Coastal Redwood tree - Sequoia sempervirens

The main claim to fame for the Coastal Redwood (also called the California Redwood) is that it is the tallest tree species in the world, with the tallest actual tree being 379 feet tall. This tree species should not be confused with the Giant Sequoia, which is the largest (by volume) tree species in the world. Both the Coastal Redwood and the Giant Sequoia are native to the Pacific coast of North American in California and Oregon.

The seed cone of the Coastal redwood is quite a bit smaller than its Giant Sequoia counterpart measuring about 2 cm long (just under one inch). The cone has a similar look to those of the Cypress Sempervirens.

The "leaves" of the Coastal Redwood are very different from those of the Giant Sequoia. They are needle-like and flat, measuring about half an inch long. The branch structure can be clearly seen in the image below.

The bark of the California Redwood is quite thick, has a reddish color and quite fibrous.

Cherry tree blossoms in full bloom - Laurelhurst park

This is the time of year when Cherry trees burst into full color with their extravagant blossoms. In some countries, such as Japan and China, observing Cherry trees in bloom is almost a national pastime. These images come from a Cherry tree that I found a few weeks ago in Laurelhust park (Portland Oregen).

The day was a bit overcast and it was about an hour and a half before sunset so the sunlight was not overhead. The tree was also shaded by some rather large Sequoias and Douglas fir tree which made for a pretty soft light.

Portland, Oregon has a number of great park similar to Laurelhurst of which my favorite is Mount Tabor park, located near 60th and Yamhill in southeast Portland.

Yakusugi Cedar - Cryptomeria japonica

The Cryptomeria japonica is an evergreen tree native to Japan where there are many very old examples of this species that are revered as sacred trees. I found this tree however in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) in Stanley Park. Most of this park is virgin old growth timber but on one side of the park (the part closest to the city) there is a section where a good many exotic species of trees were planted long enough ago that they are now very large.

I was at first quite puzzle by this tree as it looked very different from any other evergreen I had seen before. A gardener was working nearby and upon inquiring about the tree we found out its scientific name.
As you can see from the pictures this tree was loaded with both pollen and seed cones.

I believe the name "Yakusugi" comes from the fact that this tree is native to Yakushima Island in Japan and that "sugi" is the Japanese for cedar.
The bark was similar to that of a Western Red Cedar.

Atlas Cedar - Cedrus atlantica

A few weeks ago I was able to visit Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. While walking around the park I came across a large Atlas Cedar tree (above). A small label on the tree identified the species as "Cedrus atlantica". Some sources however classify this tree as a subspecies of the Cedar of Lebanon "Cedrus Libani var. atlantica".

The image above illustrates how the short needles of the Atlas Cedar grow on small "rosettes" (small clusters of needles on the end of a short stem). It is very difficult to distinguish between this tree and its close cousin the Lebanese Cedar due to the fact that they have approximately the same number of needles per rosette and and the needles are the same length. The needle length is about 3/4 of an inch (2cm) with about 30 needles per rosette.

The seed cones of the Atlas Cedar stand upright on the branches much like fir cones. They are about 3-3.5 inches tall and 2-2.5 inches wide.

One curious thing about these cones is their habit of breaking off at the top when they start to disintegrate. It is quite common to find the tops of the cones are the ground that look like little dried roses.
The pollen cones are smaller with a shape quite similar to other evergreen trees.

Huge Cedar Stump near I-5 north of Seattle Washington

The following text is from the sign near this big Cedar stump…

Big Cedar Stump

This famous stump remains as evidence of the giant trees which once forested this aea. Over 20 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall, the huge “Western Redcedar” is believed to have been more than 1000 years old. Discovered by early settlers of the area, the following is a resume of its recorded history:

1893 – the stump was killed by a fire which started in its hollow base.

1916 – After the top was removed, Paul Wangsmo and Ole Rodway cut and chopped three spines from the core and cut archways through the stump.

1922 – After cutting the stump off at its base, Ole Reinseth and Slim Husby used horse teams to drag it north 150 yards where it was set on a concrete base.

1939 – the stump, by now cracked, was taken apart and pieced back together just north of portage creek, alongside the newly completed U.S. 99. One May 27, crown prince Olav and princess Martha of Norway drove through the stump.

