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Mike's Gardening Index


Gardening With Attitude
By Mike Clark

Inosculation . . .

. . . now thereís a word to conjure with. My trusted, and very well-thumbed Penguin Pocket Dictionary doesnít even list it. But then who could trust a pocket dictionary that wonít fit into your pocket?

Serious gardening books do talk of inosculation. It is the very rare condition whereby one plant (most commonly, tree) grows into another.

Not just grows into in the sense of becoming entangled with, even though in older specimens you can sometimes barely see the join.

Inosculation is where one plant fuses with, and is effectively absorbed by, another. I suppose it is natureís way of grafting.

Already, Iím sure non-gardeners are bored, and surfing forth to pastures new.

But it is rare to find this phenomenon, particularly in mature trees. I have only ever seen one example, and it wasnít yesterday.  Nor was it in Caithness, but on Deeside in Aberdeenshire. Iím afraid I only had a black and white film in my camera at the time.  Not because colour hadnít been invented then, although it was perhaps in its infancy, but because B&W was the medium of the moment for me.

I remember very clearly exactly where this pair of Siamese Scots Pine were, and one of these days I will return to see if they are still in existence.

Meanwhile, I will keep looking for other examples. And I urge you to do likewise.

© Mike Clark 2002.

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