Category Archives: Species portraits

If you could follow one tree for a year, what would it be?

British blogger Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy followed a sycamore tree last year, but says its size was a disadvantage — “all the ‘action’ happens high up. At ground level, shade and location mean it’s not a good place for other plants to grow… what little there is that struggles into life between its toes tends to get nibbled as soon as it shows its head above ground.” She doesn’t want to blog about trees in isolation, but as members of an ecological community.

So this year’s tree, by contrast, is part of a small but dense clump of vegetation, and is so small and “scraggy,” it’s “hardly a tree at all.” But a tree it is, and one of some significant folkloric and even exotic appeal to this North American reader (though we do have a closely related member of the same genus). What’s the species? Read the post to find out.

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Rubber trees and the Mayan ball game

Lower Dover Rubber TreeThe rubber tree has played an important role in modern industrial society, but its influence on human history stretches back 3600 years, as a fascinating post at the Lower Dover Field Journal makes clear.

A visit to the forests of Endor

Blogger Dave Wenning claims that the forests of Endor featured in the Star Wars films are real places you can visit. Where could this be? Click through to find out.

Guess this tree

Pine cones and Robin Andrea

Robin Andrea at Dharma Bums says,

I took this ridiculous photo of myself holding these two cones. It’s a crazy self-portrait with reflections of my laptop on my glasses, but I wanted to convey the size. I named these two Ego and Id because they’re bigger than my head!

They’re from a species famous for possessing the longest cones of any conifer — and for producing the largest trees in the pine genus. Think you know what it is? Leave your guess in the comments here if you’re feeling bold. But one way or another, be sure to click through and find out.

A Giant Falls

The Guanacaste is one of the biggest tree species in Central America. A post in the Lower Dover Field Journal shows what it’s like to fell (or at least radically trim) one of them — a big lightning-killed specimen next to an electric line.

Unlike more developed countries, the power company doesn’t have access to large cherry pickers, and quite frankly, a tree of this size would require an enormous reach. So they took to the old fashion way, climbing, ropes, chainsaws, and a pulley rope system.

The Annato Tree: Friend or Foe?

That’s the title of a new post in a Belizean blog, Lower Dover Field Journal — a fascinating look at a tree fruit whose growing use in processed foods may be triggering food-related allergies.

Mountain winterberry: freeze before eating

Rebecca at A Year With the Trees shares a sketch and a fascinating factoid about Ilex montana, a small Appalachian tree I thought I knew pretty well — but I didn’t know this.

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