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Festival of the Trees No. 65

Image: Fallen sassafras branches, New Jersey
Snow-covered trees were not among the topics in the submissions in this round as the October 27 deadline preceded the Northeast snow event.  Last weekend, New York and other Northeastern U.S. cities received snowfall.  For New York it was record breaking: not since 1952 has snow fallen before Halloween.  My brother's sassafras (shown above) was still in leaf and lost a major branch due to snow loading. 

Image: Scotch Pine wasps, image courtesy of Seabrooke Leckie
Seabrooke Leckie's Canadian Thanksgiving was sunny and dry based on the photographs of the "nice patch of woodland habitat" near her in-laws house.  In that woodland, Leckie discovered Scotch Pine wasps feeding on the scale nectar produced possibly by Pine Tortoise Scale (Toumeyella parvicornis).

Another discovery comes by way of Dave at Fidaldo Island Crossing.  On a visit to Washington Park in Anacortes, Washington, he observed from a distance what he thought was a "wonderful, weathered old" but dead tree.  Dave later learned that the tree is a Seaside or Puget Sound Juniper, Juniperus maritima and until 2007, this species was classified as Juniperus scopulorum, the Rocky Mountain Juniper.  Furthermore, the population at Washington Park "is the most robust with hundreds of trees".

The freakish snow storm in the city last weekend postponed a local fall foliage tour.  I hope the tour is rescheduled before the peak of fall color and more importantly before the trees shed their leaves.  If you have forgotten why leaves change color, head to Rebecca in the Woods where Rebecca has composed a concise answer about the biochemistry of fall color and one that is beautifully illustrated, too.  Do you know the origin of the London planetree, Platanus x acerifolia?  Paul at The Street Tree has written an impressive natural history of one its parents, the Oriental Plane, Platanus orientalis.

Larry Ayers of Riverside Rambles captured the fall colors of a Black Oak, Quercus velutina -- so royally purple and blue!  Even more fall color can be seen at Tasting Rhubarb.  Jean wrote with her submission: "Looked up the other morning on my harassed way to work and saw these - what more can I say?"  Indeed!

Image: Beech, Ewden Valley, courtesy of treeblog
In addition to fall color, size and age are "wow factors" for tree lovers.  Ash at treeblog saw some "beautiful, jaw-droppingly large" beeches in a woodland in the Ewden Valley and the largest of the lot he has named "the King of Ewden".  Over at Human Flower Project, James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary of EarthScholars™ Research Group related the story of "a nearly infinite- looking, 3-mile-long, alley of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) and Coast Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) leading up to" Gerome Charles Durand's former plantation home in St. Martinville, Louisiana. More than 150 years later, only one mile of the original allee remains.

Arati at Trees, Plants & more experienced white of a different kind than the folks in the Northeastern U.S. did.  He was struck by a path lined with Morinda tinctoria whose flowers had carpeted the ground white in a local park.  I was struck that the first photo in Arati's post about a recent trip is of a Traveller's Palm, so named according to Wikipedia because the rainwater stored in its sheaths were used as emergency sources of drinking water for travelers.

I have never seen in person a Traveller's Palm or a Banyan Tree.  Uma of Mauve Sea has written and illustrated with photographs and drawings an essay about the oldest Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) in Chennai which is growing at The Theosophical Society there.  What I thought were several trees is actually "a clonal colony carrying memories of the mother tree in their fibers of existence".  See for yourself!

Image: Perry pears, courtesy of The Street Tree
More than any other time of the year, I associate the fall with food and eating.  Perhaps this is true for the authors who submitted the following posts about edible trees.  A street of Perry pear trees (Pyrus communis) near the Archway tube station in north London were preserved and now, Paul wrote, "the council picks the fruit each autumn (not since 2007 in such abundance) and local residents make use of them. Apparently one group has even made Perry" or pear cider.  Let's not forget maple syrup.  Mindful Momma wrote about a taste testing of Hudson River Valley-made Crown Maple Syrup.  Crown Amber Light was the family favorite.  If the persimmon tree would grow in the Northeast U.S., I would convince my brother to plant one.  I discovered the deliciousness of a ripe persimmon when I lived in California and count it among my favorite fruits.  I was pleased to receive the essay about "a special tree that is sharing it's sweet fruit with the world right now" from Rebecca of A Year With the Trees.

The year is winding down as is Natalie Raeber's The Tree Year Project 2011 the origin of which she explained at Save Our Woods.  Don't fret, though, there is still time to participate in The Tree Year.  Also, Natalie is seeking collaborators to extend the project into 2012 (contact her at tty @

Finally, I would like to offer my own contribution: an aerial photograph of the Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village, one of my favorite places in New York City.  The garden, completed in 1950, is home to a wide range of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials in addition to unique design and hardscape elements.

Image: Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village
I would like to thank the contributors for their help in producing this 65th Edition of the Festival of the Trees.  The festival relies on volunteers and needs your help: please volunteer to host!  Information can be found at


Vicky said…
Wonderful Festival! Thank you so much for hosting. Love that Pine Wasp photo!
Anonymous said…
Looks like a terrific festival - looking forward to spending some time with these posts.
Uma said…
Thank you for putting together this lovely edition of 'The Festival of the Trees'.
rebecca said…
Thanks for hosting - looks like a lot of great links, it'll take me a bit to get through them!
Larry said…
Thanks so much for putting this together!