, but it is not so tall or wide-spreading as the Corstorphine tree, apparently owing to its having been placed in a crowded situation, for it seems to be of a similar age to the Corstorphine sycamore. It is remarkable that Dr Walker, in his industrious search and records of old and remarkable trees, does not notice this tree, while he gives details of two sycamores growing at Redhall, within a few miles from Corstorphine, in no way very remarkable for size at the time he measured them—the one being at 4 feet high only 8 feet 2 inches, and the other 9 feet 4 inches when he wrote. These two trees are still extant, and measured on 13th September 1879—eighty-one years after Walker—they are as follows:—

These measurements show that in a period of eighty-one years, or rather of eighty-one "growing seasons," these trees have increased in the circumference of their trunks on an average—for No. 1, of 0.271 inches; and for No. 2, of 0.358 inches annually. This is probably a very fair approximate average of the usual increment to the trunk of a tree of the sycamore variety when already what may be termed full grown—that is, after it has ceased to increase perceptibly in height, and has assumed the rugged bark of a full-grown, or rather of a fully-developed tree. The difference between the two trees in point of increase of bulk may easily be understood, when it is stated that No. 1 has for many years shown symptoms of oozing from the stem, thus naturally draining much of its vital sap away, and so hindering the healthy deposit of young wood annually; whereas this has not been the case with No. 2, which is reported to be still quite vigorous, and evincing no symptoms of any decay.

Amongst the remarkable sycamores which have attracted the attention of previous writers, probably the most notable is that known as the "Kippenross Plane Tree." This venerable specimen is now no more, having some years ago been snapt across a few feet above the ground by a gale. This tree is not noticed by Dr Walker, but it is depicted by Nattes in "Scotia depicta," and he gives its girth in 1801 as being 28 feet 9 inches. This measurement must have been taken at the ground line, for in 1798, at 5 feet from the ground, it was 22 feet 6 inches in circumference. This tree was long reported to be the largest tree in North Britain; but this distinction is really due to the large chestnut at Finavbn in Forfarshire, recorded in vol. xi. of the Highland Society's "Transactions," p. 43, and now also numbered with the past. Little authentic information remains regarding the Kippenross tree; of its age the Earl of Mar communicated the following particulars to Mr Monteath, author of the "Foresters' Guide":—"Mr John Stirling of Keir, who died in 1757, and made many inquiries of all the old people, from eighty to ninety years of age, which takes us hack to the reign of Charles II. near the Restoration, says, they uniformly declared that they have heard their fathers say that they never remember anything about it, but that it went by the name of the big tree of Kippenross."

Mr Strutt in his magnificent work on old trees, notices a sycamore at Bishopton, in Renfrewshire, opposite Dumbarton Castle, which he figures in "Sylva Scotica," published in 1830, and of which he reports the girth at the ground to be 20 feet at that date, and to be " a stately wide-spreading tree" about 60 feet high. From recent inquiry no trace of this goodly specimen is now to be found. Another remarkable sycamore of which former notices have appeared, and which possessed a curiosity peculiar to itself, was the tree at Calder House. This tree, Dr Walker observes, "stands in the pleasure ground, on the road from the house down to the church." On 4th October 1799 it measured 17 feet 7 inches at 4 feet from the ground. It was called " Knox's Tree," and is known to have been planted before the Reformation. It was the tree to which for many years the iron "jougs" of the church were fastened. It came gradually to grow over them, and for a considerable time prior to 1799 they had become completely enclosed in its trunk. At the place of their imprisonment a huge protuberance had formed on the south side of the tree, and at a height of between 4 and 5 feet from the ground. From minute inquiries made about two months ago, no trace of this tree can now be found, nor does there appear-to be any record preserved of the ultimate fate of this historical tree or of its embedded relic. Others, in the lists preserved by Dr Walker and Sir T. D. Lauder, have also disappeared without any record of the time or nature of their removal, a matter much to be regretted in itself, the more so when it is considered that in most instances the only opportunity of accurately fixing the age of the tree has thus been lost.

