Forage Friday #99 My Best Hardwood ID Tip.

Just a few decades ago I was given some good advice on identifying plants and animals and it came in the form of a question. “Do you need a reference manual to remember your friends faces?” The question was intended to provoke a new attitude in learning all the wildlife in my area.  It’s important to learn the name of a plant and to be able to connect the common names with the scientific name in order to learn the plant’s attributes and how it can be used etc but that’s just data retrieval. If you’re going to know the plant when you see it you’re going to want to know it’s face. 
Social media is an awesome opportunity to network with other enthusiasts and share information about almost everything. And one of the greatest benefits is the ability to post a photo of a plant and crowd source the identity. But there’s something that I’ve noticed around the general public that’s different from the scientific community and that’s that almost nobody looks at the leaf scars when trying to get an ID on a tree or bush. So tonight I’m going to try and introduce you to a couple of easy ones. We’re going to try and keep it simple. No long and complicated scientific names or complex methods of breaking down the more “geeky stuff”. I just want to share a few basic patterns to give you a start in the right direction.

So just like when we first meet our friends we’re going to try and memorize their faces. And when I was first learning how to identity trees by the leaf scar I subconsciously made the scars into a face in my mind. No two species of woody plants have the same “face” but we will see a family resemblance within the same families.

From left to right. Flame Azalea, Mountain Magnolia and Buckeye.

To the right of the page we see three different twigs from my yard. I’ve zoomed in and cropped down the images to isolate the scars from last year’s leaves. What I want you notice is the overall shape of the “face” made by the scars and the pattern of “freckles” on the face.  The freckles are actually what’s left behind by the vascular vessels when the leaves drop off in the Fall. It’s these 2 patterns that are unique to each species of woody plant.

Most people recognize the leaves themselves and that’s a great start but because most of the trees in Appalachia lose their leaves once a year we may not have the leaves to work with when we’re trying to make maple syrup for the first time or collecting the inner bark of a specific bush to treat an infection in a survival situation. But the leaf scar is there all year and is a very reliable marker.

The pattern of distribution is also a great clue in learning the identity of a tree. Mountain Magnolia Twigs in Early Spring

Here is a Mountain Magnolia from my special spot where I like to be still. Notice how the leaf scar seem to spiral around the tree in whorls? Even with leaves gone its easy to envision what the twigs will look like in a few weeks when they’re green again.  The size of the leaf scar also gives a little clue that this tree has some very big leaves. ( Over 12 inches! ) And of course the size of the buds are another clue as seen in the next photo. The Mountain Magnolia Leaf Buds.

I haven’t actually measured the length of the buds but the terminal buds (The ones on the end of a twig.) are about length of my ring finger give or take a knuckle. But the buds just above the leaf scar are absolutely tiny.

Another tree with a huge bud is the Buckeye growing just a few feet away.
You’ll notice from the collage above that the Buckeye has a longer “face” than the  Magnolia. Like the azaleas it’s almost heart shaped the “freckles” tend to follow the margins. In the azaleas the freckles are in the center of the leaf scar and the azaleas have much smaller scars.

The terminal buds of a young Buckeye.

The end buds of the Buckeye are fatter than the Magnolia and almost as long. They’re also pink this time of year but throughout the winter they are brown.

Now let’s compare these two with something much smaller. 

Sugar Maple Buds and scars.

Here’s a sugar maple that popped up a few years ago. The faces are small and kinda hard to see in this photo but they are Crescent shaped and there are 3 freckles. One in the center and one on each end.  We can also see the distribution pattern here is “opposite”. The leaves and twigs occur in pairs on opposite sides and the twigs terminate the three buds.  Now the sugar maples have a cousin on my place and that’s the Box Elder.A young Box Elder showing it’s family resemblance to the Maples.

Now the faces on this twig are difficult to see because of the age of the twigs but they are also Crescent shaped. The buds are also in the opposite pattern and would have three buds on the end of the twigs however the local deer population has decided to sample them.

Willow Leaf Scar


The last example I have for you tonight is a willow twig.  The scar doesn’t really resemble a whole face as much as it does a single large eye. However it is an example of how individual species can have a unique face so that when the leaves are off we can still have a way to identify the tree.

So in closing tonight’s Forage Friday let me plant the idea of taking advantage of the summer by creating a journal and writing your own guide book. Either take a decent photo of both the leaf and last year’s leaf scar or if you’re artistically inclined sketch them. Another good way to preserve the image is a charcoal rubbing of the features. Once you have them you put them in a binder along with details about how to use the different plants.

I’ve only shared the method for learning the identity because once you have that the internet is full of guides that will give you the names of each plant.  You’ll want to take note of where it was growing and in what kind of environment to aid in the ID. Once you know the name and face you can fill in everything else and using a good binder lets you add pages as you learn more. 

