Portrait of a Tree – XVII – what IS that?
As I’ve hiked around Acadia, I have found many trees with these “bulbous” growths coming out of them. This is not at all common in (no pun intended), the “neck of the woods” from which I hail (Pennsylvania), but seems to be a very common occurence here.
Most of the growths I have seen have been on pine trees. Check out this tree near one of carriage road bridges I recently visited:
This particular tree has two of these growths occurring along its trunk. With a little research, I learned that these are called “burls”, and Wikipedia describes them as follows:
“A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.
Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, prized for its beauty by many; its rarity also adds to its expense. It is sought after by furniture makers, artists, and wood sculptors. There are a number of well-known types of burls (each from a particular species); these are highly valued and sliced into veneers for furniture, inlay in doors, picture frames, household objects, automobile interior paneling and trim, and woodturning.”
And here I thought they (burls) weren’t pretty!
A few days ago, I came upon this massive burl which was all that remained of this particular tree. I thought it made for a very interesting natural “sculpture”. I can’t help but wonder how many years it took this growth to form.