Friday, October 2, 2020

Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis

 The Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis, is also called Sharinga Tree, Rubberwood or Para Rubber Tree.  It was only originally found growing in the Amazon Rainforest but was planted in more widespread tropical and sub-tropical areas once the demand for it's naturally produced rubber increased.  This tree is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and has major economic value because of it's milky latex that naturally occurs within the tree.  Recorded uses of this and similar tree rubber/latex products date back to the Olmec people of Mesoamerica some 3600 years ago.  By the late 1800's rubber plantations were established in the British colonies, Java, and Malaya.  Today most rubber plantations outside of the native region occur in tropical portions of South/East Asia and West Africa. Cultivating in South America has not been satisfactory because of leaf blight this leaf blight is a major concern for plantations worldwide as it has not been cured or corrected and is thought to pose a threat to all varieties/clones growing today.


Image Citation: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

This latex that occurs in the Rubber Tree is the primary source of natural rubber, it occurs in vessels within the bark just outside of the phloem. The vessels spirals up and around the tree in a right handed helix pattern forming an angle of about 30 degrees and occurring at heights of up to 45 feet.  In the wild the tree has been found to reach heights upwards of 100 feet, but this is not very common.  Trees grow at a much slower rate once they are tapped for latex and are generally cut down after about thirty years as they usually stop producing at this point so they no longer have economical value.  When harvesting cuts are made in the vessels but only deep enough to tap into them without harming the trees growth.  In order to grow these trees require tropical or sub-tropical climates, with no chance of frost.  One simple frost event can completely wipe out a plantation and be detrimental to production as the rubber becomes brittle and breaks.  Latex production is not very reliable the amount and quality is variable from tree to tree. When a tree is tapped (the process is called rubber tapping) the latex is collected in small buckets and looks almost similar to the process used to collect syrup from Maple trees.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Sweet Birch or Cherry Birch - Betula lenta

 The Sweet Birch or Cherry Birch (Betula lenta) is most easily recognized by the combination of fine and sharply toothed leaf margins, wintergreen scent, scales on the cone-like fruit and dark brown almost black bark.  It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights up to 65 feet, but usually does not exceed 3.5 feet in diameter.  The tree grows in an upright form with a generally single erect straight trunk and a rounded crown.  The Sweet or Cherry Birch is native to the United States.  It prefers rich, moist soil, cool forest areas, mountain slopes, Appalachian hardwood forests.  It can be found naturally occurring from New York and Maine in the North to Northern Georgia, Alabama and Central Mississippi in the South.  It is not often confused with the closely related Yellow Birch as the bark is significantly different in not only color but texture as well (Yellow Birch has a yellowish exfoliating bark).


Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org


The bark of the Sweet/Cherry Birch is a dark gray brown to brown black in color, it is smooth when young becoming furrowed with age.  The twigs exude a winter green aroma and taste when scraped or injured.  The leaves are alternate, simple, paperlike in texture, obvate and and heart shaped at the base.  The leaf margins are finely and sharply toothed.  The upper surface is a dark green while the lower surface is a more pale green.  The flowers occur in make and female catkins, the male are reddish brown and 7-10 cm long, while the female are pale green and 1.5-2.5 m long both occur in the late Spring.  The fruit is a winged samara born in a scaly erect egg shaped structure that matures in late Summer or early Fall.

               
                                                                            

Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org




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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sassafras - Sassafras albidum

 The Sassafras - Sassafras albidum is a member of the Laurel family. Having only three varieties, two of which are native to China and Taiwan, and the other is native to the Eastern portion of the United States. Spreading by suckers growing from the roots, in it's natural habitat it is commonly found growing along the woods edge and fields or as the under story of a forest.



The fruit from the Sassafras is blue in color when mature starting at clear and red when young. Growing from red stems the fruit grow in an almost ornamental pattern. The fruit/berries are a favorite of small birds such as Finches in the Spring and Summer. Like the American Holly, the Sassafras is dioecious, meaning the pistallate and staminate flowers mostly grow on different trees.