But, while we have cause to regret the disappearance of many of these old recorded sycamores, it is a subject of gratification to be able to point to and identify others which still exist, and to contrast their dimensions now with those of the earlier records. Many of these will be found in the columns of the appendix to this report. Amongst the most noticeable of these, is the sycamore at Cassillis in Ayrshire, which has, as far back as the past two centuries, gone by the name of the "Cassillis Dool Tree." It stands about 40 feet from the west end of Cassillis House. At the top of the bole, which is only 8 feet 6 inches high, its head branches off horizontally into 15 large boughs, forming a fine large spreading top. The diameter of the spread of its branches is 76 feet. There is an artificial mound of earth round the base of the tree, 3 feet in height, and all the measurements recorded in our appendix have been taken above, and starting from that point. It is reported to be above three hundred years old; and has always been known as the "dool" tree, or tree of grief. Some of the most remarkable old sycamores and trees of other varieties enjoy the same name; its origin being in the fact that in early times they were used by the powerful barons as gibbets for hanging their prisoners taken in foray, or their refractory vassals. Their use seems to have been more common in this way in the western districts of Scotland. There are three so-called trees still existing in Ayrshire, all of which formerly belonged to the powerful family of Kennedy;—the one at Cassillis already referred to, and the other two at Blairquhan, the largest of which is 72 feet in height, and 17 feet 8 inches in circumference at 10 feet from the ground. The other is somewhat smaller in dimensions. The date on the old escutcheon on the adjoining courtyard is 1573, to which period probably the planting of these trees may be referred. It may be interesting here to narrate briefly the incidents of the last occasion on which the Cassillis dool tree was so used. It occurred above two hundred years ago, when Sir John Faa of Dunbar and seven of his followers were hanged on it, for having attempted, in the guise of a gipsy, to carry off the then Countess of Cassillis, who was the daughter of the Earl of Haddington, and to whom he had been betrothed prior to his going abroad to travel; but in his absence, he having been made a prisoner and detained in Spain, and supposed to have died, the lady married John, Earl of Cassillis. It is said that the lady witnessed the execution of her former lover from her bedroom window. The old sycamore at Ninewells, Berwickshire, mentioned also by Walker, and in a later catalogue published in 1812, girthed 17 feet at a little below the bows. It still exists, though decaying, and has always been popularly known by the country people as "old hangie," from the tradition of its having been used as a gibbet in olden times.

The remarkable old sycamore standing near the ruins of the old castle, and on its west side, at Lochwood, Dumfriesshire, girthed, on 29th April 1773, 8 feet 9 inches at 5 feet; and measured, on 5th October 1879, it was 17 feet 7 inches and 13 feet 4 inches at 1 foot and 5 feet respectively. "In 1773," says Walker, "it was a fresh vigorous tree, about 50 feet high, and not in the least 'wind-waved,' though in a very high and exposed situation." It would have gratified the old Professor to have known that in 1879 it would be still quite vigorous. The altitude of its site is about 900 feet.

Near Dalbeattie, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, there stands a sycamore, which is recognised as a known landmark for miles around, and is called the Hopehead tree. It is growing alone in good dry soil, rather sandy, with a rocky subsoil; and in appearance is a complete mushroom, with a short stem, and a wide-spreading flat head, reaching to upwards of 70 feet in diameter. It girths 14 feet 6 inches and 13 feet at 1 foot and 5 feet respectively. We have been unable to trace any tradition regarding this solitary and peculiar tree, although most of such examples have some story or legend regarding their origin. At Foulis Wester, in Perthshire, in the centre of the village, standing on a slight knoll about 4 feet higher than the surrounding ground, is a very large and old sycamore which girths 17 feet and 14 feet 2 inches at 1 foot and 5 feet respectively, with a bole of 14 feet. On inquiring as to the existence of any legend in connection with this tree or its site, we only ascertained that tradition reports that "a Man of Foulis planted it on ae Sabbath nicht, wi' his thoomb!" This village arboriculturist must have literally believed in the old saying, "Aye be stickin' in a tree," which accordingly perhaps does not owe its origin to Sir Walter Scott's creative brain!

