small beauties: purely ponderosas

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[ A close view of a Ponderosa tree; the outer layers of bark are scorched black, but much of the black has broken away to show the orange-tan bark beneath. ]

The fire here was older than the fire at the last place I looked. How much older? No idea. I’m still learning this stuff.

This is why I call it ‘puzzle-piece bark’ though.


[ A small piece of Ponderosa bark, maybe an inch across, but the shape is complex, reminiscent of a puzzle piece. ]

This is the way I usually find Ponderosa resin, which is why I don’t often try to collect it.


[ Long, narrow threads of pale yellow resin trail down over scorched-black Ponderosa bark and bare wood. ]

Here’s a nice find — a cut trunk shows a cross-section of the many thin layers of Ponderosa bark that one protected this tree.


[ A view, from above, of the remains of Ponderosa bark, made up of many thin parallel layers. ]

This one was already down when the most recent fire came through. Even in death it resisted, burning only the surface layers; most of the trunk is still there.


[ A downed Ponderosa trunk, perhaps a foot and a half wide, still, even though the entire surface is charred black. ]

The remains of a stump, burned out from the center; this one must have been mostly rotted away when the fire came through.


[ Two sections of the stump are left, a small chunk to the right, and a larger one to the left; the curve of the trunk is still visible on the left side, though all of the wood has been charred, and much of it has burned away. ]

But even fairly small Ponderosas can survive, if they’re healthy & the fire is low-intensity.


[ Three young Ponderosa pines, none broader than four inches at the base, stand in a rough triangle. The bottom couple feet of each is burnt, and the needles on the lower branches are dead, but all three are healthy, with plenty of green needles at the top. ]

The more I learn about these trees, the cooler they are.

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