Wednesday, January 17, 2018

American Hornbeam - Carpinus caroliniana

Betulaceae - Birch Family
"A Year With the Trees" Tree Number 17
American Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

Winter


This tree is easily identifiable by it's bark. Once you see it, it is always easy to spot. It is a blue-gray colored bark, smooth and strong; it actually looks muscular.

This American Hornbeam lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina.

Spring

 American Hornbeam - Carpinus caroliniana
The new leaves are emerging on this American Hornbeam in the Smoky Mountain National Park.



The spring ironwood tree has small green leaves on the branches. The alternate, simple leaves are double-toothed and small (1-4 inches). The fruit is called a winged nutlet which is attached to three-pointed leafy bracts. These are quite distinct and very hard to describe.

Summer
The American Hornbeam in July is filled with what is called Infructescences with leafy bracts.
Fall
The American Hornbeam in October
The American Hornbeam Tree in October
This American Hornbeam tree lives at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville.  www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org

The fruit of the American Hornbeam is in one of these photos.  Some say these fruits look like paper Chinese lanterns.  They look especially like that when the evening sun's light is showing through the lantern-like fruit.

A most interesting place to see this tree:
Hope Plaza at the Washington University school of medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. This excerpt is from a news release about what they are doing:

"The 2.2 acre plaza leading to the building’s entrance is designed to bring Missouri's lush landscape to the urban campus with trees, grasses, and plants native to the St. Louis area and to the state chosen in partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden. Many of the 40,000 plants placed in the plaza will be species found at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Preserve in far west St. Louis County.
Trees will include 45 Kentucky Coffee trees, 11 American Hornbeams, willows, redbuds, and swamp white oak trees, surrounded by a meadow-like soft covering of the ground in summer. The plants were chosen to focus on comfort and pleasure in all four seasons.
It will also contain up to 10 raised islands filled with local, knee-high grasses and other shade- or sun-loving plants. Exposed aggregate concrete and decomposed granite will cover walking surfaces and paths through the plaza."
You can read more at:  https://source.wustl.edu  and search for trees.  That campus is doing some amazing work and I have that place on my "to go to" list.

This choice of tree is amazing since it reminds us of strength of our body, minds and spirits.

Another wonderful place to find this tree is in the Great Smoky Mtn. National Park. There are many American Hornbeams in the Smokies.

"Nature does not hurry,yet everything is accomplished."~ Lao Tzu ~

For the Love of the Trees,
Becky



"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
Rachel Carson

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Paper Birch - Betula papyrifera

Betulaceae - Birch Family
"A Year With the Trees" Tree No. 16
Paper Birch
Betula papyrifera

You can find this beautiful tree at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville.  http://ashevillebotanicalgardens.org

Winter
Paper Birch Bark

Spring

This is an early March photo of the Paper Brich near the Green bridge at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville



Summer

This is the doubly serrated edged leaves of the summer Paper Birch Tree.  This Paper Birch lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.  www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org


Fall

Does anyone have any Paper Birch photos they would like to share?  I will be heading out to take more photos and drawings of this amazing tree in the near future.  It is freezing today and snowing; so I think I will wait till better weather,  BP 1/17/18



The bark has papery-like sheets as it gets older.  This tree has been used throughout history for writing.  Birch bark scrolls have been found that date back over 400 years.

The Paper Birch tree lives in North Carolina and Virginia only in a few localized areas.  It is mainly found in the Northern US and boreal Canadian forests.

For the love of the trees,
Becky

Monday, January 15, 2018

River Birch - Betula nigra

Betulaceae - Birch Family
"A Year With the Trees" Tree 15
River Birch
Betula nigra

Winter


The River Birch has most distinctive bark. The bark peels like paper with colors of tan and white and brown all showing through the peelings. Sit under a River Birch Tree on a winter's day and look how the bark peels create such interesting textures and colors.
Spring
This River Birch lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens. www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org
The new spring leaves are shown in this image.  This beauty always amazes me.



Summer
The River Birch is such a beautiful tree with leaves and bark are very distinctive. See the arrow shaped leaf that is doubly toothed and the peeling reddish brown bark?


This River Birch lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.  www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org.

Fall


For the love of the River Birch,
Becky

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Black Birch - Betula lenta

Betulaceae - Birch Family
"A Year With the Trees", Tree Number 14
Black Birch
Betula nigra

Winter
This tree has a wonderful aroma of wintergreen whenever you scratch a twig.
The tree usually grows up to 80 feet high with a diameter of 1-2 feet.
The bark is shiny, dark brown or black, smooth; on older trunks the bark becomes fissured into scaly plates.
The twigs are dark brown, slender, and hairless.
The birch cones, that may remain on the tree in the winter months, are about 1 inch long. They are oblong, brown, and upright.

Collect Birch Twigs to take into a sauna with you in the tradition of the Russians and Scandinavians. Birch twigs are used to stimulate circulation and increase the vitality of the skin by tapping and brushing the twigs on your skin.

