Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

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#11)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:20 pm

John,

Jamaica has some potential for big trees, but most of Haiti has been denuded with essentially no primary forest left, partly because of their tragic history of exploitation and poverty.
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#12)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:24 pm

Thanks Brian,

Yes it is a Quercus to be reckoned with.  As these trees grow slower than lowland trees because of the cold, there has to be some way to estimate the age of such trees.
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#13)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby jasonbaker » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:18 pm

Really cool find! Is this the tallest angiosperm tree in North America now?

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#14)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby pdbrandt » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:00 pm

jasonbaker wrote:Really cool find! Is this the tallest angiosperm tree in North America now?


The Fork Ridge Tulip Poplar was the tallest native angiosperm in North America at 191.9 feet tall.  It seems to me that Bart's Grandfather Oak has stolen the title!

Bart, I love the photo of the two oaks rising from the clearing shrouded in mist!
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#15)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Jess Riddle » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:17 pm

Bart,

Wow!  I never thought I'd hear about an oak like that.  I'm really looking forward to your post on the natural history of these forests, because I have lots of questions about the conditions that support such trees and their ecology.

Oaks are more likely than many genera to produce rings, because they must regularly add a new layer of vessels to maintain xylem (water) transport.  Even if there are no rings, oxygen isotopes might provide a way to age the trees, though it would be tedious and expensive.

You're really spoiling us with these posts.

Jess
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#16)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:26 pm

Jason and  Patrick,

Actually I measured a different species, that while slimmer at only 14', 9" (4.5 m) circumference, was a whopping 208.5' (63.6 m) tall.  For now it holds the record for angiosperms that I have measured in Costa Rica or Panama.  This tree is the "Probado" tree Pterygota excelsa and is in the same family, "Malvaceae" as the Kapok tree.  I have measured 3 of this species, 2 in Carara National Park and 1 near Piedres Blancas National Park, both in pacific lowland forests.  These trees were in ascending order 199.5' (60.8 m), 207' (63.1 m), and the tallest already listed above.  The name is interesting as it means "proven", and that it is.  There are actually a few more trees that were measured to 190' (58 m) or better including a Panama Tree at 195' (59.5 m), the wild almond Dipteryx oleifera also at exactly 195' (59.5 m), but 30' 3" in circumference above the buttresses, and a second slimmer Wild Almond at 193' (59 m).  There are also several more species in the 180's that probably can achieve close to 200' (61 m).  After one more posting on Natural history in the high mountains, I will include a post with images from my third trip to the Osa Peninsula area which includes the Panama Tree and lots of other trees such as a second giant Kapok over 190' (58 m).  Below is the previously posted 208.5' Probado tree.



Bart
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This Probado tree is the tallest tree I have measured in Costa Rica or Panama Pterygota excelsa.
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#17)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:38 pm

Jess,

Actually you may be right on that, and these forests do have a distinct dry and wet season as well, also David Norman, who first introduced me to these forests, suggested that the trees do in fact put on annual rings.  The formation of annual rings does seem to depend on the species in question as well as the local climate.
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#18)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Larry Tucei » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:24 am

Bart-  Wow! Fantastic! Oaks Rule!!!!  I would love to get some of those acorns from the Grandfather Oak and grow some. Have you guys been growing any of the great trees you are documenting? That would be so much fun! I look forward to coming down to see these awesome trees in the future!! Great photos and posting! Keep them coming like everyone has said you’ve spoiled us- thanks for it all!!   Larry
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#19)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby Bart Bouricius » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:00 pm

Much appreciated Larry,

Oaks may rule, and as I said I will be visiting an area near the Quetzal National Park to verify whether Oaks really do rule in regard to height.  It is always fun to check out a rumor of superlative trees of great stature, and in Costa Rica I have just as often been positively surprised as disappointed when verifying tall stories of tall trees.  Possibly I will go back once more before before May 10 when we return to the US for 5 months.  During this time I will be headed for Durango in August.

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#20)  Re: Costa Rica: Astounding high altitude "Grandfather Oak"

Postby dbhguru » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:06 pm

Bart

 Ditto to what Jess said. You are spoiling us. We'll never be the same. We look forward to each next post with anxious anticipation. We'll settle for a 210 on you next excursion.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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Native Native Tree Society
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Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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