Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

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bbeduhn
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Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:45 am

This hawthorn is near the Glassmine Falls overlook on the BRP. It's most likely a scarlet hawthorn. It's at 5200' with other stunted trees. Sugar maples, yellow birch and mountain ash are common amongst the heath species such as mountain laurel and rhododendron.
6' cbh ~20' tall ~25-27' spread
6' cbh ~20' tall ~25-27' spread
douglas falls 003.JPG
There are old, stunted sugar maples as well.
douglas falls 004.JPG
douglas falls 005.JPG

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James Parton
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by James Parton » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:50 pm

Awesome!

With my mother's health getting worse due to cancer among other family issues and high gas prices, my trip reports have been lacking lately. I am glad you got to this one.

6ft cbh is among the largest I've seen. I know I've measured some in the 4-5ft girth range. I measured one at the Sycamore Flats picnic area along Davidson River several years ago that came in at 41.7 feet tall. It may be the tallest Hawthorn I have measured to date.

Hawthorns Rule!!
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
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New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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bbeduhn
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:33 am

It's only about 20' high with a 25-27' spread. There's another 20 yards away that's ~4' ~18' tall, ~20' spread. There may be more nearby. It's a bit steep once you get off the trail. I had the baby with me so there was no off trail exploring. These hawthorns have some serious age on them...and the thorns are super sharp!

Just across the stream from Sycamore Flats lies a large, old tulip surrounded by second growth. ill check out the tulip and the hawthorns when I get the chance. 41.7 is quite tall.

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edfrank
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by edfrank » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:32 pm

The tallest hawthorn we have found in PA is 45.7 feet, but we have several over 40 feet tall. Any guess as to the species?

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by James Parton » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:05 am

Brian,

There used to be a big tulip behind the bathroom at Sycamore Flats that was over 4 feet in diameter, probably close to 5. It was cut down and hauled away when they put city water and sewer in the bathrooms. I came to measure it just a little late and found it gone. I was so discouraged.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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bbeduhn
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:39 am

James-sounds like Sycamore Flats was a good area for tulip--there's still one old growth tree left.

Ed-It's almost certainly a scarlet hawthorn. I don't know my hawthorns (who can distinguish 80 varieties?) but according to my Smokies tree book, most any high altitude hawthorn is a scarlet and this tree is only about 50 miles from the Smokies at 5200' and is quite old. 90+% chance it's a scarlet. Apparently, there were only a few native hawthorns originally, but they've crossbred in the wild and have been crossbred extensively in cultivation.

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edfrank
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by edfrank » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:45 pm

Brian,

The idea that they crossbred in the wild sort of begs the question of whether these different species of hawthorn are really species, varieties, or variations. One site http://dnr.wi.gov/forestry/TreeID/Other ... guskey.htm comments: This group is an extremely large one with over 1,000 names having been applied to the North American forms. There is little agreement as to the differentiation of species and hybrids.

In many cases when examining things I am more of a splitter, but this has taken the idea much too far. I favor the lumping of hawthorns to a more limited number of species than the thousand. Eighty does not seem that unreasonable.

One site reads: "For accurate identification, both flowering material and material with ripe fruit must be carefully examined. Leaf descriptions for this genus refer to leaves on branches where flowers or fruit are also present. Wherever possible, specimens should be collected and preserved for future reference." The Wisconsin list http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/Searc ... =Crataegus presents a preferred name along with long lists of synonyms trying to reconcile the numerous names for the individual species.

Hawthorn classification overall is a total mess.

If you are 90% sure it is a scarlet hawthorn, then we should list it as a scarlet hawthorn for data purposes because chances are you are right, and if not we need to call it something anyway.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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bbeduhn
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Hawthorn

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:00 pm

Ed,
I'm in no way schooled in the art of hawthorn identification. My very limited research leads me to believe with very little doubt that it is a scarlet and I would agree that it should be recorded under scarlet unless anyone on this site knows better. A thousand varieties seems to be a ridiculous amount of overkill. How can there be any agreement on minute differences in every facet of the hawthorn tree when red and pignut hickories are still being debated as to whether they're separate species?

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/specie ... ickory.htm

I read that there were originally just three species of hawthorns in this area (NC mountains) of the country--Scarlet, Downy and Biltmore.
Brian

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