|The Hackberry Tree|
|Hackberry Nipple Galls (what I originally thought might be
butterfly eggs) caused by Hackberry Gall Psyllids
(also known as “plant lice.” YUCK!!).
|The Winged Elm, which has little “wings”
on the twigs.
|The Chinese Privet, which is native to China.|
|The Honeylocust. But why is he looking at that tree like that?|
|Because of the 8″ thorns coming out of the trunk. (YIKES!)|
|The Osage Orange (known for its heavy,
bumpy green fruit, the hedgeapple)
|Red Mulberry, Levi’s favorite.|
|Tulip Poplar (or Yellow-Poplar), Tennessee’s state tree|
Thus far, we’ve identified at least 20 different types of trees. But in doing so, one thing I’ve learned is that I have a lot to learn. The identification of trees is pretty tough (and my children are not nearly as excited about it as I am!). There are tons of things to consider in just the leaf itself. In fact, I’m still just learning the vocabulary on how to describe a leaf! And then to ensure proper identification, you need to observe the leaves, fruit, flowers, and seeds through the seasons, and consider the bark, twigs, and shape of the tree as a whole. (What’s more, my favorite field guide series, Kaufman, doesn’t have one for trees!)
Our Long-Term Project: A Botany Book
We are starting to make a botany book with photos, samples of leaves/twigs/thorns/seeds/etc., and bark & leaf rubbings. We’re pressing the leaves we’ve collected thus far and have even been experimenting with ways to preserve them (heat laminator vs. clear contact paper vs. another method?). As we add trees to our botany book, we’ll include drawings, observations, thoughts, and a fun fact or two.
My hope is that one of these days, we will be able to go up to any tree on our farm at any time of year and know exactly what it is. Just like my sons can now say, “There’s a Black Swallowtail [Butterfly]!” I hope they can also one day say, “That’s a Black Locust [Tree].”
If you’d also like to make a nature journal or botany book, some of our favorite resources have been:
Squidoo – Nature Journal
Guide to Sketching Trees
Handbook of Nature Study Blog – Freebies, including our subscription to the Outdoor Hour Challenge
Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study (Or, in this case, just the Plants and Trees Part)