And now for a closer look at this amazing tree (For Part I of this story: LINK):
Preliminary size statistics
- Average canopy spread (drip-line): 41 feet
- Approximate height (improvised clinometer): 26 feet
- Minimum trunk circumference: 77 inches
Leaves. Thankfully, a few leaves remain on the tree. The leaves are simple, as opposed to compound(like walnut or sumac), they are finely toothed, and the larger of the leaf blades above are 2 1/4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide. Notice also that the leaf blade tapers to the petiole (the tiny stalk that attaches the blade to the stem) and from there continues down the sides of the petiole in narrow strips. So, the petiole is slightly winged.
Branches and stems. Looking up at the limbs of the tree, notice that stems and leaf buds are arranged in an “opposite” pattern. This simply means that two leaves or stems are attached at the same location, but opposite one another and on either side of the stem. Also interesting is the regular angle at which the stems branch out.
Flower buds. Flower and leaf buds are noticeable at the ends of the stems. I looked inside of one bud; the swollen buds contain tiny immature clusters of next year’s white flowers. Notice the conspicuous appearance of the bud as it extends to a point. The leaf buds are more slender, as they don’t contain florets. The stems and buds are hairless, and upon cutting the stem a hexagonal pith is revealed.
Fruit. The fruit is nearly black, 1/4″ -1/2″ long, and hangs in drupes. Only a few drupes remain on the tree, but fruit and seeds are easily found amid the grass under the tree. The flesh of the fruit is dark colored and quite sweet. A flat ovate seed is found in the center.
Leaf Scars. Notice the narrow leaf scars on the stem. Last year’s leaves have fallen, revealing three bundle scars in each leaf scar. Each tiny little bundle scar represents a “cross-section of vascular bundles that ran from the branch into the petiole when the leaf was attached” (Oregon St. Herbarium).
- Giant Mystery Tree…Part I
- Giant Mystery Tree…Part II
- Giant Mystery Tree…Part III
- Giant mystery Tree…Part IV