|Ray Metcalf, "Plant Guy"|
|Black cherry tree, with a bark |
"like burnt Corn Flakes"
|Northern catalpa or "cigar tree"|
Climbing the hill we passed the overgrown remnants of an old farmer's road that I had never noticed before. We saw a white oak with the clear signs of an old lightning strike down one side of its trunk. We paused at a tree which was nearly covered in burls, where Ray described them as kind of a tree "cancer" in the way they replicate cells, but unlike cancer in the fact that they virtually never cause the tree any real harm. These burls are often coveted by woodworkers who love to turn them into objets d'art; on the trees themselves they are quite unseemly, for the most part. Just at the top of the hill we came upon a northern catalpa or "cigar tree", notable for (and recognizable by) its tendril-like seed pods which often remain attached to the tree throughout the winter months and give the plant its nickname. From there we headed inside the African Rainforest pavilion to learn about plants native to that part of the world.
|White Bird of Paradise (you need to look|
rather closely at the middle of this)
|Close-up of a gingko leaf|
Or maybe that's just me?