Beautiful Trees of the Upper Midwest

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir      The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books

 

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The ash derives from the glaucous undersides of the leaves. It is similar in appearance to the green ash, making identification difficult. The lower sides of the leaves of white ash are lighter in color than their upper sides, and the outer surface of the twigs of white ash may be flaky or peeling. Green ash leaves are similar in color on upper and lower sides, and twigs are smoother. White Ash leaves turn yellow or red in Autumn. Despite some overlap, the two species tend to grow in different locations as well; white ash is a forest tree that commonly occurs alongside sugar maple while green ash is a pioneer species that inhabits riparian zones and disturbed areas.  Its compound leaves more often than not have 7 leaflets per leaf whereas other ash trees are usually more diverse.

 

The tree species Aesculus glabra is commonly known as Ohio buckeyeAmerican buckeye, or fetid buckeye.

It is native primarily to the Midwestern and lower Great Plains regions of the United States, extending southeast into the Nashville Basin. ] It is also found locally in the extreme southwest of Ontario, on Walpole Island in Lake St. Clair, and in isolated but large populations in the South.   It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15 to 25 m (49 to 82 ft) tall.

The leaves are palmately compound with five 8–16 cm (3.1–6.3 in) long and broad. The flowers are produced in panicles in spring, red, yellow to yellow-green  long with the stamens longer than the petals (unlike the related yellow buckeye, where the stamens are shorter than the petals).

The inedible seeds contain tannic acid and are poisonous to both cattle  and humans. The young foliage of the tree is also poisonous.

 

Native Trees of the Midwest 

Quercus rubra @ Tortworth Court.jpg

Quercus rubra, the northern red oak, is an oak tree in the red oak group.  It is a native of North America, in the eastern and central United States and southeast and south-central Canada. It grows from the north end of the Great Lakes, east to Nova Scotia, south as far as Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and west to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota.  It has been introduced to small areas in Western Europe, where it can frequently be seen cultivated in gardens and parks. It prefers good soil that is slightly acidic. Often simply called red oak, northern red oak is so named to distinguish it from southern red oak.

 

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Pinus resinosa.jpg

Pinus resinosa, known as red pine or Norway pine, is a pine native to North America. It occurs from Newfoundland west to Manitoba, and south to Pennsylvania, with several smaller, disjunct populations occurring in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and West Virginia, as well as a few small pockets in extreme northern New Jersey and northern Illinois.

The red pine is the state tree of Minnesota. In Minnesota the use of the name “Norway” may stem from early Scandinavian immigrants who likened the red pines to forests back home.

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What’s in a forest sky? — Piney Tribe

By now with social media injection into our daily lives we all have seen an image of the forest sky. You know when your hiking through a forest and you look up and see nothing but trees you take out your camera and snap a photo of the view above your head. Why do you think that is so interesting to folks?

The image above captures the dark mood of an Atlantic cedar grove with a cedar burl nicely. So what is the mood or feelings that the hiker is experiencing while staring at the forest canopy above? I’ll wager its a combination of things. If they are alone and new to the trail area it may be a bit of fear as the trees of the forest eclipse the sun. Giving the person a feeling of confinement. Hopefully that is but a fleeting emotion one that is hardwired into our caveman’s DNA.

Another feeling or mood that captures my thoughts at these moments can be described in a song lyric by Leon Russell. He sang, “And I love you in a place where there’s no space or time. I’ve loved you for my life, you are a friend of mine”. I find happiness in that moment. A sense that the trees are forever. That each single tree is but a part of the one living thing- the forest. The trees at the top they all got there over years of growth but that growth was together. Each tree’s presence inspired the surrounding trees to reach for the sky. The sunlight was their goal their reward was a long life surrounding by family.

If you know the forest trees that you are looking at well enough you may feel and understand your own life’s timeline and the space that it takes up. The trees above may stand as a reminder to you that your short time on this earth is dwarfed by the time these green sentinels enjoy. When one stands in a Florida Bald cypress forest and realizes the trees towering above are over 500 years in age one can not but feel young and question one’s own use of time on Earth. It’s definitely time well spent when one wanders into the woods!

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via What’s in a forest sky? — Piney Tribe