I am realizing that I still need to pay more attention to overall tree shape and location. I get too focused on leaves and cones.
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energy has written 13 entries about this goal
Alder trees have little cones and serrated leaves that look much like elm leaves.
I think I have elms down. Leaves and seeds are pretty identifiable, although there is a chance I could mistake any serrated leaf for an elm.
Ever since my first trip to the tropics I’ve wondered about these trees. Finally I know they are monkey pod trees. Beautiful!
When to the arboritum this weekend to see the fall colors. Wonderful. I’m in love with the arboritum.
I didn’t learn anything new, at least not to the point of memorization. But I did pick up a few things and get some practice and saw some really amazing colors.
I’ve been mistakenly thinking that most pines are ponderosas. Turns out there are very few in my area. But I did see a ton in the Sierra Nevadas.
Ponderosa pines are easily identified by their bark. Turtle-shell patterns from a distance and little puzzle piece shaped flakes. They also smell kind of like vanilla and their needles are in 3s.
Other pine varieties are more difficult to identify.
There is also a giant sequoia in the background of this photo. I’m pretty sure I can spot those too, although that isn’t really difficult when the tree is 200 ft tall at 20 ft in diameter!
I’m confident to say that I can now identify
- Douglas Fir cones (although I haven’t got the needle characteristics memorized)
- Larch, both close up and from a distance
I got a nifty little book with a dichotomous key. I can’t wait to get out and really use it. So far I’ve used it to idenitify two of my neighbor’s trees that are overhanging into my yard. A rocky mountain maple and a common chokecherry.
Today I’m pleased to report that I spotted an ash tree in the parking lot at my gym.
- Long skinny leaves growing as opposites
- Closer inspection reveals that those aren’t really leaves, but leaflets.
- Chocolate colored node at the base of each leaf.
I am so pleased with myself that I went to a workshop/walk hosted by the city’s urban forestry department. I am now further inspired and have a list of great web recourses. And I want to sign up for thier more in depth courses (watch for a new goal coming soon).
Anyways, I learned a ton and I’m wondering how I’m going to remember it all. I realized that this isn’t going to be quite so easy as memorizing 10 or 15 local trees. There are so many growing around here that I’ve never even heard of! Who knew! I have to accept that I won’t memorize all of them, but instead will learn to know what to look for to look them up.
I’ve decided that knowing the genus is good enough for me. I don’t need to know every species of maple tree. Knowing it’s a maple is good enough.
From memory about specific trees (my notes and photos are at home)
- Maple, Ash and Dogwood are the only local trees that have leaves growing opposite eachother. But then it turns out the the city planted a bunch of katsura trees that also grow oposite. I think I have those down. Not all dogwoods have the pretty flowers from my last entry.
- Not all maples have the characteristic leaf shape, but the do all have the little helacopter things.
- Ash trees have compound leaves. You can recognize the difference between a leaf full of leaflets and a twig full of leaves by looking for the node at the base of each leaf. Ash nodes look like chocolate chips.
- Cherry leaves have little glands where the leaf meets the stem
- Cheery & birch trees have little bumps in horizontal lines on the trunk. The name escapes me right now
- Linden trees smell good and have flowers/fruit that grow on little brackets. I can’t describe it, but I think I can recognise it.
- “fir is friendly” the needles are soft and rubbery and don’t hurt if you grab a twig
- “spruce is spiteful” and is all pokey and sharp when you grab it.
- What we know as cedars are not true cedars. But I don’t care, thats what I’ll call them.
- Douglas fir has little end buds.
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