Friday 16 November 2018

Nature Friday: Spotty Sycamore

Did you enjoy all last week's Nature Friday posts?

I did too. Thank you so much to Arty and the LLB gang for such a great idea!

Today I am going to don my Bouncing Bertie Boffin hat and tell you about spotty sycamore leaves.

We have loads of sycamore trees in Aberdeen - including one in the street right outside my house. At this time of year the ground is covered with their large leaves, often daubed with black splodges of tar spot fungus.

Sounds bad doesn't it? I mean, how would you like to be infected with a fungus and end up covered in black spots? 

Of course if you were a Dalmatian you might not notice the difference... 

I digress.

But you know what? The fungus really doesn't harm the trees, and for the rest of us it's a welcome sight.

You see tar spot fungus only grows where the air is clean and free of sulphur dioxide. In the bad old days when the UK's many coal-fired power stations were belching out sulphurous pollution you rarely saw spotty sycamore leaves. 

But now they're a common sight, thanks to clean air legislation.

A timely reminder folks, that governments (and the EU) sometimes pass good and necessary laws!


  1. yay for the healthy leaves... and we hope the same for all spotted pups ;O)

  2. Hari Om
    Well, thank you Berie lad, I learned something new today! In truth, I had simply thought the black splodges were part of the autumn decay mechanism on these leaves. I much prefer the clean air fact!!! hugs and wags YAM-aunty xxx

  3. Wow - isn't that so cool! We call our sycamore trees camouflage trees because of the bark but we have never seen their leaves spot like that.

  4. We've seen leaves like that around here, but didn't know what the black dots were. Fungus makes sense.

  5. Amazing Boffin Bertie my favorite WFT. I had no idea and I thank you for telling me. Now this has me wondering if the black spots on our heart shaped red bud leaves are the same thing.
    Well done my handsome friend
    Hugs Cecilia

  6. We don't have sycamore trees in Texas, but Momma has fond memories of a really impawtant old sycamore in the middle of her college.

  7. I did not know this about the fungus...I learned something today thanks to you & Nature Friday.

  8. We are glad the air is clean enough for fungus!

  9. That is some very interesting information about the sycamores and black tar fungus. Who would have thunk that fungus had a good side?

    We chuckled at your joke about the spotted Dalmatian:)

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  10. Wow...we never would have guessed that fungus could be such a good thing! Thanks for the info and the nice photos of these interesting specimens!!!
    Rosy, Jakey & Arty

  11. Another interesting post, Bertie. We've never seen that before.....but we've never seen a sycamore tree either.

  12. Well that is good to hear about a good fungus
    Hazel & Mabel

    Pee es
    Hazel is doing better today!!

  13. OMD, I didn't knows that Bertie! I am so glads the leaves are spotted, and I am not. ☺
    I do thinks you are the most handsome model though...just wanted to say that
    Ruby ♥

  14. Thank you for the science lesson Bertie. We never knew that about the tree leaves.