In other parts of Perthshire notable examples of the sycamore are to be seen. For example, at Birnam, on the banks of the Tay, near to the east ferry of olden times, there is still standing a majestic sycamore, and near to it a venerable oak, which are said to be the last remnant of the celebrated Birnam Wood, referred to by Shakespeare in the play of Macbeth. This tree measures at 1 foot from the ground 23 feet 9 inches, at 3 feet it is 19 feet 9 inches, and at 5 feet it girths 18 feet 11 inches. In 1863 it measured at 3 feet high 19 feet, so that, though an old tree, it is still increasing, and making new wood in its trunk. A large hole which was noticed in the bole, in 1803, has now entirely filled up, and the tree still seems quite vigorous. A very fine sycamore hitherto unobserved, is growing on the Logiealmond estate of the Earl of Mansfield. It is a magnificent massive specimen, girthing 11 feet 2 inches at 5 feet from the ground, and it carries this circumference up the bole for 22 feet. It grows in a light loamy soil on a gravelly subsoil, and is 80 feet in height with a clear bole of 28 feet. When Lord Mansfield purchased the estate about thirty years ago, this tree, Mr M'Corquodale reports to have then contained 309 cubic feet of timber, and, being still a healthy vigorous tree, he estimates that it has added at least 2 cubic feet to its bulk per annum, and it now contains fully 340 cubic feet. It stands in a row of sycamores immediately on the side of one of the approaches to Logiealmond House, the old main approach to which runs through an avenue of lime, beech, and elm, which is perhaps one of the finest old avenues in Scotland. At Inver-ardoch, near Doune, there are some very picturesque groups of old sycamores of large size and great beauty. At Balgowan, in Perthshire, at an altitude of 200 feet, we find a sycamore 85 feet in height, with a bole of 28 feet clear, and 20 feet 1 inch in circumference at 1 foot from the ground, and upwards of 15 feet at 5 feet from the ground. Others of almost similar magnitude are noticed in the appendix, growing at Abercairny and Castle Huntly, in this county, so rich in old wood and so suitable for its growth and development; but we regret to add that the largest and best trees have been mostly cut down at the last named place for some years past. Towering above all other sycamores in Perthshire, alike in height and bulk, are those at Castle Menzies, near Aberfeldy, where probably the two finest and largest trees of this species in Scotland exist. They grow at an elevation of 250 feet, in light sandy loam, on a subsoil of sand. No. 1 is 104 feet 3 inches in height, with a majestic bole of 35 feet in length, and is 25 feet 3 inches in girth at 1 foot, and 18 feet 4 inches at 5 feet from the ground. It stands in the open park, and is a very noble looking tree. [Since this paper was written, we regret to state that, in the disastrous "Tay Bridge " gale of 28th December last, this splendid tree has lost two of its largest side limbs. The symmetry of the tree is, however, little impaired.—R. H.] No. 2 is one of a row of nearly similar size to itself. It is 95 feet high, with a bole of 15 feet, when it divides into two huge limbs, each being the size of an ordinary tree, and it girths round its colossal conoidal base at 1 foot above ground 32 feet 5 inches, and at 5 feet it is 17 feet 8 inches. In September 1778 this tree girthed 16 feet 8 inches at 3 feet high.

Many other instances and statistics might be given, but a perusal of the figures and details tabulated in the appendix will be found sufficient to convey a generally accurate idea of the diffusion of this favourite tree in Scotland, and it would, therefore, be needlessly repeating facts, were further extracts given, however interesting and instructive these might be. It should not, however, be omitted to mention in detail, those sycamores already alluded to in this report as " Queen Mary's Trees," and one or two others of historical interest.

