The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: group 6 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

February 25, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: group 6

Twenty Questions, continued:

#14: Now that we know you’re playing in a 1,200 mile wide breadbox, you’re talking about an area that includes nearly half the country.  Let’s see if we can’t box it in a bit more.  Are you going east of the Mississippi River?  No.  And, to save some time, we’re not going north of the Platte either.  But you already knew that of course, since our box has a WNW/ESE orientation.

#15: Hey, what happened to question #13?  There is no question #13.  It’s too unlucky.  It’s like floors on skyscrapers.

Today’s ride

Let’s pick up on the rest of Group 6 that we bailed out on last week.  We’ll still leave behind that China Fir on the east side that I biked right past last time, and stick with the ones closer to home.  I’ve got a short route mapped out - 13 miles - but it should fill up a good chunk of the afternoon.  It’s pretty hilly, and some of these trees will probably be vexing to locate.

I begin by biking straight west, crossing the Portland State campus on my way to Montgomery Street.  For all the times I’ve crossed the fairly small PSU campus, I’ve never taken exactly this traverse.  It takes me past a feature that I didn’t know was here: the Walk of the Heroines.  This is a small garden plaza and commemorative wall.  From the PSU website:

The Walk of the Heroines realizes a vision — of a special place to honor the women who have illuminated our lives. This innovative, educational park gives artistic recognition to women's vital contributions. Whether as teacher, scientist, business or political leader, artist, or athlete, or in the more private roles of mother, sister, friend, or volunteer, women shape our lives, our culture, and our society.

The commemorative wall of the Walk of the Heroines. The bronze statue is Knight of Tomorrow 574, by Linda Stein. Her description of the work: it represents the heroism of all women by signifying an “everywoman” who has met the challenges of history and contemporary life.
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The walkway includes quotations from renowned women of the past. Here are two that resonate with me today.
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The first tree on today’s list, a White Fir, takes me up the west hills toward Council Crest - steeply up, as I follow Montgomery Street as it curves around the contours of the cliffs surrounding Goose Hollow.  I haven’t been up this way for probably two years, and have forgotten how steep it is.  It’s also a very beautiful ride, passing through an elite neighborhood with many fine old houses with great views across the city.  If we had an extra million or ten to toss around and didn’t mind a grueling climb home at the end of the day, we could live up here too.

Finally I find the tree I’m after, tucked down an alley at the end of a narrow dirt path.

We’ll take this one. Looks like a stunning place to enjoy your morning or evening beverage. Someone else can do the yard work.
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Ron SuchanekI'll housesit for you!
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5 months ago
I’m sure this would grow old and stale over time if you saw it every day. Better to just come across it from time to time and be shocked afresh.
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That’s the white fir, standing tall next to Rodriguez. This is the best perspective shot I could get from this narrow, cramped space.
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Abies concolor, the white fir. Tree 283 in the inventory is 87’ tall, but in the wild and at higher elevations can top 150’. Common in the west, but rare in low elevation Portland.
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Cones of the white fir are slender, 3-5 inches long.
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So that was a lot of work for just this tree, but it’s the only target up here today.  I coast back down Montgomery, across the Vista Bridge, and down to Goose Hollow where a trio of trees await, all within a few blocks of each other.  

Tree 128 is Cedrus atlantica, an Atlas Cedar. A native of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, it can grow to 150’. Cloistered in a large yard behind a tall fence, it’s hard to get a decent look at. A bit frustrating.
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Somehow I don’t associate a tree like this with northwest Africa. It would look quite at home in our coast range here in Oregon.
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This Austrian Pine is really a beautiful tree, but a bit awkwardly placed and hard to get a look at. Tree number 5 in the inventory, it’s one of the earliest designated heritage trees. It is believed to have been planted in the late 1800’s by Henry Miller, one of Portland’s first florists.
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The trunk of the Austrian pine is really colorful and elegant. It makes me want to go back to Austria again and see it in the wild.
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The needles of the Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) come two to a bundle, 3-5 inches long.
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Rodriguez can’t resist a pretty wall.
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Here’s another frustrating tree that is hard to get a look at, is poorly placed, and isn’t even labeled that I can see. According to the guide map though, this has to be #6, the Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani).
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Assuming I’ve found the right tree, this is another one planted by Henry Miller. Very rare in Portland, it’s the national tree of Lebanon and portrayed on their flag.
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The previous trees were a bit frustrating to find, but the Endlicher Pine is even worse because of an error in the guide.  In the guide its address is listed as on Jefferson Street, down in the flats on the edge of Goose Hollow - just a few blocks from the last three trees.  The map though shows it as being up in Washington Park, near the Rose Garden.  I try both. The map is right, but it’s still not that easy to find because Washington Park is covered with one impressive tree after another.  I do a fair amount of circling trunks of big trees before finding the one I’m after.

