Sunday, April 18, 2010

European Silver Fir - Abies alba

The European silver fir (abies alba) gets its name from the silvery color effect caused by the white stripes along the undersides of the needle like leaves.  It is a common tree used for Christmas trees in Europe and North America, prized for its color, shape and for the fact that its needles are not excessively sharp.

Smooth gray bark

Detail of the undersides of the needle like leaves. Notice also the alternate pattern arrangement on the branch.  The needles themselves are flat and also have a flat arrangement on the branch.

The branchlets also form a geometric pattern (common to most true firs)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Monkey Puzzle tree cones

I recently came across a large Monkey Puzzle tree in Portland, Oregon with some mature seed cones on the lower branches. This allowed me to get some good pictures a good bit closer up than I have in the past.
These cones are about the size of a softball, measuring about 12-15 cm in diameter (4-5 inches). They are a rather peculiar cone for a rather peculiar tree and occur at the terminal ends of this evergreen tree species rather peculiar branches.
This particular tree was rather loaded with the female seed cones as you can see in the image below.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Incense Cedar tree seeds

The seeds of the Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) are released from a pod shaped cone that opens up like the mouth of a crocodile except that the crocodile probably does not have as much of a tongue as does the opened cone of the Calocedrus decurrens tree.
The mouth-like flaps of the cone open wide on each side to reveal four winged seeds inside that are released and dispersed by the wind. The image below shows both the seed cone as well as the male pollen cones (small light green on the tips of the scale like leaves). This image also illustrates well the branch and leaf form of the Incense cedar tree.

Below is an image of the cone before it opens which was taken about two months prior to the images above.