Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Selection of Trees on Orcas Island

Even though the San Juan Islands are only a few miles from my home base of Bellingham, the trees are different. At my first early morning site earlier this week I got to see a nice mix on a south facing slope on Orcas Island. Madrones are common all along the shores of the Salish Sea and Douglas firs are all over, but lodge pole pines are not so common and Juniperus maritima are very restricted. A short while later I got to see some interesting mature Garry oak.

Pacific madrones are common along the edges of and on steep slopes of the Salish Sea. The seem to thrive in hash challenging growing conditions. This one is growing out of glacial till and bedrock fractures

Pacific madrone bark is part of its aesthetic appeal

Douglas fir is a champion at growing in all sorts of environments

Base of the Douglas fir holding loose soil together just above the bedrock
Note the drift wood logs tossed up and propped up by the tree

A rare tree in western Washington - Juniperus maritima

Lodge pole pine.

Locally lodge pole is often called shore pine but I don't care for the term because it does well away from the shore and in fact some of the thickest stands are on the higher slopes of Orcas Island. But the tree shows up along the shore in dry area as well.

A mature Garry oak in the park-like setting on the south side of Turtleback Mountain

Garry oak on its side

The downed Garry oak had not bee blown down recently. Clearly its heart wood was in poor shape, but the outer wood and bark were in good condition and the tree had done a fair bit of healing and as can be seen still was producing leaves as can be seen by the leaves on the ground around the tree and a few still clinging to the tree. I have seen this sort of thing at other sites on Turtleback Mountain with Douglas fir - a curious thing.

Tipped over but recovered Douglas fir on Turtleback Mountain

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