Birch oil has been used in making oil of wintergreen, candy, and medicine. The sap has been used in making Birch Beer. I will be making birch tea come spring.

The Black or Sweet Birch

Spring
Add caption

Summer
The Sweet Birch leaves in the Summertime.  I scratched a bit of twig and could smell the wintergreen scent.
Sweet or Black Birch Tree

The Summer Sweet Birch is filled with the wintergreen smell inside of the new twigs . I just made another pot of sweet birch tea to drink.


The leaves have grown some and darkened a bit since spring; however they still have the same elliptical, saw toothed look that I saw in the spring.  The bark is very distinctive on this tree. It is not the typical river birch or yellow birch bark. This bark has a tight blackish color with small horizontal lines running through it.


Fall

Black Birch Tree in October
The Sweet Birch tree stands out in the woods this time of year.  It changes to this incredible yellow before any other tree turns yellow.  This happens in North Carolina, where I live, in late September and early October.  So, if you are walking in the woods and see brightly yellow-colored leaves , it is most likely Sweet Birch.  You can verify this by scratching the twigs, if you smell a strong wiff of wintergreen; it is even more likely to be Sweet Birch.

For the love of the trees,
Becky
Black Birch Bark

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Yellow Birch - Betula alleghaniensis

Betulaceae - Birch family
A Year With the Trees tree No. 13
Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis

Where to find:  At the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, North Carolinahttp://ashevillebotanicalgardens.org

The leaves of the Yellow Birch tree are alternate, simple, and 2-4 inches long.
The leaf has a pointed tip.
The leaf is dark green above and yellowish green below.
The leaf has finely toothed edges.
The stem smells like wintergreen when scratched.
The bark peels from the side in strips that are paper-like.
The bark is a yellowish gray and has horizontal lines.
The tree usually grows to 70 - 100 feet.

Winter:
buds and limbs, twigs, bark

The Winter Yellow Birch Tree at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville

Spring:
catkins (flowers)

This Yellow Birch lives at Montreat College by Lake Susan. 


Summer:
leaves, fruit
The Yellow Birch Tree - Betula alleghaniensis by Robert Priddy 
www.RobertPriddyPhoto.com

Fall
Leaves


The Yellow Birch Tree

The Yellow Birch Tree

This Yellow Birch tree lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.  The yellow leaves are a bright light on this rainy day.  ashevillebotanicalgardens.org


For the love of the trees, Becky
Go outside and be in nature; feel the miracle of life all around you.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Tag Alder - Alnus serrulata

Betulaceae - Birch Family
A Year With the Trees tree No. 12
Tag Alder
Alnus serrulata

Where to find:
 At the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, North Carolina http://ashevillebotanicalgardens.org
and the Fletcher Park in Fletcher, North Carolina. 

This tree is one of the members of the family, Betulaceae that is native to the United States and the Southeast. 

Winter:
buds and twigs, bark, fruit
Tag Alder, Alnus serrulata, The Botanical Gardens of Asheville
This Tag Alder lives by the creek at the Botanical Gardens.  The light was beautiful this morning as I walked by the beautiful trees.  I always see these trees as being graceful and dancing as they sway in the wind and the light.  One can sit near here at the creek and I encourage everyone to do so.  Just take a moment and sit on a sunny day on the creek and just watch as the trees sway and bend and seem to dance in the light.

The Alder - Photo by Robert Priddy. www.robertpriddyphoto.com
This is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. Sometimes blooming as early as January. 

Spring:
leaves, flowers, fruit

The Betulaceae Family of the Southern Appalachians:

Tag Alder
Yellow Birch
Black Birch
River Birch
Paper Birch
American Hornbeam
Eastern Hophornbeam

When I see a tree in this family, I see the  male flowers called catkins and female flowers that are like little pine cones.  The female and male flowers both grow on the same tree before or at the same time that the leaves appear.   
I see toothed, alternate, simple leaves.  The leaves are usually in the shape called ovate or obovate.   The leaves are deciduous and turn yellow in the fall before falling to the ground.

The fruit in this family is a single seeded nutlet.


This Alder tree is a national champion alder tree.
I read that Asheville was the home of the champion Alder in the book, Trees of the Smokies. So, my daughter and I drove to the river where we knew it was suppose to be, and we walked by the side of the river till we found it. It is so beautiful. She took my photo as I stood inside the tree's circle of trees.
The leaves are obovate shaped and 3-5 inches long. The leaves are finely saw toothed and dull green. This tree is usually found by streams and banks of rivers.

Summer:
leaves, fruit
http://www.flickr.com/photos/claytonsnatives/3754927053/lightbox/#/photos/claytonsnatives/3754927053/
The Tag Alder tree is called also the Hazel Alder.  The Tag Alder tree actually improves the fertility of the soil in which this tree grows by providing additional nitrogen by a process called nitrogen fixation.