Queen Mary's sycamore at Scone Palace stands on the lawn, directly under the drawing-room windows, and measures in girth at 1 foot from the ground, 14 feet 9 inches, and at 5 feet it is 13 feet 2 inches in circumference, and is 70 feet in height. In 1863 this tree girthed 12 feet at 1 foot up, and was 60 feet high. At about 12 feet from the ground, the trunk divides itself into two large limbs, which were of equal size; but many years ago, one of these was blown off in a severe gale, at a point about half-way up, leaving only the bare stump remaining of that limb. The tree is consequently much disfigured, as nearly one-half of its head has been carried away, along with the broken limb. This tree has always been known in the memory of the oldest inhabitant as "Queen Mary's Tree," and is believed to have been planted by the hands of the hapless queen herself. There is also another old sycamore at Scone, planted also before the drawing-room windows, which is currently believed to have been planted by Queen Mary's son, James VI. It is now a very picturesque lawn tree, with a short trunk and well-balanced head, and girths at 1 foot from the base 14 feet 2 inches, and at 5 feet 12 feet 8 inches, and is about 60 feet high. Another sycamore, little known to the public generally, although within a very short distance of Edinburgh, is "Queen Mary's Tree," which stands on the north side of the old road between Edinburgh and Dalkeith, about two miles from the city, and close to the farm of "Little France." This hamlet is so named, from the fact that during the residence, at the closely adjoining Castle of Craigmillar, of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, many of her French retainers and followers located themselves there; and it is interesting to note, that at the present day, the occupants of one of the cottages by the roadside, are named "Picard," and trace back for three generations their residence there. This tree is called "Queen Mary's Plane Tree," and is the survivor of two said to have been planted by the queen herself during her sojourn at Craigmillar. Its neighbour, which was planted near the castle, was cut down some years ago; but the tree we have indicated grows in full vigour still, and at 1 foot from the ground measures in circumference 18 feet, and at 4 feet 14 feet 11 inches, and at 8 feet 13 feet 10 inches; with a tall and handsome bole of fully 20 feet in length, where the trunk divides with huge limbs, with a wide umbrageous head, conspicuous a long way off. It measured in height to its highest tip, in 1878, 84 feet 9 inches. On the island of Loch Leven there is an old sycamore called "Queen Mary's Plane Tree," which tradition asserts was planted by the queen while in imprisonment there. It is now 12 feet 9 inches in girth at 5 feet from the ground. Beside it grows an old thorn, also ascribed to the queen. The original tree was blown down in 1850, but there is now a vigorous offshoot from it fully 12 feet in height. The original hawthorn seems to have been planted in what must have been the old garden to the castle, and was always known as "Queen Mary's Thorn. Another old plane or sycamore, noted as a Queen Mary tree, still exists, along with other living relics there of the hapless queen, on the island of Inch-ma-home, on the lake of Menteith. There can be no doubt whatever that it was planted a long time subsequent to the date of the erection of the priory on the island in a.d. 1238, for along with several others, notably old trees, it and others have been planted and arranged in lines to suit the walls and gateways of the buildings. The one given in our appendix with a peculiarly rich red scaly bark, stands opposite to an old Spanish chestnut and walnut, which is 80 feet in height, and 10 feet in girth at 1 foot, and 8 feet 1 inch at 3 feet high, and 8 feet at 6 feet high, and whose foliage is healthy, but the stem of which is decaying, and oozing a good deal near the root. The sycamore seems perfectly vigorous and sound, is now 13 feet 5 inches at 1 foot, 11 feet at 3 feet, and 11 feet 7 inches at 5 feet from the ground, and 80 feet in height. It is called "Queen Mary's Tree," and near to it, is Queen Mary's Bower. The quaint and simple arrangements of this mediaeval garden are still quite apparent and visible. There are to be seen three straggling boxwood trees,—evidently grown from the boxwood edgings of a former oval flower-bed still discernible, and whose lineaments are still visible. These trees are now 20 feet 6 inches in height, and girth upwards of 3 feet at 1 foot from the ground, where they diverge into several stems, probably the result of early pruning, and from being kept clipt into form for edgings. In what has apparently been the centre of the plot in this "bower," is a very quaint old thorn tree, about 22 feet in height, and 16 inches in girth, but it is much destroyed by the prevalent west winds that sweep across the island, and to whose influence it is much exposed.

