area trees, Henry Foundation in Gladwyne, and National Lands
Trust WAWA Preserve
14, 2005 17:37 PST
Today I visited several National champion trees to report to
American forests for the new publication. There was good news
and bad news.
The first tree I visited was Gleditsia aquatica. I had never
seen one of these before today. Very cool tree. The seed pod is
the identifying feature, it is shaped kind of like an eye with
one seed inside. The tree had been trimmed by the utility
company, but stands in good health
121"cbh 74' tall 63 avg spread for 211 points. it was
110"cbh 74' tall 73'spd in 1993 for 202 points.
I then wandered down the road a ways to the Franklinia alatamaha.
It has decided to abandon it's larger leaders, and focus on
growing out instead of up. The original measurers took the
liberty of measuring this tree around the base, and not at 4.5'.
The tree branches very low to the ground. Here are the current,
42"cbh 33' tall 40' average spread for 85 points. It was
78"cbh at 6" before and had 126 points.
Next I went to the Henry Foundation in Gladwyne, to measure the
Magnolia ashei. This intersting property has 50 acres of plants
collected in the 1920's from what was then the horticultural
frontier. the southern midwest. Many native plants from Texas,
Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and the like were brought to Pa to
see how they would survive. The ones that did were then
propagated and selected from to introduce new cultivars. The
original pink form of Halesia monticola is on the property,
along with many magnolias. There are many hybrids on this
property that may be the only one of their kind. The bad news is
the Magnolia ashei had blown over two years ago. The good news
is that htere was another one that may take it's place.
62" cbh 44' tall 44' avg spd for 117 points. the previous
champ had 116 points in 1993.
Some other interesting plants that I measured were:
Carya ovalis var obcordata 124"cbh 92.3' tall 63' spd for
Quercus mohriana 49"cbh 41.3' tall 33' avg spd for 98
Magnolia kobus var borealis 86" cbh 45' tall 66' avg spd
for 148 points.
There were many other odd ball species there that I did not have
time to measure. I saw a Halesia parviflora, a Crataegus
spathulata, a Torreya, a big Arizona cypress, many intersting
Aesculus sylvatica. One looked like a contorted filbert. This
place is amazing. If you are in the area, a visit is worthwhile.
An appointment is needed.
My day continued with a visit to a Natural Lands Trust property
called the Wawa preserve. http://www.natlands.org/preserves/preserve.asp?fldPreserveId=60
Wawa is the native american name for the canadian goose. Wawaset
is the area where the corporation Wawa has there headquarters.
They operate the nicest convenience/gas stores in the area.
Rocky Run Creek runs through the 77 acre property, surrounded by
a mature forest of beech, red oak, sycamore, poplar, gum, and
walnut. This forest and the tall-grass meadows that are also
present on the preserve support deer, fox, small mammals and a
variety of grassland and interior-nesting birds, while the
stream provides important aquatic habitat. I did not find many
species worth measuring. The larger trees grow on the steep
banks of Rocky Run. The overstory consisted mainly of Tulip
poplar with white ash, beech, hickory, and red oak mixed in very
sparsely. The understory consisted of juveniles of the same
species, with red maple, dogwood, and spicebush pitching in. The
deer have browsed heavily in this area, and invasive plants have
a secure foothold on the property. I did see a pair of great
horned owls and several whitetail deer while measuring. Barring
the 20 degree temps, I came up with the following list of trees.
Mockernut 109.5 x 6.3
Red oak 111.7 x 11.1
Red oak 114.5 x 12.9
White oak 101.7 x 11.5
White ash 109.1 x 9.0
White ash 108.9 x 10.4
rucker index for six species is 113.7'
This patch of forest was not very diverse. I saw no black
walnut, sour gum, or other hickories as mentioned on the
website. There was only one Mockernut that I could find to
measure. There were alot of tiny hickories coming up, so someone
must have removed the larger hardwoods at some point. Tulip
poplar dominated the woods with about 70-80% of the trees being
this species. It was nice to be in the woods in the cold with a
full moon overhead. A great day off from work.
Philadelphia area trees (National champs)
16, 2005 16:16 PST
Thanks for the report on the Pennsylvania national champs. The
locust sounds quite impressive. I've only seen the species in
wild once, and it was nowhere near the size of that open grown
I remember the franklinia from photos in past calendars.
that tree at the ground was ridiculous. I'm glad you've set the
record straight on that one. The magnolias sound cool too.