Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pacific rhododendrons of the forest interior

The native Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) which grows around Western Washington and other parts of the Pacific Northwest are truly among my favorite “trees.”

When rhododendrons grow with other pioneering tree species in clear cuts, they are squat and bushy. However, in the interior of the forest, where there is ongoing competition for light, the rhododendrons grow into elegant, leggy creatures extending branches in all directions.

The rhododendron with whom I spent much of my time for this project is one such example. My best estimate (using a dead alder skeleton as a guide), is that her highest branches extend some 6.096 meters high. Her arms reach in all directions, bunching up where the light gaps are most generous.

In this image, you see what it looks like to stand at the base of the primary trunks and look up through the rhododendron branches. Whenever I look at this picture I am overwhelmed by the smell of rain on her smooth leaves, the sweet duff covering her roots, and the crisp hemlocks which keep her company.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.