Image Citation: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Archive, Bugwood.org

The Sassafras tree has a unique scent that is recognizable even before the tree is in view, the oil that produces the scent is in the roots, the leaves and even the bark of the tree. Teas can be made by steeping the roots of the tree-Native American are recorded to have used this tea to treat many ailments. The oil was also used as the flavoring for traditional Root Beer prior to it's use being banned by the FDA in 1960 because of the Safrole found in the oil was thought to be a possible carcinogen. This banned was reversed partially in 1994 but new restrictions were put into place to be sure that the Safrole was removed prior to human consumption . File Powder, is a spicy herb made from dried and ground leaves. It was traditionally used by Native Americans in the South, and was adopted into Creole cuisine in Louisiana as a very commonly used ingredient.



Image Citations: Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org

The foliage of the Sassafras is very unique having as many as three varying type of leaves. The leaves can vary from single lobes, double lobed or mitten shaped to triple lobed. They are green in color during the growing season and in the fall put on a very beautiful show. The leaves will vary in color in the fall from Yellow, Orange, Scarlet and Crimson.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Inkwood - Exothea paniculata

 The Inkwood - Exothea paniculata also called Butterbough is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of up to 50 feet in height. It is most easily identified by its compound leaves with 4 leaflets. It grows in an erect, upright form with a single trunk and narrowly rounded crown.



(Photo By: Michelle M. Smith, 2018 - In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida)

When young the bark is bright, reddish-brown becoming dark gray and fissured with age. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with an even number of leaflets, 2-6 in number but usually 4. Each leaflet is elliptic or oblong in shape with a rounded tip and slight notching. The upper surface of the leaves are lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower is a paler green. The flowers are unisex and white with the male and female occurring on separate plants. The flowers contain 5 petals, 5 sepals and generally 8 stamen and occur from late winter to early spring. The fruit is a fleshy berry that is red when young becoming purple or almost black when mature. Fruit reaches maturity annually in Summer.

The Inkwood is native to only the the very southernmost portion of Florida and the Florida Keys. It prefers hammocks and shell mounds. It is a member of the Exothea genus which contains only 3 species all but 1 are native to the Caribbean, the Inkwood is the only member native to the United States.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pumpkin Ash - Fraxinus profunda

 Pumpkin Ash - Fraxinus profunda - The combination of buttressed trunk base, large pinnately compound leaves with 7-9 dark green leaflets and samara fruit make this species easily identifiable. Pumpkin Ash is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of 35-90 feet tall, growing in an erect form with a single straight or crooked trunk. It is native to swamps, old lake beds, freshwater tidal wetlands, floodplains and wet woodlands along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers from Michigan south through Louisiana and along the Eastern seaboard from New Jersey south through Florida. The Pumpkin Ash is often times confused with the Water Ashes in the Carolina Ash family.




Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University

Leaves are opposite, pinnately compounded with blades 20-45 cm long, rachis 8/15 cm long, 7-9 leaflets ovate in shape, narrowly oblong or elliptic. The upper leaflet surface is dark green and hairless, the lower surface is hairy. In the fall, the foliage turns bronze to reddish purple before falling off to make way for the next years foliage.  The bark is light gray with interlacing ridges. The swollen or "pumpkin" like trunk base is visibly apparent on some trees, especially those growing in deep swamp areas in the Southern growth range. The fruit is in the form of a samara 4-7 cm long and up to 14 mm broad. The fruit range in shape from narrowly linear to elliptic, with a wing arising from the base of the seed body. The fruit matures in early Autumn.

Best suited for hardiness zones 5-9, Pumpkin Ash prefers moist to slightly dry soil. It grows well in deep, loamy soil and swamp areas.  Birds and small mammals feed readily on the seeds produced by this tree. It also provides cover and habitat for birds and other wildlife. The larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer feed destructively and can kill this species. Flies and caterpillars also will feed on the foliage.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Elderberries - Sambucus

 The Elderberries - Sambucus are a small genus made up of only 10 species of which only 2 are commonly found in North America the American Elderberry- Sambucus nigra and the Red Elderberry- Sambucus racemosa, a third Danewort/Dwarf Elderberry- Sambucus ebulus is reported to be naturalized in the Northeast portions of the United States. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees or herbs with very soft wood and conspicuous pith.


The leaves are opposite and compound usually pinnate but occasionally bi-pinnate. The leaflets are lanceolate or ovate with distinctly toothed margins. The flowers are small, white or cream in color and generally made up 3-5 petals and 5 stamens. When crushed the flowers produce a sweet yet rancid odor. The fruit is a fleshy round berry like drupe, red or black in color depending on the species, these berries generally occur in bunches.



