Frankfort KY and Its Trees III
Bill Long 7/11/09
Sixth Essay on Louisville Trip
What are the other 75 species of trees constituting 34% of the street and park trees of Frankfort KY? Here is the list. Even though this is a question framed in terms of Frankfort, it relates broadly to all of us. By learning street trees, we are into the "first room" or "antechamber" of knowledge. We can follow this up with learning the street trees/park trees in our own community, and then build gradually upon that knowledge. You never will look at these dominant presences in your life again in the same way once you learn their names.
Thinking about the Other 75 Species
It might be helpful to group the other 75 species in names of genera at first, before getting down to single exemplars. In addition to the three Acer or Maple varieties listed in the last essay (sugar, silver, red), the city of Frankfort has 3 others:
1. Acer negundo; Box Elder 72
2. Acer platanoides; Norway Maple 9
3. Acer palmatum; Japanese maple 5
What is interesting to me to note is that the last two are very plentiful as street trees in Salem, OR, while the Box Elder is rare. Yet, in the midwest and east, the Box Elder is all over the place. Take a little time to distinguish the Norway from the Sugar maple, and you have six species of maple trees under your belt, all of which are quite useful to know.
There are only two birches listed:
4. Betula nigra; River Birch 1
5. Betula papyrifera; Paper Birch 1
These are unfortunate numbers, since both exemplars of birch are terrific trees. In the west, we have European Birches (Betula pendula), which are ugly and very common street trees, and Jacquemonti Birches (Betula jacquemontii), which are attractive and similar to the Paper Birches. There is also a cutleaf European Birch that is fairly common in our parts.
What is striking to me is the variety of hickory-type trees in Frankfort KY. These trees, of the Carya genus, are relatively rare in the Northwest; you have to study a great deal to find out where they are. But here is what we have in Frankfort:
6. Carya cordiformis; Bitternut Hickory 13
7. Carya laciniosa; Shellbark Hickory 1
8. Carya ovata; Shagbark Hickory 5
9. Carya tomentosa; Mockernut Hickory 2
There is a nice Shagbark Hickory on the Capitol (OR) grounds; a Mockernut of note is in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland.
There are 36 exemplars of the Catalpa speciosa, the Northern Catalpa. We have lots of Catalpa bignoniodes, a Southern Catalpa, in Oregon. These are the "bean tree," an attractive huge-leafed tree.
There are 18 examples of the Celtis occidentalis, the Eastern Redbud, with its pleasant heart-shaped leaves. By far the largest number of dogwoods is the Cornus florida, or Flowering Dogwood (48). The ugly Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is only represented by eight exemplars, while we in the NW have several varieties all over the place.
A Pause on Some Unique/Near Unique Species
Though one could seemingly go forever on the "common" species, it is good to study those with only a few examples, just to see what some person in Frankfort was thinking at some time in the past...
There is one Cotinus coggygria, the fascinating Smoke Tree.
There are two Elaeagnus umbellata, Autumn Olive.
There is a single Albizzia julibrissin, Silk Tree.
There is only one Celtis laevigata, Sugarberry.
There are three Aesculus glabra, Ohio Buckeye. I love 'em.
There are nine Ginkgo biloba, the Gingko. Very popular here.
There are two Hibiscus syriacus, rose-of-Sharon. Plant, too.
There are nine Ilex opaca, American holly. Sharp.
Some Other Trees
Well, let's return to some that are a little better represented. I love mulberry trees, especially because of the leaves and the fruit. The leaves of the white mulberry, for example, Morus alba, are of three varieties, while the fruit of the red mulberry, Morus rubra, tastes delicious. There are 28 of the former and 12 of the latter in Frankfort. Study them, and the mulberries will be a friend. I also note that the KY coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus, has 11 exemplars. It used to be the state tree until replaced by the tulip tree or, as Frankfort has it, the "yellow poplar," Liriodendron tulipifera, 22 exemplars. Then, there are the standard trees like the Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, with 27, the Black Walnut, Juglans nigra, with 56, the Fraxinus americana, White Ash, with 75 and the Gleditsia triacanthos, Honeylocust, with 24.
In The Middle
Though the following are relatively rare in Frankfort, they are common enough elsewhere to be noted. There is only one Blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica, but it is common elsewhere (one at the State Capitol grounds, OR). Crabapples abound everywhere, I suppose, though not so frequent in Frankfort (30). There are four Sourwoods, Oxydendrum arboreum, and eight Royal Paulownia, Paulownia tomentosa. The spruces are well-represented, with 19 Norway (Picea abies) and 19 Colorado Blues (Picea pungens). Nine Austrian Pines (Pinus nigra) complement the 141 Eastern White Pines an the six Pinus echinata, shortleaf Pine.
We could go on and on for a while, but I think I will stop here. You see how you could proceed, with a method geared to giving you solid and useful knowledge of trees in a relatively quick space of time. It is only the beginning, however, since this can open up an entire world of learning for you, a world that is as exciting as it is rewarding.
Now, back to the rest of my trip...