The Sycamore Tree

Nature Walks

Here is a sycamore tree from one of my walks. Sycamore wood isn’t great for firewood, nor carving, for it is weak, however, it is a faster-growing shade tree and therefore a popular landscaping choice in some areas. This can be a problem as it frequently sheds its weak branches in storms! As unhelpful as it may be for practical purposes, I still am fascinated by the patterns you find on sycamore bark. It’s almost like camo print, and I’m sure that a camo print based off this bark would be quite effective. The tree produces a ball seed pod almost like a sweet gum tree, but the way you tell the difference is that sweet gum pods are painfully spiky whereas sycamore pods are more soft, and you can crush a sycamore pod easily in one hand.

Sweet Gum Tree in Early Fall

Nature Walks

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I saw this tree on a nature park in the local area. It has star-shaped leaves. You can see the spiky seed pods ripening. About the size of a ping-pong ball, they are dark brown and very sharp once they fall to the ground. The wood is light colored with dark streaks and very hard. It makes a marvelous fire wood, but is challenging to split. I do not carve wood, but I think it would make a beautiful handle with the coloring and hardness qualities.

Wild Asparagus Berries

Nature Walks

There is a planting in my area where, at some point, somebody planted asparagus among the normal decorative flowers. It fits in very well with the rest of the plants and provides tall, frond-ly delicate branches to the background among hostas and other perennials. I have no idea if anyone harvests the asparagus any more, as most of the locals let their dogs go to the bathroom right along that area. I was lucky enough to walk by when the asparagus had berries! I have not grown asparagus before this year, and my own asparagus is quite small. I had no idea it had such bright little berries!

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They were challenging to focus on with my camera.

Pokeweed Plant

Nature Walks

This is an American plant that is EVERYWHERE and very difficult to remove from the garden due to its enormous taproot. If you leave even a bit of the root, the entire plant comes back next season, and the root goes very far into the ground. To top it off, the plant is poisonous to humans (though songbirds eat the berries just fine), and so you have to be careful with it. Colonial Americans would use the fermented berries as an ink to write with, and my research shows that it was a lovely red-purple color, like the darker part of the berry stems on this image. I would love to have the opportunity to use for my art such a beautiful ink made of plants native to my home (though I’d have to be very careful while using it!)

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