June 3, 2018 – Native Tree Walk with Owen Clarkin

On June 3, MFNC joined Owen Clarkin on the Hemsley property near Braeside to hike through forest and fields while identifying trees and many other sorts of plants as well.

Some interesting points that I picked up along the way:

Trying to get rid of invasive species is fruitless.  We should be putting our efforts into reintroducing native ones.

Not all Buckthorn and Honeysuckle are invasive.  We have a native species of each.

Staghorn Sumac, named for its velvety branches, is native here but we have exported it to other places where it is now invasive.

We often plant Sugar Maple in cities but Black Maple does much better in poor conditions. It’s pretty too.

Basswood is great for carving and it is the most common wood found in old church carvings here.

We learned the characteristics of the different Ashes and also learned that they are very quickly disappearing.

Young trees, for example, Oak and Maple, have huge leaves in the understory of the forest.  That way they can capture more light.

Balsam Poplar, one of our 4 native poplars, has a very sweet smell, especially on a humid day.

If the bark on a Beech tree looks odd, it is probably infected by a fungus.  A foreign species of insect cracks the bark and then a native fungus gets in.

Most trees fruit well only once a decade or so.  Somehow, the members of a species seem to be coordinated in this.  How do they communicate?!

Balsam Fir needles stay on long after the tree is dead, so they make good Christmas trees!

Baneberry (Doll’s Eye) fruit is poisonous, therefore its name; it is a “bane”.  In general, white fruit is poisonous.

And there were many more things that I learned…..

Many thanks to Owen and to Anne and Ross Hemsley for a wonderful day.

Owen Clarkin with Anne Hemsley and Art Goldsmith

Interrupted Fern

Owen with invasive Buckthorn



Large leaves in the understory