Found it!
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The Endlicher Pine is a native of the high mountains of Mexico.
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Five to a bundle, 6-8 inches long.
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Another look at the Endlicher Pine.
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So many trees and flowers have come into bloom in just the last two weeks. I always forget what this one is.
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Bill ShaneyfeltHellbore?

https://portlandnursery.com/perennials/hellebore/
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5 months ago
Bruce LellmanWow, that's a really nice fancy hellebore. And a nice photo of it too.
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5 months ago
Jacquie GaudetSo that's hellebore. I'm only familiar with false hellebore, which grows in the alpine in BC and doesn't look anything like that. I wonder how it got its name?
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltOh, of course. The Lenten Rose. This was only Fat Tuesday, so I’m a day early.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI had to be reminded of this beautiful flower last year too. Maybe next year I’ll get it on my own.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetI’m glad you asked, because I’d wondered too. It’s from the Ancient Greek word helleborus. “Genus name comes from the Greek words bora meaning food and helein meaning injures/destroys in reference to the plant’s toxic leaves, stems and roots which are poisonous to humans if ingested.“
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5 months ago

The next tree, a Dawn Redwood, is even more of a challenge to find and to reach.  Deep up in the Washington Park arboretum, it’s a stiff climb followed by a ride down a dead end, unmarked gravel road.  I hope I’ve mapped it out right on the GPS.  I’m not even sure what the name of this path is, even if it were marked: it’s listed as Bary in the tree guide, but as Bray on Google Maps.

And, of course, this being the arboretum, there are awesome trees everywhere you look.  I wander through a grove of likely evergreens, but they’re all Norway Spruces.  They aren’t listed as heritage trees; and surprisingly enough the Norway Spruce isn’t in the inventory at all.  But they’re impressive enough that I’ll include them here anyway.

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Bray Lane
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The Norway Spruce grove on Bray Lane.
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I’m starting to feel discouraged and am considering giving up when a park ranger walks up the path.  We chat, he confirms the spelling of the unmarked Bray Lane.  Then I ask him about the dawn redwoods, and he points down the path and around the bend.  He also says they’re easy to spot now because they’re all brown and leafless.  He said they’re just starting to bud out and won’t be green for another month yet.

A leafless redwood?

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The Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is a deciduous conifer. This is news to me - I thought all conifers were evergreens. I should come back later in the year and see these in leaf.
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Andrea BrownWestern and Eastern larch (larix) are deciduous conifers. Gingkos used to be classified as deciduous conifers but are now a genus of their own.
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5 months ago

When I arrive at the Dawn Redwood grove, I read the plaque and get really excited.  What a wonderful thing to find here - a living fossil, and the first cone bearing tree of this species in the Western Hemisphere in six million years!  It was worth the whole quest to come here and find this.

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Jen GrumbyWhat a great find!
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5 months ago
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The Dawn Redwood is a deciduous conifer.
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Bill ShaneyfeltDeciduous conifer, like a larch, of which we have an extremely messy example in our street divider (we live on a boulevard) about one house down from us. Until a few years ago, I did not know there were deciduous conifers either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larch
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI didn’t know larches were deciduous. They’re common out here, at higher elevations. We occasionally ride out to Larch Mountain, in the amount Hood foothills east of town. It’s always a summer ride for us though. I don’t remember being up there at a time when they’ve lost their leaves.
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5 months ago

This was such a great discovery that I consider stopping here for the day.  It’s almost 4, it’s getting cold, and after dropping back out of Washington Park I’m not keen on climbing back up again to reach the last tree on today’s list, an Umbrella Pine.  I don’t like the idea of leaving it behind either though - it’s the last conifer on the list in this quadrant - so I dig deep and persevere.

It’s worth it, and not a letdown.  I’m surprised when I come to it because Rachael and I have biked past this tree a hundred times, bombing down Cornell on our way down from Skyline Drive.  It’s such an odd tree too - doesn’t quite look like a pine to me.  More like a cross between papyrus and cedar.

And, I’m right - it’s not a true pine at all.  It’s a Sciadopitys, a native of the island of Honshu, Japan.  No wonder it looks so familiar.  Like the Dawn Redwood, the Umbrella Pine is another unique tree, the only member of its species, and another veritable living fossil that dates back millions of years.

So when do we get to go back to Japan again, Rocky?

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The Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata), a native of Japan.
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Looks more like a papyrus to me.
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Or perhaps a cedar.
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Keeping Score:

Group 1 (7 species):  grand fir, willow oak, hedge maple, Douglas fir, incense cedar, tulip tree, sugar maple.

Group 2 (9 species): silver maple, Japanese cedar, oriental plane tree, European beech, American chestnut, copper beech, mockernut hickory, basswood, butternut.

Group 3 (9 species): ginkgo, crape maple, northern red oak, deodar cedar, bigleaf linden, giant sequoia, coast redwood, Japanese pagoda tree, Mount Fuji flowering cherry.

Group 4 (8 species): Zelkova, Carolina poplar, Japanese red pine, Katsura, bur oak, river birch, catalpa, wych elm.

Group 5 (8 species): Monkey puzzle tree, western white pine, boulevard cypress, madrone, single needle pinyon, pecan, Coulter pine, Monterey pine.

Group 5-1/4 (2 species): Port Orford cedar, English yew

Group 6 (6 species): White fir, Atlas cedar, Cedar of Lebanon, Endlicher pine, Dawn redwood, Umbrella pine.

Dropped (1 species): paradox maple, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist.

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