We took up the challenge of observing the evergreens and Pine Trees around our travels this past week. Many of the trees on the coast are evergreen – and we have an endless array of “Pine Cone” trees.
We are lucky enough to have a beautiful forest to the east of our home. There is a maintained trail that we like to hike. Taking the dog out this weekend, Nate and I tried to see how many different pine cones we could collect. (I didn’t seem to take any photos of the actual cones!) The soft small cones were abundant. Light tan in color, soft to the touch, uniform nubs, about the size of a #6 round paintbrush. Although we saw Hemlock and other trees, we didn’t see any other cones.
(Red Alder cones were abundant on the ground)
Every once in a while, I would find a cone that had wider petals on it, with a three pronged spike – although the spike as soft to the touch. I would look up and around but could not find the source of the cone.
When walking in an older growth forest, dense on the forest ground with vegetation, branches usually are not reachable to pull down a cone. This bark to the left is what I was walking in.
I am going to assume that this is a Sitka Spruce trunk.
Suddenly, I saw three of the 3 pronged cones in one area. A few steps further and I saw 5 or 6. Looking up all of the trees resembled each other. Looking straight ahead, I noticed a different form of trunk.
I am going to assume that this is a Douglas Fir Trunk.
Looking up doesn’t help much with needle count and such.
This one lone pine on the hillside did not have any cones. We have usually studied the “Pine” cone for these, so I was ok with not searching for one. This little guy looks like he would like to grow into a large Ponderosa Lodgepole some day with the red bark and straight trunk!
See the two different trunks? Sitka Spruce with the choppy and Doug Fir with the straighter lines.
Here is a Shore Pine (Lodgepole that has been bent by the wind) that was right in front of our car.
A little Cedar is thrown here and there as well.
We came home and sketched out the cones. Nate had Identified them correctly in the field, and he has brought it up a couple of times since then, of “Are you impressed I knew the difference?” Yep. Even though his sketch book of pine cones started out as Pink Sitka Spruces and a Banana Pie. . . . . Jon’s pine tree branch lacked a little length, so he is calling it the JonnyLego Tree Branch. If you are studying Sitka Spruce or Douglas Fir and need a photo or graphic of the cone – I can email one.
Stop by the challenge – and be challenged, join in on the fun, and find 15 minutes to enjoy an outdoor walk this week!