Brits are clueless about trees – with a third unable to tell their ash from their elder

It’s official … Brits are clueless about trees – with a third unable to tell their ash from their elder, a study found.

Researchers who polled 2,000 UK adults found six in 10 can’t identify a maple leaf or recognise the leaves of an oak tree.

A quarter have no idea which trees conkers come from, 34 per cent don’t know what species a Christmas tree is and 62 per cent can’t tell a birch from a beech.

Eighteen per cent think Wi-Fi is more important than trees and 16 per cent have no idea what benefit they have to the planet.


The research was commissioned by npower to celebrate National Tree Week which is taking place from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 2 December 2018.

Laura McNamee, spokesperson for npower, said: “The research has shown that although we love our trees, the nation’s knowledge on one of our most vital natural assets is lacking.

“This is why helping to educate our customers to Go Green and our partnership with environmental charity Trees for Cities is so important to us.

“We’re helping to plant a variety of trees across the UK so that residents of urban areas have the opportunity to reap their benefits too.”

The research also found the average Brit can name just five types of tree – with more than a third under the impression there is such a thing as a money tree.

So perhaps it’s no surprise two thirds wish they knew more about trees than they do currently.

Further to this, more than a fifth of parents admit they struggle to answer their kids when they’re asked to identify particular species.

One in 10 of all UK adults have even lied about knowing a variety of tree in order to appear more knowledgeable than they really are.

Carried out through OnePoll, the research also found 90 per cent enjoy looking at or being around trees.

Fifty-eight per cent feel calmer when around them, four in 10 feel happier and one in 10 even feel relieved.

But despite this 27 per cent have never climbed a tree at any point in their life.

Laura McNamee added: “Trees aren’t just for aesthetics, and it’s great to see that the research has highlighted the effect of trees on people’s mood.

“They can have a huge impact in our local area too – from reducing noise and air pollution to providing habitats for new wildlife to thrive.

“That’s why, together with Trees for Cities, we plant a tree for every customer who signs up to our Go Green tariff.

“We’ve planted over 100,000 trees throughout the UK during the last year and will continue to plant thousands more during National Tree Week.”

*Can’t identify a maple leaf – 59 per cent
*Can’t recognise the leaves of an oak tree – 60 per cent
*Don’t know which tree conkers come from – 24 per cent
*Don’t know what species a Christmas tree is – 34 per cent
*Can’t tell the difference between a birch and a beech tree – 62 per cent
*Think a money tree exists – 34 per cent
*Don’t think holly is evergreen – 10 per cent
*Can’t tell the difference between an ash and an elder tree – 36 per cent
*Don’t know pinecones come from pine trees – 17 per cent
*Think pineapples grow on trees – 32 per cent