Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ponderosa Pine: Yosemite

Ponderosa Pine bark-Yosemite National Park

Can you see the "puzzle piece" look to the bark? I found this to explain the bark's appearance:
Approaching 125 to150 years old, the furrowed Ponderosa Pine bark again transforms, taking on the flaky reddish-orange to yellowish colored bark of old-growth trees. Composed of numerous thin layers that resemble jigsaw-puzzle pieces, this colored bark gives the trees their nicknames “yellowbellies” or “pumpkins.” Resembling an impressionist painting, the bark pieces are a subtle mosaic of yellow and brown hues.
(I would recommend reading this whole article because I found lots of really great information on the Ponderosa pine from it.)

"The pines are among our most ancient trees. Their foliage is evergreen but is shed gradually. The pollen-bearing and the seed-producing flowers are separate on the trees. The seeds are winged and are developed in cones."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 674
There is a whole section on various pines along with observations ideas on pages 670-675 of the Handbook of Nature Study. I found that most of the ideas are applicable to any variety of pine tree.

My field guide says this about the Ponderosa Pine:
"Sooty grouse, California quail, and both red and gray squirrels eat the seeds: porcupines feed on the inner-bark, deer browse the twigs and needles. Native Americans are reported to have used the seeds for food and the trunk resin to waterproof fiber and wicker containers."

I love learning more about my local trees.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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