Image Citation: (Elderberry Flowers)  Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The Elderberries are mostly found in moist to wet areas, roadsides, ditches, wetland and woodland margins at elevations ranging from 3-3000 m. It is a dominant under story species in riparian woodlands where it persists despite the competition from other species, it does not however grow well in closed story forests. American Elderberries are found from the central portion of the US (Wisconsin to Texas) all the way to the East Coast and as far North as Nova Scotia. The Red Elderberries are found in a more limited area on either coast of the US, from Alaska in the North and Northern California in the South on the Pacific Coast, Sporadically from Northern Idaho to Arizona and New Mexico in the central portion of the country, and from Wisconsin to Nova Scotia in the North East and West Virginia, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic/South.



Image Citation: (Red Elderberry) Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

American Elderberry is best distinguished by the black fruit, whereas the Red Elderberry has red fruit. Similar species include Box Elder and Ash, which have similar leaves however neither have fleshy fruits as the Elderberries do. The fleshy fruit is edible and has been used by various cultures including Native Americans, Spaniards, Cahuillas, French, Austrians, and Germans for many different purposes. The berries can be used to make wine, jams, jelly, syrup and pies. When dried they can be cooked down to form a sauce (sometimes called sauco by the Cahuillas) that does not require any type of sweetening. The flowers are sometimes added to batters, eaten raw, added to teas, or even fried for a sweet snack. The twigs can be used to tap Maple trees for Syrup collection, basket weaving, flute and clapper stick making, tinder and even homemade squirt guns (when hollowed out).



Image Citation: (Dwarf Elderberry) Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org

Many Elderberries are planted for their ornamental value offering visual interest with both the flowers and the berries, others are planted for the wildlife value as they attract birds, small mammals, rodents, deer and butterflies. They are very a productive, adaptable and easy to establish species. Elderberries also are a very useful ground cover for stabilizing stream banks and other sites that are prone to erosion. Elderberries grow best from seed and are most often sown in the Fall season, cutting from this species are not very successful. This species is recommended for hardiness zones 3-8 and can be found at many nurseries for planting in your own garden.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Alder trees -Alnus

 Alder trees -Alnus  are a very small group of trees and shrub, made up of only 30 varieties most of which are native to the Northern temperate areas. Ten of which are native specifically to North America half of these can be grown as either shrubs or trees. As a whole, Alders rarely grown to over 70 feet tall. They are relatively fast growers and are short lived not recorded to live very often beyond 100 years.




Image Citation (Green Alder): Steven Katovich, Bugwood.org

Alders are considered part of the larger Birch family since they are very similar in habit and appearance, however there are two things that set them apart from Birch trees. The first is the fruit of the Alder not only resembles a small cone, but when ripe it becomes hard and woody very much like a cone. The second is that the roots of the Alder grow nodules that house nitrifying bacteria which enables these trees to grow well in bare or poor soils that lack the nitrates the plants need to survive. When the leaves of the trees fall each year and decay they enrich the soil, this enables other tree species to eventually grow in these once uninhabitable areas as well.. Red and Gray Alders are commonly planted along the edges of newly constructed roads and in quarry spoils for this very reason. In its native growth range, the Alder is commonly seen as one of the first signs of new growth in previously burned or logged forests. They are also usefully grown along the banks of rivers and ponds as their root systems will extend down into the water creating a stronger bank and helping with erosion control.



Image Citation (Nepal Alder): John Ruter, Bugwood.org

The Alders wood is durable in water, it is hard and dense in quality. The wood is also used to make charcoal for gunpowder. It has been used for both bank and canal construction.



Image Citation (Hazel Alder): Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

It is recorded in Welsch Mythology that the Alder fought in the great "Battle of Trees" against the dark spirits of the underworld. When cut the wood of the Alder turns from white to red which is said to signify the tree is bleeding.
Native Americans not only made tools and utensils from the Alders wood but they also extracted and used the red dye from it's wood as well. Twigs, leaf buds, leaves and catkins (both male and female) all have medicinal purposes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Mockernut Hickory - Carya tomentosa

 Mockernut Hickory - Carya tomentosa is also called the Bullnut, Hognut, Mockernut, White Hickory or Whiteheart Hickory (Depending on the region it is located in).  The Mockernut Hickory is a large deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 100 feet in ideal conditions.  It is native to the United States and can be found growing from Massachusetts and New York in the North, west to southern Michigan and Northern Illinois, south to eastern Texas and east to northern Florida.  Mockernut Hickory is considered to be a tough tree and can take abuse, it's timber is used for tool handles.  



Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The main trunk of the Mockernut Hickory is free of branches before spreading into a thick oblong shaped crown.  Tha bark is a mousy gray in color with very tight interlocking flat or slightly rounded ridges that appear to be almost laced together over the crevices.  The bark pattern gives the trunk the illusion of being wrapped in tight netting.  The leaves are alternate, compound and 8-12 inches long with 5-9 leaflets each that are a deep green in color.  In the fall the leaves change to a bright yellow, yellow-brown and finally brown before falling to make room for next seasons new growth.  The leaflet bottoms and leaf stalks are covered with fuzzy hairs and the edges are finely - coarsely toothed.  When crushed the leaflets release a strong odor.  The nuts have very small fruit cavities and are clothed in thick round or pear shaped husks with indented seams.  The nuts are a favorite meal for squirrels. 



Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org


Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org



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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Inkwood - Exothea paniculata

 The Inkwood - Exothea paniculata also called Butterbough is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of up to 50 feet in height. It is most easily identified by its compound leaves with 4 leaflets. It grows in an erect, upright form with a single trunk and narrowly rounded crown.



(Photo By: Michelle M. Smith, 2018 - In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida)

When young the bark is bright, reddish-brown becoming dark gray and fissured with age. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with an even number of leaflets, 2-6 in number but usually 4. Each leaflet is elliptic or oblong in shape with a rounded tip and slight notching. The upper surface of the leaves are lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower is a paler green. The flowers are unisex and white with the male and female occurring on separate plants. The flowers contain 5 petals, 5 sepals and generally 8 stamen and occur from late winter to early spring. The fruit is a fleshy berry that is red when young becoming purple or almost black when mature. Fruit reaches maturity annually in Summer.

The Inkwood is native to only the the very southernmost portion of Florida and the Florida Keys. It prefers hammocks and shell mounds. It is a member of the Exothea genus which contains only 3 species all but 1 are native to the Caribbean, the Inkwood is the only member native to the United States.

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Friday, September 4, 2020

Zelkova (Zelcova) - Zelkova serrata

 The Zelkova -  is a deciduous tree in the Elm family that is native to Europe and Southeast Asia.  It is susceptible to Dutch Elm disease but most often survives it, this is one of the main reason why it is considered to be a replacement for the Elm tree.   With a vase shape and the ability to grow 90-100 feet tall with a 60-80 foot spread.  It has a moderate growth rate and thrives best in full sun locations.  





The leaves are 1 1/2 to 4 inches long, green when young and turning a brilliant orange to burnt umber in the fall.  This varities crown grows naturally in a vase shape very similar to that of the Elm.   The leaves are a simple shape with serrated edges.  There are not obvious flowers on this tree they are very small and inconspicuous.




The Zelkova grows in a variety of soils but prefers moist deep loams.  Established specimens are highly drought resistance.  This tree makes for an ideal street tree as they thrive even in pits that were they soil is restricted.  It also has a high disease and salt resistance.  



Image Citations (1-3): Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulturist, Bugwood.org


This tree thrives in zones 5-8 and is readily available from most local nurseries.  It will make for a sturdy addition to any landscape.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Apricot - Prunus armeniaca

 Apricot - Prunus armeniaca is most easily recognized by the combination of broadly ovate to almost perfectly round leaves, pink flower buds and hairy fruit with stone inside. It is a small deciduous tree that reaches heights ranging from 16-30 feet on average. Originally introduced from China it is now found on roadsides and disturbed sites from 20-1600 m in the East from Pennsylvania in the North, West to Illinois and Missouri and South to Kansas. The Apricot grows in an upright erect fashion with a single trunk and rounded crown.



Image Citation: Eugene E. Nelson, Bugwood.org

The bark of the Apricot is deeply furrowed and Gray. The leaves are Alternate, simply shaped, broadly ovate to almost circular. The upper leaf surface is hairy along the veins, and the blades are 3-9 cm long. The flowers are 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter, 5 petals, pink when inside the bud, opening to a crisp white in Mid-Spring. The fruit is hairy, rounded or ellipsoid drupe, yellow to orange in color.

