Friday, December 02, 2016

Birch season

Now that the leaves are off the trees it's the birches I'm noticing more, rather than the grander beeches, oaks, and tulip-trees in the same woods. The ones shown here are black birch (Betula lenta), not to be confused with the birches in Robert Frost's poem, which were — he insisted — gray birch (Betula populifolia). In common with other birches, their bark has prominent lenticels — horizontal pores — though these may become less visible on older specimens.

These are adaptable and malleable trees, susceptible to injury and rot but also possessing a great ability to heal themselves and keep on growing. Once they fall, though, they are quickly consumed by rot.

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