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Thoughts On Time.. It isn’t really changing.

Hello Friends!Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Tiger In Gray 91420” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

I’ve never really been a big fan of changing the clocks. In the grander scheme of things it doesn’t really do anything except for changing the schedules. The arch of the sun doesn’t change. But they tell us that they have changed time. Now, I actually own and know how to operate a solar clock and I’ve recently acquired an hourglass. On my observation when aligned properly the solar clock does not yield to man’s laws and flow of sand through the hourglass is just as steady. Time as a natural force has not even noticed the decrees of world governments. Time as it exists in this world is set by the hand of God himself. In past articles I’ve referred to time as a river. We can only touch one little piece of it for a moment. Yes we can cup a little water in our mortal hands and we can even drink it down but we cannot truly hold it indefinitely. Our hands will dry and our bodies will process that which we’ve swallowed. We cannot own it. We can only use it for a while. We can dam up a river and say that we’ve conquered it but the river will only laugh as it fills the reservoir and escapes. It’s the same with time. We can only hold it for a limited moment and use it. We can use it for ourselves or we can use it for someone else but we cannot hold it back. Eventually time will escape our grasp and if we chase after that lost moment we’ll only miss the one coming behind it. One of the reasons why I chose a butterfly for tonight’s Feature Image is because their lives are generally temporary. Some live a few years and others only a few weeks. At the adult stage the Swallowtail butterflies only live about 2 weeks. In spite of all its beauty it’s grasp on mortal time is weak. Perhaps that’s why you don’t really see them resting for long. They don’t have time to waste in concern of things that they can’t control. So tonight I only have one simple thought to share. Do what you will with the clocks but don’t waste your precious time. All we really have is the moment in which we exist.

Thank you for spending this moment with me!

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Looking Skyward In February

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Skyward In February 22321bw” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s thought is simply to never lose your childlike sense of awe and take time out for a little tranquility in your life. Which is what I’m doing tonight. I’ll be back to normal posts on Monday night.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

The Heart That Walks

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Adventurous Soul 111920bw” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The cool mud squishes up between happy toes and the scent of the oncoming snow fills the wind. Ears twitch in anticipation of the slight thumping of a familiar heart. The is lifetime experienced in a single moment for those who fury faces and wiggling tails live only to be loved and to love in return. Canine wisdom teaches us how to give ourselves with little explanation. It’s all about the bond between the two legged and the four legged. If I was charged with creating the first language and naming everything as the first man, Adam, was charged I believe that my word for dog would mean “Heart that walks”. He never fails to greet us with joy in eyes and a smile in his voice. His only desire is “Be with you” when he sees his family. Sometimes I think that God gave us dogs to teach us the value of unconditional love.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Around The Bend

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Bend 113020bw” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The low rumble of a distant train echoes across the river as the unseen train makes its way upstream. After a lifetime of listening to the tracks you learn how to tell the difference between a train load of coal and an empty train. This one is empty. I suspect it’s on its way to be filled. The horn blares out a mournful tone at the crossing. I can’t help but let out a silent howl of my own as she passes on hidden by the wilderness around us.

We don’t always see what’s on the other side of the bend in the tracks but that doesn’t mean it’s completely alien to us. Last night I had some thoughts about peace and fear. Fear of the unknown is probably the most common. What’s waiting around the next bend? Forget the exact quote or who said it but the unknown is always expected to be more grandiose than it actually is. The monster in the closet typically turns out to be a mouse that’s trying to find its way out. The lottery ticket is most likely a worthless piece of paper. And the “New Normal” in reality is a temporary thing that’s not normal at all. It just fills the gap between changes. How can anything that changes so regularly be regarded as “normal”? I never really understood that. But I digress. The point of course is that it’s when we can’t see what’s on the other side that we stop focusing on our peace and start to concentrate on fear. Fear is a hungry beast and when we give it attention it consumes everything. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t have any concerns about the future but only that we shouldn’t dwell on the negative. If we acknowledge the truth it should also include the fact that we are overcomers! We have that peace of mind that allows us to plan effectively. And if we can see how to get beyond the bends of our lives we really have little to fear. God is a way maker. He’ll handle what we can’t.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement:

I am adding additional social media to my network. Eventually, I’ll be leaving Facebook behind for a multitude of reasons. Even though the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page is strictly non-political I have been restricted from interacting with followers with no explanation for why. But it’s not just that. For years now Facebook has throttled content providers in general. They encourage us to grow our audience and then want to sell us back the access to them. In addition, they collect and sell the data from our interaction. So Facebook has become an entanglement of thorns. In response I have created the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe. We can still interact directly on the blog but starting today I’ll be looking for more platforms that respect the privacy of my followers and don’t limit who gets to see the post.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!