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Monday, November 24, 2008

Beetlebung Trees

Well, I sure learned something today! I'm reading another mystery book... it's not so great. But it's set in Maine, and they keep talking about beetlebung trees. What the ...? So I looked it up, and it's a local term for the Black Gum Tree, Nyssa sylvatica, also called Black Tupelo. So it's really an old friend of this swamp-stomper, but I sure never heard that name before. It comes from the two primary uses of the wood in colonial times. It is a very hard wood, and it was used for beetles and bungs. A beetle is another name for a mallet, and a bung is the plug in a barrel or keg. We rarely use the word bung any more, but bung-hole has stuck around in modern use.

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