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Intro from Western NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:34 am
by cindy m
Hello - I'm cindy from Western North Carolina. Although I have no education or experience with tree ID, I have seen some remarkable trees. I frequently hike off-trail in the Smoky Mountains and hope this group will look at occasional photos and comment on some of the more unusual ones. This is an image of an exceptionally large tree that I squatted and walked underneath. For reference, you can see me standing behind it. ... TVTG-L.jpg

Re: Intro from Western NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:40 am
by dbhguru

  Welcome aboard. We'd be delighted to help you ID trees through photos. However, you'll typically need to capture more of the tree than shown in the root section in the photo. My not too confident guess on the image you provided is yellow birch.

  You can scan back on this BBS and see lots of photos members have sent in asking for assistance in identifying the species. It will give you a better idea of what will work.

  Again, welcome aboard.


Re: Intro from Western NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:00 am
by cindy m
Thanks, Bob. Unfortunately, of the images I captured at the initial visit, only this one turned out. I plan to return to the tree location soon and will review the ENTS site beforehand so I can collect more helpful information.

Re: Intro from Western NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:36 am
by Larry Tucei
Welcome Cindy-  As Bob pointed out you need a photo of the Trunk and Crown, Leaves, etc. if possible. Everyone has had trouble from time to time with tree identification. We would be glad to help you ID trees. Will, Jess, Brian and a few other members are experts in that region of the Country.   Larry

Re: Intro from Western NC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:17 pm
by Ranger Dan
Hi Cindy-

Delighted to have a new member on board posting interesting picutres!  It's been a while since we've seen pics from folks in the Smokies.  It is my "spiritual homeland", and I've spent many a day squirreling around off-trail there myself, since 1976, so I loved seeing your picture and witnessing your curiosity.  You crawled through a tree!  Cool!  I'm connected right there!  I can remember doing the same thing at times.  Thank you!  

In my mind, the tree is almost certainly a yellow birch.  The only other tree it might be is black birch, but the latter would be more likely to have some blocky plates in the bark.  In yellow birch bark, even on old trees like this one, there is a brassy-colored shine in much of the bark.  I can't see any of that in the photo (in part because there is a lot of algae and moss on it), but the smoothness and wrinkled quality of the root bark says "yellow birch" to me.  The fact that there is a passage under the tree is another characteristic sometimes encountered in both of these birch species, because they often begin life as seedlings on nurse logs or stumps, which rot away. The open spaces develop as roots grow around voids in the rotting wood.  So, what you often see are really interesting figures like the ones in your photo, with large exposed roots, looking as if they grew in the air from the beginning.  There are trees in tropical rainforests that do indeed have aerial roots which grow to massive size, even to the point of resembling trunks, in the case of strangler figs and other species.  But in our part of the world, those hanging or exposed roots were once in rotting wood, or soil.

I hope you will continue to show and tell us what you find in your wanderings.  The topics on this list that I, personally, find interesting and worth commenting about are the non-technical items such as the one you bring up (well, if you don't consider tree identification by nuance technical, that is).  There are so many qualities of trees and forests to discuss...the quirky, curious, mysterious, gorgeous, magnificent, awesome things that inspire and satisfy in a way that is completely different from discussion about measurements and technical issues...not that those things are any less valuable, they just don't hold much popular appeal.  There has been talk of "what direction to go" with this discussion list, and I assume that we want more attendance and attention to our topics. I think you're bringing us back, Cindy.  Keep it coming!

Dan Miles