This tree is the host plant to four moth species.  This is the caterpillar of the Iron Prominent moth (Notodonta dromedarius).  It was photographed after it fell from an Alder tree.
Derek Parkinson [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Fall
leaves, fruit
The Tag Alder - Alnus serrulata.  Photo by Robert Priddy
This tree lives along streams and wet areas at 3,000 feet elevation or less.  The fruit looks like tiny pine cones and they stay on the tree most of the year.  



For the love of the trees, Becky

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Devil's Walking Stick - Aralia spinosa

Araliaceae - Ginseng Family
A Year With the Trees tree No. 11
Devil's Walking Stick
Aralia spinosa

Where to find:  At the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, North Carolinahttp://ashevillebotanicalgardens.org

This tree is the only member of this family, Araliaceae, that is native to the United States and the Southeast. The trees in these photos live at the Asheville Botanical Gardens. www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org

These trees are easy to identify this time of the year by the short, sharp spines which are all over the trunk and limbs. You for sure do not want to do much tree hugging with this particular tree; I always save my tree hugging for other trees.

Winter:
buds and twigs, bark, fruit

Devil's Walking Stick Bark

Devil's Walking Stick Bark

Spring:
leaves, flowers, fruit

The shoots of this tree in the spring can be cooked and eaten.
  I hear they taste asparagus like.  




Summer:
leaves, fruit
Devil's Walking Stick, The Botanical Gardens at Asheville.
Devil's Walking Stick, The Botanical Gardens at Asheville.
Devil's Walking Stick in the Summer



Fall
Leaves

Devil's walking stick changing colors

The Devils Walking Stick


The Devil's Walking Stick

What a great tree for Halloween!!! The very name of this tree sounds like a Halloween story waiting to be told.

This tree has short, sharp spines that will hurt your fingers when you touch the stems of this tree. I think that must be why it is called the Devil's walking stick. For who but the devil himself could walk with sharp spines digging into his hands while using a branch of this tree as a walking stick?

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
Henry David Thoreau

Happy Halloween


For the love of the trees, Becky

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Common Winterberry - Ilex verticillata

Aquifoliaceae - Holly family
A Year With the Trees tree No. 10
Common Winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Where to find:  At the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, North Carolina
The Common Winterberry is part of the family called Aquifoliaceae.  This family has three species that grow in the Appalachian Mountains.  Ilex montana, Ilex opaca, and Ilex verticilalta.

Aquifoliaceae is a family of about 400 species. Most all of these species belong to the genus Ilex, also known as the hollies. They are mostly evergreen trees or shrubs, though some are deciduous and lose their leaves seasonally. 

This family is characterized by having alternate, simple, and often evergreen leaves. This family has small flowers and berrylike drupes.  The flowers are dioecious.  This means that the male and female parts are on separate flowers and separate plants.  Drupes are fruits with a fleshy outer part and a seed inside, like a peach.


Winter:
buds and twigs, bark, fruit

36017 Ilex verticillata by horticultural art
36017 Ilex verticillata a photo by horticultural art on Flickr

The Common Winterberry tree is sometimes called a shrub and it has the word "common" in it.  However, it is anything but common.  I would have it call it beautiful.  It can grow up to 25 feet tall; however,  it is more common for this small tree to be closer to 12-15 feet tall.  The berries that stay on most of the year, are food for many species of wildlife; although, the berries are poisonous to humans.  The leaves are deciduous; so in the winter, the identifying feature is the small red berries.  The red berries usually have 6 seeds inside of them.  This small tree is said to be one of the most beautiful trees in the Southern Appalachians all winter long.

Thank you, Fred, for this incredible image.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/horticultural_art/


more Winter time tree observations
Common Winterberry


The shadows on the Winterberry tree that were cast by the low late afternoon sun caught my eye.  The berries are still on this tree.  The Winterberry tree that lives by my own house, at Priddy Woods, has had every single berry eaten away by a flock of Robins. The Robins came in one day and ate all the dogwood berries and the Winterberry tree berries.  Robins do not usually come visiting at Priddy Woods; perhaps they were migrating.    I do think a few Cardinals had their share of the berries as well.  I love watching the birds enjoy the berries of winter.  I always ponder if birds that have red in their feathers seem to eat more red berries...hummm.
Spring:
leaves, flowers, fruit
If you have an image of this tree in the spring, please send it to me at celerylady@gmail.com.  Thank you.

Summer:
leaves, fruit
The American Winterberry tree
This small tree grows up to 10 feet tall.  The leaves are deciduous with alternate leaves.  The leaves are around three inches long and 1 inch wide; they are elliptical with a pointed end.  The color of the leaves are dark green and the leaves have serrated margins.  The small white flowers will be on the trees soon.

Fall:
leaves, fruit

If you have an image of this tree in the fall, please send it to me at celerylady@gmail.com.  Thank you.





Becky