The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 14 - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

August 3, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 14

For anyone new to this show, I began the Portland Heritage Tree Quest roughly a year ago with the goal of viewing an instance of every species listed in the guidebook for The Portland Heritage Tree Program.  I viewed it primarily a way to legitimize leisurely jaunts through Portland neighborhoods while Rocky was off on much more ambitious training rides, and for that it’s been most successful.  While she’s been racking up the miles and enjoying some alone time (something harder to come by when we’re on the road), I’ve gotten some fresh air and a modest bit of exercise while discovering some new neighborhoods I’ve never seen before.  And I’ve learned a bit about trees along the way, some of which has even penetrated my dense skull and taken root.

We’re finally at the end of the road.  With only 20 remaining species in the catalog, I’m confident that I can complete the circuit in the next two weeks, before our planned flight to Zagreb.  I’ve carved up the remaining list into three chunks, and today I’m off to see the ones on the west side of the river.

Crossing the Willamette River on the Hawthorne Bridge. For those that think the city is a virtual war zone now, note that it looks as beautiful as ever if you steer clear of the epicenter of the nightly demonstrations by the federal courthouse.
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Today’s first tree, in the Northwest’s Alphabet District, is a Japanese maple - a well known species, one of the few trees I recognize on sight.  This impressive example is of course large for the species, and twice as wide as it is high.  It is a tree that would be really spectacular in the fall, but we won’t be here then.  Maybe some year we’ll spend autumn in Portland and I’ll repeat the quest, seeing many of these trees in their most colorful season.

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Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple. This one is #178 in the inventory, and has been listed since 1998.
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This Japanese maple is nearly twice as broad as it is high: height 28’, spread 53’, girth 7.4’.
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The next tree, a Lavelle hawthorn, is in the heart of downtown.  I walked past it many times in the years when we lived about a mile from there, without taking specific notice.  Actually, it’s one of a set of four Lavelle hawthorns, all designated heritage trees, lining the sidewalk in front of the First Unitarian Church.  

One of a set of four Lavelle hawthorns in front of the First Unitarian Church, all heritage trees.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI'm used to seeing hawthornes with trunks 6-12 inches diameter. That is huge!
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1 month ago
The Lavelle (Crataegus x Lavelle) is a hybrid, dating back to 1980.
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Jen GrumbyCool shot!
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Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks. I thought I’d shoot for the sky here because the street view is a bit scruffy at the moment.
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This is another tree best seen at a different time; in the spring when it’s in blossom; or in autumn, when its leaves turn bronze; or a kinder age when the streets aren’t filled with homeless encampments.
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The next tree, an Oregon ash, takes a bit of work to get to.  It’s high up on the slope of the west hills about 600’ off the valley floor, and it’s a steady steepish climb up Montgomery to get there.  When I finally arrive, the tree is a disappointment.  Not because it isn’t a magnificent specimen, but because I’ve seen this exact tree before in group 13.  I biked up here last winter also, but overlooked it this week when I was matching against the catalog to determine which trees I still needed to visit.

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This is the same Oregon ash we saw back in group 13. Still a very fine tree, but maybe not worth the climb up here a second time.
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Two bikes, one biker.
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From the nice but unneeded Oregon ash, we’re headed across the ridge to Multnomah Village, on the south side at the outskirts of Hillsboro.  If I hadn’t been coming this way to see the ash again I could have biked along Terwilliger Boulevard to get there, a much easier route that skirts the worst of the hill.  Now that I’m here though, the shortest and best way is over the top; so there’s still some climbing to be done.

So one mistake for the day was to revisit the Oregon ash.  The second was a mapping error.  It looks like I must have mapped this route with walking as the mode of travel instead of biking, because my route takes me up a steep staircase.  By the the time I realize this, I’m at the end of a dead end street; and it’s a long descent to get back to a paved alternative.  After staring at the steps for a few minutes I decide to just carry the bike up them instead.  

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Not a good choice for bike route, but 13 steps isn’t terrible. Hopefully this is the end of them.
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Actually, now that I’m up here it’s quite a nice path. Too narrow to bike, but a pleasant little walk.
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Foop.
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Jen GrumbyFoopsidaisies!
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A half hour later, I pull up to the final stop of the day - an address with three of my remaining trees to be visited.  When I pull up, it takes me a minute to realize that I’ve been here before also - last winter, when I was disappointed to be unable to see the Bald cypress and Lacebark pine listed there.  The address is of a very large wooded property  that holds six different heritage trees, none of which is visible from the road.  Well, there is one that I can see the label on.  I can’t make it out though, because of my third mistake of the day - I brought the wrong camera and don’t have a powerful zoom that would allow me to read the label.

