22nov ~ Tulip tree leaves

The reason for the tree’s name requires no comment I suppose, but its presence here at Brawley Creek does.  It is a tree of the Eastern forest, and occurs naturally in Missouri only in the Bootheel.

I’ve always admired the tree but wouldn’t have chosen to plant it here as non-native to this area, but I’ve made exceptions before.  I was offered two bare-root seedlings and stuck them near one of the trails on the flood plain, with an eye to moving them somewhere else if they survived.

It is one of the fastest growing trees in North America and with only moderate procrastination, they soon reached the canopy, only to die during one of our summer droughts, demonstrating why they are not here naturally.  But they were not quite dead, and they sent up sucker shoots from the roots and now there are multiple trunks that are approaching the canopy again—awaiting the next drought, I suppose.

That’s why they are here at Brawley Creek, but they are here on this blog, because the colors of their decomposition are beautiful, and the form that takes is clearly defined by blocks of cells derived by from sub units of the leaf that previously appeared identical and now are dying at different rates.  It calls for an explanation, and I wish I had one.  

I don’t, but I happen upon a quote this week from Quinn Long, the Director of Conservation of the Missouri section of The Nature Conservancy, that I wish I’d said first.  He certainly speaks for me and I’m sure for many, if not all of you. “I realized from an early age that immersion in nature provided an unparalleled sense of wonder and tranquility.”  Bingo.

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