Image Citation (Leaves/Fruit): Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

The Apricot fruit matures in Summer and is sold commercially. Turkey is the number one country for Apricot production, followed by Iran, Uzbekistan, Algeria and Italy to round out the top five. The United States is not a major producer of Apricots and is not even in the top ten based on production numbers. Apricots are produced commercially by most countries with the climate to support their growth this includes The United Kingdom, Australia and The United States (mainly California, Washington and Utah) to name a few.


Image Citation (Fruit): Rory Register, Rory's Photography, Bugwood.org

Apricot trees can be found at most larger scale nurseries and can be grown in hardiness zones 5-8 (9). Apricot trees need well-drained soil in order to survive and produce well. Young Apricot trees can be susceptible to bacterial canker, powdery mildew and a variety of root fungus problems. Aphids, mites and peach twig borers are pests that you may encounter when growing Apricot trees.

Link to USDA Database entry for Apricot nutritional value:

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

American Elm - Ulmus americana

 The "American Elm" - Ulmus americana" is a medium to large sized deciduous tree that is native to Eastern North America. Found naturally from Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario, Southern Saskatchewan, Montana and Wyoming in the North continuing South through to Florida and Texas. It is an extremely hardy tree and can withstand temperatures as low as -44 degrees F. It's numbers have significantly decreased over the last century due to Dutch Elm disease. The Elm family is made up of about 45 species and are found from Northern and Central Eurasia and Eastern North America South through Panama. Elms are not found in the Rocky Mountains or on the West Coast of North America.




Image Citation: Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

The American Elm is the largest and most widespread of all the Elms in the North America. It grows in a beautiful upright vase shape, and was often used as a focal point or large Ornamental planting along Main Streets and Park areas throughout it's hardiness zones. However, in more recent decades it has been destroyed in many areas by Dutch Elm disease. The leaves are broad and flat, with a simple shape and fine teeth along the edges. They are bright green in color during the growing season and yellow-green to yellow in the Fall. The wood is grained in a fine wavy pattern that is remarkably durable when wet. Elm logs were hollowed out and used during Roman times as water pipes, some have even been unearthed in good condition. The wood wears well and takes well to polish. It has traditionally been used in making coffin boards, stair treads, chairs and paneling. The flowers are perect in form and contain both sexes on one flower. They grow in bunches or on long slender stalks in racemes.



Image Citation: Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Dutch Elm disease was introduced to the US in 1930 and has been devestating to the American Elm ever since. Dutch Elm disease is recorded in 41 states across the US. The disease is generally characterized by a gradual wilting and yellowing of the foliage, followed by death of the branches and eventually the whole tree. American Elm is also attacked by hundreds of insect species including defoliators, bark beetles, borers, leaf rollers, leaf miners, twig girdlers, and sucking insects. Both birds and mammals feed on fruit and buds, and mammals will chew the bark and twigs of younger trees. Animals and insects are not nearly as damaging to this species as Dutch Elm disease is.


The Buckley Elm of Michigan, a National Tree Champion was killed by Dutch Elm in 2001, it was estimated to be over 100 feet tall with a diameter of 8 feet.

The Oklahoma Survivor Tree is a very notable American Elm tree. Standing on the site of the Oklahoma City Bombings it has witnessed and withstood the unimaginable. You can learn more about it by checking out one of my previous blogs: https://destinationtrees.meetatree.com/2015/03/oklahoma-citys-survivor-tree-oklahoma.html

The tallest American Elm on record in New England "Herbie", was located in Yarmouth, Maine. It stood in this location until it too was killed by Dutch Elm disease and had to be removed in January of 2010. Herbie was estimated to be 110 feet tall and 217 years old.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Devilwood / Wild Olive - Osmanthus americanus

 The Wild Olive, Osmanthus americanus is also called the Devilwood tree.  Most commonly recognized by it's dark green leathery opposite leaves small white flowers, and olive like fruit.  The Wild Olive is a small evergreen tree or shrub that reaches heights upwards of 50 feet.  Generally the tree form grows with one single trunk while the shrub form may have multiple trunks and a more bushy shape.  The named Devilwood is thought to be given because of it's very hard wood which is "devilish" to woodworkers.  