1971 – The stump´s final move braught it here.

Western Redcedar - Thuja plicata

The Western Red cedar tree is what most people (at least in the Northwestern United States) refer to when they use the term "cedar". It is commonly used for fences and exterior siding because it can get wet without rotting.
It leaves and wood have a fairly strong and distinct aroma. This may be the source of the name "cedar" as this aroma is similar to the aroma of the true cedars (ie. Cedar of Lebanon).
I took the images in this post while on a recent trip to Washington state and Vancouver BC. The images above are from Berthusen Memorial Park in Lynden, Washington. The images of the two trees below are from Stanley park in Vancouver. I spent about four hours walking the trails of the park and observing the very large Western Red Cedars that can be seen throughout the park.
Due to a recent storm there were a great many trees that had been blown down and were being gradually removed park service crews. It was a pity to see even some of the very old giants lying on the ground. Another interesting sight in the park are the "nurse logs". These are logs or stumps that have decomposed and have smaller trees growing on top of them and benefiting from their nourishment.
The BIG stump in the picture below is found at a rest area along Interstate 5 north of Seattle but south of Arlington. It is all that remains of a giant Western Red Cedar that grew in the area before it was killed by a fire in 1893. The stump of this tree is 20 feet across at the base.

Giant Sequoia tree - Sequoiadendron giganteum

This tree (above) is one of six Portland, Oregon Heritage trees of the Giant Sequoia species. It is located on the campus of Western Seminary at 55th and Hawthorne in Southeast Portland. It is over 100 feet tall and has a trunk circumference of 22 feet. In the nearby area around Mt. Tabor there are many more large specimens of the Giant Sequoia tree, some of which are also listed as Portland Heritage trees. They are not difficult to spot as they usually stand quite a bit taller than the trees around them. The ones that are easily accessible try the area around the water reservoirs on the west side of Mt. Tabor park.

The image above shows the “cone” of the Giant Sequoia tree both as a green cone and also what it looks like when it is dried out and falls to the ground. These cones are about 2 inches or 5-6 cm in length.
The leaves of the Giant Sequoia are similar to those of the Western Red Cedar but are thicker and have pointy ends as can be seen in the pictures below. The younger specimens of this tree species usually have a uniform conical shape with branches all the way down to the base of the tree. Very old and large specimens are much more irregular with lower branches a long way up the tree.
The Giant Sequoia is the largest tree species in the world when measured by volume. There are taller trees and trees with wider trunks at the base but there is no other tree species that comes even close to the volume of the Giant Sequoia trees. The champion of this tree species is the General Sherman tree.

Monkey Puzzle tree - Araucaria araucana

The Monkey Puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) is a tree native to South America. It is one of the strangest and at the same time most interesting trees that you will find. It is in the same tree family as the Norfolk Island Pine, the Cook Pine and the Bunya Pine (the araucaria genus). The pictures of this tree were taken in Portland Oregon.The images below is of a small new Monkey-puzzle tree that has begun to grow underneath a fairly large mature tree. I am not sure if this new tree is a volunteer from one of the roots or if it is from a seed.

The branches of this tree tend to break off right at the trunk after a number of years leaving only the branches towards the top of the tree still intact. When the trees are young this is not so noticeable but as the trees get on in years this habit gives the tree a marked “umbrella” shape with a tall branchless trunk leading up to a broad canopy .

I recently came accross this Monkey Puzzle tree in Portland, Oregon (near 82nd and Gleason). In recent weeks I have seen similar trees also in Northern Washington and in Vancouver BC in Canada. Unlike some of the other Araucarias this tree seems to handle freezing temps.

Like the other members of the araucaria genus this tree has rather unique leaves. The leaves grow along the full length of stems that can measure over one meter in length. The individual leaflets are simple in shape, although quite pointed , and are about 3-4cm in length. These individual leaflets stay on the stem until the whole stem turns brown and falls off the tree. Even when these stems lay on the ground the pointy leaflets still hold fast to the stem making for dangerous place to walk bare-footed.

Also posted in "Evergreen Tree Species" Blog.