In January I attended a class at the North Carolina Arboretum on winter tree identification. We were given a wonderful little book called, "Winter Tree Finder" by May and Tom Watts, which I recommend if you want to identify trees in the winter. The teacher of the class, Marc Williams, has two websites: www.botanyeveryday.com and www.plantsandhealers.com and offers courses online.
I decided to ask a question I have long pondered: is there a 'bright line' between whether a plant is a shrub or a tree? And the short answer is 'yes.' Basically a single trunk is a tree and a shrub has multiple trunks. Based on this criteria, he said a crepe myrtle is a tree. The first picture below is of a witch hazel (shrub) and below that is a red bud, which is a good example of a single trunk tree.
w He said bark is NOT very helpful in distinguishing between types of trees because the look of a tree's bark changes over the lifetime of the tree.
I did learn that the number of needles in a 'bundle' coming out of a 'fascicle' (point where the needle bundle fastens to the tree branch) DOES make a big difference in identifying the type of pine tree it is. I had always thought the number of needles in a fascicle was rather random, not knowing that ALL the fascicles on a tree have the same number of needles attached.
The scars are also critical in tree identification. There are leaf scars, vein scars and bud scale scars. Good clues to a tree's identity can be obtained by noting whether the leaf scars are alternate to each other on a twig, or opposite to each other. It also matters whether the leaf scars are 'whorled' or not. Leaf scar shape matters as well; they can be heart-shaped, shield-shaped or C-shaped. TO be honest, I had never given the slightest thought to those 'marks' on the twigs of trees. Now that I know they contain important information I will pay them more heed.
I also learned that branches coming out of a trunk at a 90 degree angle are stronger than branches that come out at any other angle. Not that this helps with tree identification, but I thought it was interesting information nonetheless. See below for two examples of this.
We have been having unusually cold weather here in Western North Carolina this winter. When it is snow it looks so pretty! But our snow is long gone and what we have instead is ICE. The words that keep running through my head this week are those penned by Christina Rosetti and first published in 1872. Her poem, set to music by Gustav Holst in 1906, is the Christmas carol we know as "In the Bleak Midwinter."
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.
March 3 - April 7, 2018
Tryon Painters and Sculptors -- 78 N. Trade St. Tryon, NC 28782
Opening March 3, 2018
Book Signing 5 - 7pm March 3
Gallery show of Ruthie Rosauer's tree photography
March 16 - April 14, 2018
Burke County Arts Council -- 115 E. Meeting Street, Morganton, NC
Opening and book signing March 16 from 5 - 7pm
Photos from "These Trees" on display through April 14
March 20, 2018
6:00 - 7:30pm
"For the Love of Trees: How to Create a Garden in the shade"
Sponsored by the Hendersonville, NC tree board. Ruthie will speak about the beauty of trees and a garden architect will speak about creating shade gardens.
March 24, 2018
Noon - 3:00
Book signing of "These Trees" at A Walk in the Woods (423. N. Main St. Hendersonville, NC)
March 31, 2018
Noon - 3pm
Book signing of "These Trees" at Mountain Made Gallery in the Grove Arcade, Asheville, NC
April 4, 2018
2: 00 - 3:15pm
Poemscapes -- These Trees (slides and poetry, Ruthie will be joined by Kate Stockman reading her poetry)
95 Upper Red Oak Trail
April 8 - June 25
Solo show of tree photographs at
301 N. Washington St.
August 4 - August 31, 2018
Tryon School of Arts and Crafts -- 373 Harmon Field Rd. Tryon, NC
August 7, 2018
Noon - 1pm "First Tuesday"
speaker "For Love of Trees."
Ruthie will present an audiovisual show of photos, music, poems and anecdotes relating to trees.