Image Citation: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The bark fo the Wild Olive is Grey or Red-Grey when young becoming rough, scaly and Red-Brown with maturity.  The leaves are opposite, glossy, leathery, oblong and occasionally notched.  The upper surface of the leaves are lustrous and hairless dark green in color, while the underside is a paler green.  The flowers are unisexual, with the male and female flowers appearing on different trees.  Flowers are small creamy white with four petals and a fused tube.  Male flowers contain 2 stamens and are produced in short axillary panicles.  The fruit is oval or ellipsoid in shape, similar to that of a common olive, containing one seed.  The dark purple to black fleshy fruit matures in Summer to Fall.



Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The Wild Olive is native to coastal dunes, sand hill and upland woods area up to 150 meters above sea level.  It can be found from South Eastern Virginia along the East Coast through Florida and along the Gulf Coast into small portions of Louisiana and Texas.  
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Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Lone Cypress - Monterey Cypress - Pebble Beach Resort, California

 The Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress is often said to be the most photographed tree in The United States. Estimated to be over 250 Years old the tree is located within the grounds of The Pebble Beach Resort in California - Arguably one of the most expensive and beautiful Golf Courses in the US. The tree has been injured over the years by fire, winds and storms but remains held in place by an intricate system of support cables.  The Monterey Cypress only grows naturally in a two areas of Monterey County, Del Monte Forest and Point Lobos Natural Reserve-but is planted widely as an ornamental.



Image Citation: "Lone Cypress" by Sharashish - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lone_Cypress.jpg#/media/File:Lone_Cypress.jpg


You do have to pay to see The Lone Cypress in person by entering the scenic "17 mile drive", but don't worry it is just $10 a car!  This 17 mile scenic route includes some of the most beautiful coastline in California and runs between the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Cypress Point Golf Course through the gated community of Pebble Beach.  Also along this scenic route is Bird Rock, Spanish Bay, Spy Glass Hill, Point Joe and the 5300 acre Del Monte Forest.  
Image Citation : Pebble Beach Golf Course-Public-Wikipedia Page 

This tree is so famous it has been featured in The LA Times - Postcards from the west series- http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-postcards-lone-cypress-20130519-dto-htmlstory.html

This link will take you to an interactive map of "17 Mile Drive"
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=36.583693,-121.936913&msa=0&spn=0.127779,0.195007&mid=zhQ13I4PkLug.ku_kKxBy09XM

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea

 The Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea is most easily identified by it's deeply cut leaves in combination with 1 or more pitted rings at the acorn apex. It is a fast growing deciduous tree that can reach heights of 100 feet tall. Generally growing in an upright fashion with a single erect trunk that is more often then not swollen at the base.  It is native to the Eastern and Mid Atlantic regions of the United States from Maine in the North to Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama in the South, spreading as far West as Wisconsin. It is closely related to the Northern Pin Oak - Quercus ellipsoidalis, Shumard Oak - Quercus shumardii, Northern Red Oak -Quercus rubra and Pin Oak - Quercus palustris.


The crown of the Scarlet Oak is rounded and open with spreading branches.  This Oak has alternate, simply shaped leaves with 5-7 lobes each that range in size from 4-7 inches long. Leaves are bright green in the Spring and Summer and change to a brilliant Scarlet - Red in the Fall. The upper surfaces of the leaves are lustrous and hairless, while the lower is paler with tufts of hair in many of the vein axils. The fruit is a bowl shaped cupped acorn that is 7-15 mm deep enclosing 1/3 - 1/2 of the brown nut. Acorn crops are produced annually, however large crops are only seen every 3-5 years.The bark is thin, brown to dark gray in color, finely ridged and furrowed in texture.


Image Citation: (Fall Foliage) T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The Scarlet Oak is often planted for a combination of it's rapid growth, beautiful foliage, soil tolerance, wind resistance and upright habit. It makes for a lovely focal point in any landscape. Scarlet Oak prefers well drained slopes, dry uplands, ridges, and even does well in poor soils (except akaline). Full sun is recommended for best performance (6 hours of direct sunlight daily). The best performance for the Scarlet Oak naturally seems to be in the Ohio River Valley where specimens are many in number, long lived and lovely in shape. It also is a very successful part of the South Appalachian forest story. Scarlet Oak is recommended for hardiness zones 4-9 and can be found at most larger nurseries. It is widely used in park settings, along roadside and in residential and commercial landscape design. The Scarlet Oak is the official tree for The District of Columbia. Scarlet Oak acorns are an important food source various types of wildlife including, songbirds, wild turkeys, grouse, squirrels and white-tailed deer.


