I’m way overdue for a tree of the month selection! This month I picked red horse chestnut, Aseculus x carnea ‘Briotti’. I actually haven’t seen this tree in bloom before and I think it’s quite exotic looking for New England. This is probably as close as we in the Northeast will be able to get to crape myrtles, the ubiquitous blossoming tree seen so often in street plantings and mall parking lots in the South.
Though I technically missed March, my tree of the month for March is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). March is maple sugaring month here in New England–maple syrup being one of the main reasons that the sugar maple is worthy of being named tree of the month.
A reader asked about a tree in the Great Indian (or Thar) Desert in Rajasthan, India. Khejari (Prosopis cineraria), also called kandi, khejri, jand, and ghaf, among many others, is found mainly in the dry and arid deserts of India, where annual rainfall is 10-20 inches. Khejari are found on plains and in ravines, rarely in the hills. In these areas, there can be wild temperature extremes, ranging from 104-114 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade to less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, when frosts are not uncommon.
Image courtesy of Dr. Erick C.M. Fernandes, Cornell University
Marcescence is when a plant part dies but is not shed. It’s most frequently noticed in the winter, when certain deciduous tree species don’t lose their dead leaves. Oaks and beeches have normally marcescent leaves. That’s an oak at left, and marcescent beech leaves are pictured below the jump.
I caught a terrible cold this week, plus I had an emergency request from a client, so I’ve delayed my next post about last week’s visit to Blithewold. But I promised tree porn, so here it is. These are a few of my favorite trees on the grounds of Blithewold.
To the left is a photo of one of the tallest giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) east of the Mississippi. Yep, you read that correctly, right here in little Rhody is a giant sequoia. It was planted in 1911 and is about 90 feet tall–a munchkin by California standards but still pretty impressive.
I’m sort of a cemetery perv–I love visiting them and taking photographs, even though graveyard photos are so cliche. And if you have access to a big public cemetery, it can be a great place to learn about trees and horticulture, because often the specimens are labeled.