From a glance at the appendix it will be apparent how generally diffused has been the introduction of the sycamore in Scotland. The list might have been increased, for there is hardly a parish in which good specimens are not to be found; but we think enough has been tabulated to give a very fair idea of the sycamore in Scotland at the present day, and of the condition now of those old and formerly recorded trees we have been able to trace, while not a few of goodly size, and which hitherto have been unknown or unnoticed, have been registered for preservation and future observation.

Of the few reported from England, and which have only been taken by way of contrast, we should notice the tree at Cleeve Abbey near Dunster, in Somerset. It is a strikingly picturesque old tree, growing out of the base of a cross, which had belonged to the old Cistercian Abbey there; the stones showing octagonal sides being still visible at its roots. It is nearly 60 feet in height, and measures 18 ft. 3 in. at 1 foot from the ground. Near by stands a very handsome and venerable walnut, probably of the same age, and now 19 ft. 8 in. at 1 foot, and 16 ft. at 5 feet from the ground.

Of the variegated variety of sycamore, good examples exist at the Duke of Athole's grounds at Dunkeld, also at Dollarfield in the valley of the Devon, at Gordon Castle, and at Mount Stuart in Bute. The purple-leaved sycamore is another very beautiful variety. Large trees of it, however, are very rare as yet, and we have fallen in with none of a size worth recording amongst the old and remarkable trees of Scotland. Probably the best specimens of this variety are those at Auchans Castle, near Dundonald, in Ayrshire.

Of the other Acers in Scotland, there is a very good specimen of the bird's eye maple {Acer saccharinum) at Loganbank, Glencorse, in Midlothian, girthing 6 ft. 9 in. at 3 feet from the ground. Also at Biel, Haddingtonshire, a tree of this variety is 11 ft. in girth at 1 foot, and 9 ft. 6 in. at 5 feet above the ground. It is, however, a good deal disfigured by having lost a heavy limb, which has spoilt the fair proportions of its head and contour. Many large trees of the Norway maple (A. plata-noicles) exist in different parts of the country, but, as it is a distinct species from the sycamore, though resembling it considerably, we have not tabulated its statistics with those of the sycamore.

Before concluding these observations on this interesting and popular tree, we may mention here the account of an experiment made upon it at Carron Park, in Stirlingshire, on 7th and 8th March 1816. "To prove the capability of the sycamore yielding sugar, incisions were made at 5 feet from the ground in the bark of a tree about forty-five years old. A colourless and transparent sap flowed freely, so as in two or three hours to fill a bottle capable of containing 1 lb. of water. Three bottles and a half were collected, weighing in all 3 lb. 4 oz. The sap was evaporated by the heat of a fire, and gave 214 grains of a product, in colour resembling raw sugar, and sweet in taste, with a peculiar flavour. After being kept fifteen months, this sugar was slightly moist on the surface. The quantity of sap employed in the evaporation was 24,960 grains, from which 214 grains of sugar were obtained; therefore, 116 parts of sap yielded one part of sugar."

The commercial value of the timber of the sycamore has advanced very much during recent years, and at some sales of growing trees within the past few years as high as £35 and £40 per tree has been obtained for large trees. It is extensively sought after for the manufacture of printing rollers, and turnery purposes.


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