So, a big disappointment.  It looks like I’ve got another three species to drop from the quest because I can’t get access to see them.  And, it’s clear that drop-ins are not welcome: 

I don’t know what a Scapigera is, but I’m taking no chances.
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Then, looking down the long driveway I see a man looking back at me.  I think I should explain my presence so he won’t be alarmed. He welcomes me in and then instructs me to wait while he get’s his wife (hopefully not a dreaded Scapigera).

What follows is probably my most rewarding experience of the entire quest.  Karen and Ken show me around their property, with Karen acting as a tour guide and giving me history of the property and extensive information about each of the heritage trees.  Karen was born on this property, originally a homestead site.  Her father established a nursery here at the end of the Second World War, and operated it for about forty years.  Karen and her husband are retired now, have moved back to the property, and are gradually restoring it - cleaning out underbrush and opening up access to landmark trees.  Her goal is to find or reestablish one of every species that was in her father’s final nursery catalog before he passed on.

Karen was very generous with her time, was a font of interesting detail, and seemed quite pleased to have an interested audience.  I was wishing I could have recorded the whole encounter, or at least have taken notes.  

During this visit, I was frustrated by the fourth error of the day.  By bringing the wrong camera, I also had brought one who’s battery was almost dead.  With only a few shots left, I was sparing with them as we worked our way through the trees.  I’d like to have taken a bit more time and images.  Also though, I’d love to be here in the fall when the leaves are changing.  As Karen described it, it sounds like it would be a magical place to see.  Maybe some year.

Karen and Ken.
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Jen GrumbyWhat a great experience! So nice of them to show you around.
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Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt really was great. If we’re ever in Portland in the autumn again I want to head back up there and pay a second call.
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A dawn redwood. We saw examples of this fascinating tree (a deciduous conifer) last winter in the Arboretum, when the leaves were all bare. If I understood Karen correctly, this tree is the parent of all those in the arboretum.
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It’s great to see this dawn redwood in bloom. Really an elegant, graceful tree.
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The dawn redwood.
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This is the Bald cypress that I was unable to see earlier this year.
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The Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum.
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The Bald cypress, a native of southeast US, is another example of a deciduous conifer.
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Halesia monticola, the mountain silverbell, is another native of the southeastern US.
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Acer pictum, the painted maple. Native of Southeast Asia. A tree that sounds like it would be wonderful to see in its best season.
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The painted maple.
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I love this tree, the Persian ironwood (Parrotia Persia). The tree can grow as a multi branch shrub like this one, or as a single stemmed tree.
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Karen described it as a puzzle bark tree, which is very descriptive.
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Exfoliated bark coats the ground beneath the Persian ironwood.
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I think this is still the Persian ironwood, but I’m not certain.
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Still the Persian ironwood? I really lost track here. It was too confusing to keep track of so many new trees seen in close succession.
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I know what this is though. This is the Lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) that I missed seeing last winter. Native of northern and eastern China. What an astonishing trunk! I think if I could just see one tree again, this might be the one.
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Karen also has several Trees of Merit, a designation for worthy trees that haven’t received heritage trees yet. More or less heritage trees in succession, waiting for an earlier one to lose its place. This is a Cryptomeria, but we’ll see another of these soon.
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A giant Eastern white pine, another Tree of Merit.
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Another Tree of Merit, but unfortunately I can’t name it. Karen told me, and even spelled it out; but I lost it.
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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.

Group 7 (6 species): China Fir, Blue Atlas Cedar, Eastern White Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, Yellow Bellflower Apple.

Group 8 (5 species): Himalayan Pine, Gray Pine, Apache Pine, Italian Stone Pine, Loblolly Pine

Group 9 (6 species): Sycamore Maple, Japanese Larch, Spanish Chestnut, Weeping Willow, Oregon White Oak, Oregon Myrtle.

Group 9.5 (4 species): Southern Magnolia, Empress Tree, Saucer Magnolia, Yoshino Cherry.

Group 10 (4 species): Apricot, Weeping Cherry, Rhododendron, Gravenstein Apple.

Group 11 (10 species): Common Horse Chestnut, English Walnut, European Hornbeam, American Persimmon, Silver Linden, Sasafrass, Southern Catalpa, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Dogwood, California Buckeye.

Group 12 (7 species): English Elm, London Plane Tree, Scarlet Oak, Chestnut Oak, Caucasian Wingnut, Smooth-leaf Elm, American Sycamore.

Group 12, continued (4 species): American sweetgum, Judas tree, Canyon  live oak, European white elm.

Group 13 (9 species): Black walnut, Pin oak, American elm, Cucumber tree (?), Duch elm, Ohio buckeye, Shellbark hickory, Oregon ash, Weeping beech.

Group 14 (7 species): Japanese maple, Lavelle Hawthorn, Mountain silverbell, Persian ironwood, Cryptomeria, Bald cypress, Lacebark Pine.

Dropped: Paradox Walnut, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist. 

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