Image Citation: (Acorns) David Stephens, Bugwood.org


Image Citation: (Canopy from below) David Stephens, Bugwood.org

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ohio Buckeye- Aesculus glabra

 The Ohio Buckeye- Aesculus glabra - is a medium sized rounded crown Deciduous tree. Growing to only 20-40 feet tall at maturity, it has a moderate growth rate.  It is the most widespread of all of the Buckeyes in North America. It's range is on mostly mesophytic sites through Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Southern Michigan on West to Illinois and Central Iowa, extending South to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Central Texas; East into portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. This tree thrives best in moist locations and is most frequently found along river bottoms and in streambank soils.  It has been planted frequently outside of it's native range in Europe and the Eastern United States.  Different from the other Buckeyes because of two main features, first the leaflets have barely any visible stalk and second the husk of the fruit has short spines.  The Ohio Buckeye is sometimes referred to as the American Buckeye, Fetid buckeye, and Stinking Buck-eye, the last because of the foul odor emitted when the leaves are crushed.




Image Citations (Photos 1, 2, & 3): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org 

Ohio Buckeye is polygamo-monoecious, meaning it bears both bisexual and male flowers. The leaves are made up of unevenly toothed leaflets that all grow from the same point on the stem, they are green during the growing season and turn an almost grey when shifting finally to wyellow in the Fall.  The flowers are a yellow-green with prominent stamens growing as upright spikes. The bark is dark grey with shallow but coarse fissures leading into square scaly plates. It flowers in the Spring and fruits from summer to fall.  This tree also produces small, shiny, dark brown nuts with a lighter tan patch




"Buckeyes" has been the official Ohio State nickname since 1950, but it had been in common use for many years before.  According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck.




Recommended for Hardiness Zones 3-7, Buckeyes are found in larger nurseries within their growth range. 

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress

 The Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress is often said to be the most photographed tree in The United States. Estimated to be over 250 Years old the tree is located within the grounds of The Pebble Beach Resort in California - Arguably one of the most expensive and beautiful Golf Courses in the US. The tree has been injured over the years by fire, winds and storms but remains held in place by an intricate system of support cables.  The Monterey Cypress only grows naturally in a two areas of Monterey County, Del Monte Forest and Point Lobos Natural Reserve-but is planted widely as an ornamental.



Image Citation: "Lone Cypress" by Sharashish - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lone_Cypress.jpg#/media/File:Lone_Cypress.jpg


You do have to pay to see The Lone Cypress in person by entering the scenic "17 mile drive", but don't worry it is just $10 a car!  This 17 mile scenic route includes some of the most beautiful coastline in California and runs between the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Cypress Point Golf Course through the gated community of Pebble Beach.  Also along this scenic route is Bird Rock, Spanish Bay, Spy Glass Hill, Point Joe and the 5300 acre Del Monte Forest.  
Image Citation : Pebble Beach Golf Course-Public-Wikipedia Page 

This tree is so famous it has been featured in The LA Times - Postcards from the west series- http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-postcards-lone-cypress-20130519-dto-htmlstory.html

This link will take you to an interactive map of "17 Mile Drive"
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=36.583693,-121.936913&msa=0&spn=0.127779,0.195007&mid=zhQ13I4PkLug.ku_kKxBy09XM

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Seven Sisters Oak - Live Oak - Mandeville Louisiana

 Estimated to be around 1500 years old, The Seven Sisters Oak is not only a Louisiana state champion but a National Champion Live Oak as well.  This tree is the largest Live Oak in the Country, with a circumference of 467 inches, a height of 68 feet and a very large crown spread spanning over 139 feet.  This tree is the only recorded champion with a crown spread that is nearly double the height of the tree itself.  It has held the title of National Live Oak Champion for over 30 years.


Image Citation: Chuck Cook, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive

Contrary to many beliefs the tree was not named for the Seven main trunk sections of the trees but by a former owner, who was one of Seven Sisters.  This tree is registered with The Live Oak Society, who's members are only Live Oak Trees.  Since 1968, The Historic Seven Sisters Oak has remained the President of this unique society, becoming president when the Society's first President The Locke Breaux Live Oak died.

