US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

26/7/09: Wild Service - tree, chequers and beer

The Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis), a member of the Rose family, is quite rare in Britain. I've seen two in Lesnes Abbey Woods. I guess there might be a few more.

It is said not to ripen fruit too well in this country, and to spread mainly by suckers.

One of the specimens is found in the heathland area, and is pictured here, including a branch carrying fruit. Unfortunately someone (who, one suspects, didn't know what they were doing) has 'tidied' around the base of the multi-stemmed plant by cutting several thinner stems close to the ground.

The fruit - called chequers - is edible, but is supposed to be bletted (allowed to become 'over-ripe'), after which it is claimed that they taste like dates.

The cluster of 3+5 thinnish stems across the centre of the picture are the Wild Service Tree

Leaves and fruit

There appears to be some debate as to whether the public house name 'Chequers' is of Roman origin, with a checker-board pattern signifying a place that also provided banking services, is derived from the game checkers (draughts) played on such a board or the name of the friut of this tree (which one reference I've found says has in the past been used to flavour beer).

At any rate, here's an old (closed) pub called the 'The Chequers', not far from Lesnes Abbey Woods, on Picardy Rd., Belvedere ....

For more about the Wild Service Tree see:

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