Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring 51: Survey

8:30am-9:15am, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
cool, overcast, a bit drizzly

Today's bird was pretty groovy - you'll need to listen beyond the noisy "chik" complaints of the squirrel behind me:

After catching him at the base of Bussey Hill, I took a slow and drizzly ramble down the Conifer Path. I enjoyed guessing if the trees I saw were pines, firs, spruces, or hemlocks, after having learned some clues at Acadia's National Junior Ranger Day. I especially remember a little mnemonic one visitor shared:
"Pines are plenty, firs are flat, spruces are square".

"Plenty" refers to multiple needles coming out of the same spot, "flat" is the general horizontal plane on which all fir twigs on the same branch lie, and I think "square" has to do with either the shape of the needle, or the 3-D, four-directional way that the spruce needles stick out of their twigs.

I was also relieved to see that all three of these trees are in the Pinaceae Family: I had been worried that my casual references to Acadia's "pine forests" were inaccurate, that the firs and spruces were a different family. But they are not!

Hurray for the Arboretum's painstaking labelling of each individual tree!


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