Branches on the North Side of the Tree

The effect of the sun’s light on the way plants grow (phototropism) is often subtle and sometimes takes experience to read and decipher. However, occasionally it is dramatic and very easy to spot.

On a walk this afternoon I came across this beech tree. Notice how the branch on the left of the tree makes a desperate bid to get some light – any light! It has absolutely no interest of growing outwards on the northern side. It grows near vertically up (part of the ‘tick effect’), then the secondary growth is closer to horizontal as it makes a bid to get round the main trunk, reaching for the southern light.

A branch on the southern side of a tree would never look like this.