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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shapes of Trees


spreading maple limbs

How often do we think about the shapes of trees? Whole trees? Big trees? Many trees can be identified just by their shapes. One of the really interesting things about the place I hiked yesterday (Orchard Beach State Park), is that 80 to 100 years ago it was very open. The reason I know this is that scattered throughout the current forest are trees like this particular one.

Trees that grow up in the open look very different from those that are crowded in a woods. Their branches have room to spread out, and they do just that. The one pictured above is a sugar maple. The one below is a red oak.

spreading red oak

There are still some nice open areas toward the back of this set of trail loops. I've seen a fox there. It's a nice place because it's just some open grassy hills sort of hidden by a surrounding ring of trees. It's not totally absent of man-made noises, but it's not bad.

spreading maple tree

This is another large maple near the edge of one of the open spaces. I didn't go over to see what kind it is, but my guess is sugar maple or Norway maple. I just liked the symmetrical shape of its silhouette.

tulip tree

Finally, this is one of the reasons I love to go to this trail. This tree, with a distinctive shape is a tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. However, you seldom see one growing out in the open like this so that you can see its silhouette.

I have more to show you about this tree, but we are having thunderstorms, and I have to get off the computer, so it will have to wait till tomorrow!


VanillaSeven said...

Interesting tree shapes! :D

RNSANE said...

How wonderful to see these huge trees out in the open like this, minus their leaves! They are so splendid.

Emma Springfield said...

Hello, Sharkbytes. I came over from Nature Center Magazine. Imagine my surprise at finding these lovely trees. I have been experiencing such an affinity for trees lately that I've been joking about becoming a dryad. I don't believe I ever heard of a tulip tree. I'll have to do some research, won't I?

Joe Todd said...

Love all the varied shapes in nature. I'm always looking for letters of alphabet in trees and grapevines

Duxbury Ramblers said...

I have seen the Tulip Tree - Liriodendron tulipifera (stunning tree) and it's cousin L. chinense, not native here, as I have said before we get them in our parks, I saw them in Ness Gardens, Liverpool, on the Tree Trail. They are also popular in private gardens.

Secondary Roads said...

Most interesting. Across the road from our Connecticut home stood an ancient oak tree. It was surrounded by much younger growth. But there it was looking like a massive candelabra.

rainfield61 said...

You picture those trees, I talk to mine in my hiking trail.

Ann said...

It's amazing to me the way some trees grow. The difference in their shapes are so interesting. That first picture is different with it's limbs so close to the ground.

Joanne Olivieri said...

Love the shape of the tulip tree. I always notice trees. I cannot tell you how many times I've tripped in pathways and streets, looking up at trees. Their different shapes and branches and leaves is what makes them so beautiful all in their own way.

Ratty said...

I pay a lot of attention to trees, but I've mostly been trying to identify them by the look of their bark. I honestly never considered that the shape would be influenced by their environment. It makes perfect sense, and now that you say it I remember I've heard similar things about that before. I'll be looking at tree shape now. That's another one in my long list of things I've learned from you.

Sharkbytes said...

Vanilla- you are welcome! The more I share, the more I learn too.

Carmen- I have a friend who just hunts for these big trees to take their pictures.

Copas- thanks! Things are starting to green up now, but our 2 weeks with no rain slowed it down. But I do have a little fern for tomorrow.

Hi Emma- hope some of your tulip tree questions were answered today.

Hey Joe! Grapevines is a good idea for those letters.

Carol- I haven't seen the L. chinense. You are ahead of me!

Chuck- Yup! You've described it perfectly.

rainfield- I know you are making them happy!

Ann- yes, many of the big ones in this area retained their low branches. Makes me think there weren't many deer either.

Jo- if you ever meet my Treeweenie friend I'll never get you to watch where you are going!

Ratty- glad to oblige. Every time I share something, I learn a little bit more myself.

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