The pith test basically is where you draw a line down the center of the trunk - the pith - and see where it intersects. If it intersects the ground before merging with a second trunk it definitely is a multitrunk tree. If it intersects the second trunk well above ground level then it likely would be a low branch. If it intersects teh second trunk at just above ground level, then in most cases it likely was two trunks originally that formed close together and pushed against each other as they grew fatter distorting the apparent position of the pith. For champion trees there should be separate lists for mutlitrunk trees and single trunk trees as they are different growth forms. I believe if there is only to be one list, then only single trunk trees should be considered. If the trunks are genetically different, then they clearly are separate trees that have grown together. If they grew as different sprouts from a single root mass, usually after the original tree was downed, then they would be genetically the same. You can argue that this is a single tree, or you can argue that these are separate trees each sharing some portion of a combined root mass, but essentially acting otherwise as individuals, or you can argue they are something between these alternatives. But basically for champion tree purposes multitrunk trees and single trunk trees are different growth forms, even if all of the trunks are genetically the same, and should not be considered as champions on the same listing as single trunk trees. I favor separate listings for both forms, but if there is to be only one list of champions it should include only those exhibiting a single trunk growth form, or one in which only the measurements of a single trunk of a multitrunk form is considered.
Edward Forrest Frank
"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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