Monday, January 10, 2022

Tree following 2022: looking for a tree, I find two

Balsam poplar?
Just before Christmas, I set out to find a tree to follow in 2022, specifically a balsam poplar. A few grow along one of my favorite nearby hikes. Since I go there often, it seemed a convenient tree to follow. Also, balsam poplars are not common in our area, so I look forward to getting to know one.

Balsam poplar is boreal, with outliers in North America as far south as Colorado (source).
There ARE balsam poplars here ... somewhere.
December is not the best time for spotting these poplars. They're leafless, and grow among their relatives, quaking aspens, which they resemble. But I found several candidates—mature trees with furrowed bark nearly the length of their trunks. Mature aspen also have furrowed bark, but only at the base.
I think this is a balsam poplar, Populus balsamifera.
Quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides.
Large leaf is likely from a balsam poplar, with smaller aspen leaves.
Then I met up with a very nice pair of trees—a large most-likely balsam poplar right next to a magnificent aspen. These will be my followed trees in 2022.
Tree buddies.
Aspen crown silhouetted against the sky. The light was too dim to catch the poplar.
I took a few more photos, but soon it was dark. While I enjoy cold and snow, winter days are too short for me. At least they're getting longer now!

Holly-leaf or Oregon grape, Berberis repens (NOT a true grape).

Recognize these "twigs"?
Equisetum! (scouring rush). 
Pale yellow vertical lines are aspen trunk reflections on ice.
More ice art.

This is my contribution to the first gathering of tree-followers for 2022, again kindly hosted by The Squirrelbasket. It's a great time to join in the fun—it's easy and stress-free. More information here.


  1. A fun tree to follow. I'll look forward to your continuing posts about it in the months ahead.

  2. It'll be interesting to read all about these two trees through the coming year. xx

  3. Replies
    1. Yep! Pole Creek near the abandoned campground.