Monday, February 25, 2008

A poplar topic

We tend to call them tulip poplars around here, but they are also commonly known as yellow poplars or tulip trees. Reaching heights up to 120 feet, they are the tallest trees native to Pennsylvania, and they thrive in the Wissahickon.

The odd mixture of wild and urban that characterizes the park, gives us access not only to the great ramrod-straight trunks that crowd the slopes of the gorge, but from the higher bridges that span the Wissahickon and its tributaries, the vast spread of their upper branches. This time of year, cross the Walnut Lane or Henry Avenue Bridges, or in the case of this photo, the McCallum Street Bridge, which spans the Cresheim Creek, and you will find yourself amidst bare branches and twigs studded with the tree's strange fruit, reminiscent of the tulip shaped blossoms from which it gets its name.

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