March 20, 2008

I think it's about time I admit it. My name is Tim, and I have a problem. I don't know what kind of a tree this is. I should know, I work in two nature centers, I live in Minnesota with it's high per-capita treehugger population and I walk by them nearly every day by the creek. They are unique with their peeling golden bark and little dangling doojobbies in the spring.
Dangling doojobbies.
I was nearly positive it was a type of birch. The logical part of me wants to say Paper Birch, but the realistic part of me says no, that's the white kind, even tho the bark of the white kind doesn't peel off in as extreme of a manner as this one. Plus, if the Native Americans first used Paper Birch for paper, don't you think it would look like golden colored recycled peeling bark and not bright white lined peeling bark that looks like it just came out of a laser printer? I mean papyrus does not look like 93 bright bond. But I know, the white one is the paper birch. So my next logical assumptive leap is, isn't there a Golden Birch, or a Yellow Birch? I could see somebody calling it that. Parts are definitely golden, maybe yellow. But no, those I seem to remember are found "up North" and this is in our boggy south central area, and in the metro no less. More than likely it's a Parks Dept. Forestry replant. Could be anything. They usually try to plant natives, or barring that, something that grows, or barring that, whatever somebody gets a crazy idea to plant that year.
So after some web research, I conclude that it is called a River Birch. Not so prevalent in our area in the last 30 -50 years but slowly moving north up the Mississippi and Minnesota River floodplain (like they have one anymore) and west across Minnesota. Why it's the southernmost birch species in North America, spreading to Florida and Texas and the only native birch resistant to the Bronze Birch Borer beetle larvae. Shoot. Oh, Oh, here we go, widely planted by landscapers, it was the Urban Tree of the Year for 2002 (Woo Woo!) Yes!
It is also called the Water Birch or the Black Birch. Ya. So much for logic.
This is a red hot smoldering furnace that melts unsuspecting cars with poor emission controls or rental cars from the airport being driven over 55 Mph.
And this, if I recognize it correctly, would be the hardware for the new city-wide wireless internet service, strapped to the light pole not 25 ft. from our front door! I guess that leaves us with only one option: START A COFFEE SHOP IN OUR HOUSE!!!!