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Punchy Tree

Back to Tall TreesOn to Wauchope Graveyard

punchy_tree.jpg (46125 bytes)
Punchy Tree in Niddrie House 

This is an eminent character of Niddrie! It is a Giant Sequoia (or Wellingtonia), and has grown above the height of the flats in Niddrie House. Its bark is very soft compared to most tree bark (letting us punch it without getting hurt!) and has a reddy colour, putting it together with other trees belonging to the Redwoods. These trees don’t naturally appear in Scotland—they come from California, on the west coast of North America. It is possible that this particular tree is another leftover from the Wauchope Estate tree-plantings.
The thick, fibrous bark of Wellingtonias doesn’t contain any resin – unlike other conifers. This means that it does not easily catch fire. In North America, the bark protects the huge trees from forest blazes (which kill so many other conifers) and allows them to grow to the size they are. Some Wellingtonias in America are many stories high and one in particular used to have a hole in it wide enough to drive a car through!


Punchy Tree Activities
1) Try wrapping your arms around the Punchy Tree. How far can you get? How many people with outstretched arms does it take to wrap around the Punchy Tree? Measure their arm spans and see how many metres this is. 

2) Take a bark rubbing of the Punchy Tree. Compare this with bark rubbings of other trees.

3) How tall is the Punchy Tree? Measure it by using a stick and a friend! You need to know your friend's height, so measure this first. Then tell your friend to stand under the tree, beside the trunk. Walk away from the tree, then hold up the stick at arm's length. Line up the top of your friend's head with the top of the stick. Mark the place on the stick that lines up with your friend's feet. Then see how many times the marked length of stick goes into the height of the tree. Multiply this number by your friend's height to get the height of the tree!
4) How would you describe the Punchy Tree? Stand underneath it, with your back against the trunk, and look up into its branches. What can you see? What words would you use to describe the Punchy Tree from here (colours, shapes, textures, any special things you can see from here)? Turn round and look at the bark. Touch the bark. What words would you use to describe what you see here? Can you see any animals living here? Then take 15 steps away from the tree, along the pavement. Look at the tree from here. What shape does the tree make? Does it cast a shadow? How far does this shadow stretch? What colours are on the tree from here? How does it look compared to the surrounding plants, houses, people or animals? Compare your descriptions of the tree from your different view-points. Only now can you give a proper description of the tree!
5) Although this is an evergreen tree (doesn't lose its leaves in winter) does it change with the seasons? Take photographs of it from different angles, getting different things in the background. Take more photographs from these positions in different weather, throughout the seasons, and see how the mood of the tree changes.

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