The Slash Pine - Pinus elliottii is a tall, straight, deciduous tree that can reach heights of 60-100 feet on average. Growing in an upright fashion, Slash Pine generally does not have lower limbs along the trunk but has a dense rounded crown. It is native to the United States mainly in the South from South Eastern-South Carolina, throughout all of Florida, and along the Gulf Coast through Louisiana. The Slash Pine is a rapid grower with a desirable form and natural resistance to southern Pine beetles, because of this it is widely planted along the coastal plain for timber production.
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Thursday, January 18, 2024
The Cashew Tree Anacardium occidentale is a tropical evergreen that produces the Cashew seed and Cashew Apple. Reaching heights of around 45 feet it is not a large tree by any means. The trunk is generally short and irregular in form. The dwarf variety is considered to be more profitable having earlier production maturity and higher yields at around 20 ft tall. Native to Brazil, Portuguese colonist were recorded to export the tree and nuts as early as 1550. Currently there is major Cashew production occurring in Vietnam, India, Nigeria and The Ivory Coast. During the 21st century Cashew cultivation has significantly increased to meet new demands for manufacturing of Cashew Milk a plant based alternative to Dairy Milk. In 2017, globally the production of Cashews was measured in tonnes at 3,971,046 with the leading producer being Vietnam 22%, India 19% and the Ivory Coast 18%. Benin, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Mozambique and Tanzania are all also notable producers.
We recently visited Saint Lucia (one stop on a cruise) and while there we toured the Drive In Volcano / Geothermal Area near Soufrière. There at the site just on the edge of the overlook was a lone Cashew tree, the first I have ever seen in person (and not in a book) so I was quite intrigued. The tour guide explained how the Cashew was not native to the island, but was introduced over 100 years ago and is now found throughout the island. She also explained in depth about the risks of eating or handling an "unprocessed" Cashew because of what she called the "poisonous shell". The tree itself appeared to be mature between 35-40 ft tall and has had obvious damage from what I assume to be weather combined with tourist over the years. Perched at the edge of the overlook it is only protected by a small rail system but otherwise is right in the flow of foot traffic. It's trunk is irregular and gnarly in appearance and part of the canopy appears to have broken out well before our visit, though it still hangs on directly above the (Smelly) Sulphur Springs bubbling below. Another testament to the strength and determination we so often see in nature.
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
The Red Spruce - Picea rubens is a small-mid sized tree that can reach 50-80 feet tall. Red Spruce is a long lived tree that can live to be well over 400 years old. Red Spruce can be found growing from Canada in the North through North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia in the South. The branches on the Red Spruce are close in proximity to one another, growing straight out from the trunk and gently sweeping upward near the ends. The wood of Red Spruce is light in color and weight, straight grained, and resilient. This type of lumber is used for making paper, construction lumber, and stringed musical instruments.
Thursday, January 11, 2024
The Swamp Tupelo - sylvatica var. biflora (AKA Swamp Blackgum), is most often found as a small tree but can reach heights of over 80 feet tall. The Swamp Tupelo is filled with small branches that grow in almost perfect right angles from the trunk forming an open but unkempt crown. Mature trees often develop swelling near the base of their trunks. Bees are often found around Swamp Tupelo as they gather the flower pollen to produce Tupelo Honey which is highly prized. Their sour fruits are grazed upon by a variety of small mammals and birds. The soft wood is not commercially important but is sometimes used in local applications where a rot resistant wood is required. Swamp Tupelo prefers to grow in shallow moving water or swamp lands, and can be found from Maryland in the North through Florida in the South and west through eastern Texas and North along the Mississippi River to Illinois.
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
The Black Jack Oak - Quercus marilandica, is a small to mid sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of only 15 - 45 feet tall. Black Jack Oak often grows in an irregular shape with an open crown and crooked branches. It is one of the fews Red Oaks that produce and store a substance called tyloses, this substance seals the vessels and make the wood watertight. The small trees lumber is not highly valuable because of it's small size and knotty qualities it is used for fence posts, wooden water buckets, railroad ties, firewood and charcoal. Black Jack Oak is native to dry, sandy or soils from Iowa in the West, New Jersey and New York in the North, South through Florida, West through Texas and Northern Nebraska.
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
The Pondcypress - Taxidium ascendens is a very large deciduous tree that can reach heights of over 100 feet and live to be over 500 years old. It is most commonly found growing in very moist areas, swamps or even shallow ponds. When growing in water the tree forms knee like structures around the base of the tree, this unique rooting habit makes the tree able to withstands high winds. The wood of the mature Pondcypress is highly prized for it's rot and termite resistant properties. When young the tree grows in a conical shape, with age it will begin losing it's lower limbs and the trunk will become deeply fluted.
Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org
Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org
Monday, January 8, 2024
The Blue Ash - Fraxinus quadrangulata is a medium sized deciduous ash tree that is native to the Midwestern portion of the the United States. It is most commonly found from Oklahoma North through Michigan, into the Bluegrass regions of Kentucky and lower Nashville basin of Tennessee. There are also small isolated populations growing in small areas of the Appalachian Mountains, Alabama and Southern Ontario. On average the height at maturity can range from 30 - 85 feet depending on the terrain, location and soil type the tree is growing in.
Friday, January 5, 2024
The Winged Elm - Ulmus alata, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of less then 50 feet tall and usually not more than 1.5 feet in diameter. The Winged Elm has a generally wide, rounded crown that is made up of long slender branches many of which are winged with wide, cork like ridges on either side making the tree easier to identify. It is sometimes also referred to as the Cork Elm or Wahoo. Winged Elm is common in the Southern portion of the United States and can be found easily from Virginia south through Florida and West through Texas.