Book Corner 2021.17

I have to give a shout-out to this book. I purchased it on a whim at L.L. Bean in Ellsworth, ME on vacation. I’ve since read the entire thing, slowly. What makes this book special is a couple of things:

a) It is not a guide you are meant to flip through when faced with an exotic species of tree. It’s meant to be used the opposite way – read about a tree; then, when you go outside, try to find examples of that tree. Preferably not while driving – I’m afraid this book has semi-permanently altered my road attentiveness for the worse. But that’s my only complaint about it. Also, note that all the trees in the book will be common to our northeasterly region of the U.S.

b) The book has absolutely no dependency on foliage; hence it’s useful year-round. Lord knows foliage can be in short supply for what seems like an endless majority of the time up here in the great often-white north. No, instead the book relies on bark, trunk, twig, & situational identifiers.

You’ll also learn that the most common trees of the region are the red maple, as far as deciduous; and the white pine, among the conifers.

I haven’t fully digested most of the details, yet. But I can now recognize sugar maples and elms by their shapes; and aspens by their two-toned trunks; beeches by their foliage clinginess all winter long; and birches by their peeling bark (though I cannot get the hang of telling apart the yellow, the gray, and the black – only the white birch is obviously what it is).

Also, identify white pines by their groups of 5 needles; red pines have two needles, and pitch pines three. Firs are “flat” and “friendly”… spruces are prickly.

You’ll learn so much! (  )

Red maple, the most common deciduous tree of the northeast; recognizable for the redness of its trunk, twigs, and fall foliage. Also, only the maple the ash show opposite rather than alternating branching. See how the twigs on this branch are always paired, directly opposite each other? Most trees will not do this.

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