Image Citation: www.AmericanForests.org

Located in Mandeville, Louisiana, the tree resides in the front yard of a private residence, but still draws many visitors.  It is located in the quiet historic neighborhood of Lewisburg, just North of Lake Pontchartrain.  Because of it's sheer size it is said to be not well represented in photographs as the sheer size is hard to judge from one single angle.  This one surely calls for an in person visit next time you are in Louisiana!

Learn More About this and Other "Big Tree Champions" at:


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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

China Fir - Cunninghamia lanceolata

 China Fir - Cunninghamia lanceolata, is most easily identified by the long, stiff, sharply pointed leaves and oval cones of leather like sharply pointed bracts near twig tips.  The China Fir was introduced to the United States and is considered a distinct ornamental.  Native to Southeast Asia.  In China the China Fir is considered to be an important timber tree and is referred to as the China Fir, even though it is a member of the cypress family.  It is fast growing and highly resistant to pests and diseases. It is widely used for landscaping and has medicinal uses.





The China Fir is a Monoecious evergreen tree that can reach heights of 90 ft tall with and irregular cylindrical crown. The leaves are needle like deep green, stiff, straight or slightly curved 3-6 cm and spirally inserted on each twig.  It is in leaf all year, in flower from January to May, and the seeds ripen from August to September annually.  The twigs are covered by dead leaves behind 2 or 3 years of living leaf growth. The cones are ovoid, reddish brown at maturity, 1 1/2 - 4 1/2 cm and made up of glossy, leathery, sharply pointed bracts, occurring at twig tips in groups of 1-4.  The bark is dark gray to reddish brown in color and fissured to expose the aromatic inner bark.  Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.




 
Image Citations (Photos 1, 2, & 3) : John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

China Fir has many uses outside of just being planted as an ornamental specimen.  The bark is a source of tannins and the branches produce an essential oil that is used in the perfume industry. The creamy yellow to white, fragrant wood is uniform in textured, straight-grained, lightweight and durable, though it will rot if it is continually wet. It is easily worked, sometimes turned and resistant to insect and termite damage. It is also used in construction such as ship building (mainly throughout Asia where it is harvested for lumber) where great strength is required. A good quality fuel and a charcoal can also be made from the wood.

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Black Oak - Quercus velutina

 The Black Oak - Quercus velutina - is also known as the Eastern Black Oak. It was sometime/ formerly called the Yellow Oak, because of the yellow pigment in it's inner bark. It is native to the Eastern and Central United States and is found in every East Coast state from Southern Maine to the Northern panhandle of Florida. It is found as far inland as Ontario, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and even Eastern Texas. It is similar in appearance and often confused with the Northern Red Oak, Scarlet Oak and Southern Red Oak. Black Oak is known to hybridize with other members of the Red Oak group, and is a known parent in at least a dozen different named hybrids found today.



The leaves are simple, alternate, ovate and 4-10 inches long with 5-7 bristle tipped lobes on each one. They are a shiny green in color on the top during the growing season which shifts to a Yellow-Copper color in the Fall.
The Black Oak is monecious, the male flowers are borne on slender yellow to green catkins, while the females are reddish green and borne on short spikes in leaf axils that appear in spring with the leaves.



Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

The fruit, in the form of acorns that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, 1/3 to 1/2 of the Acorn is enclosed in a bowl-shaped cap. The cap scales on each Acorn are light brown and fuzzy. The Acorns mature every two years and appear in late summer into early fall. These Acorns are eaten by Wild Turkey, Whitetail Deer, Grouse and other small woodland mammals.
The bark is gray and smooth when young, becoming thick, very rough, almost black in sections and deeply furrowed. The inner bark is yellow-orange and very bitter tasting.


The Black Oak is not very common in the nursery trade because it can be difficult to transplant. When full grown the Black Oak can reach heights of 135 feet in ideal locations, however the average height is only 60-80 feet tall in most areas. The current Co-National Champion trees are found in Michigan (131 feet) and Connecticut (84 feet). Black Oaks have very prominent tap roots that ensures this species' survival under even poor growth conditions. It is recommended for hardiness zones 6-9. The Black Oak can be harmed by quite a few outside agents including Gypsy Moths, Oak Leaf Caterpillar, Oak Wilt, and Shoestring Root Rot to name a few.

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