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Pop Quiz – Barking Up the Right Tree

Posted by rdsayler | March 20, 2023
Trunk of Conifer Tree
[The “pop quiz” tree has a large trunk. Hat at the base for reference. Photo by R. Sayler.]


So you think you’re pretty good at identifying trees, flowers, and other plants? Okay, let’s find out with a little pop quiz. But please don’t stress. No grading here! It’s just for fun!

Here’s the details. Let’s say that you’re walking along an urban street in the city of Lewiston, Idaho, and you happen to notice some large conifer trees planted in a row on the edge of a residential city lot and walk over to investigate.

What you see is a large tree trunk (maybe close to 3 arm lengths around), slightly buttressed (flared) at the base, with coarse and deeply furrowed dark, reddish-brown bark as in the above photo. The bark is not peeling, but is quite coarse with furrows nearly 2 – 2 1/2 inches deep. And the tree is probably 75-80+ feet tall. See the following photos for more visual hints.

Bark of Conifer Tree
[The tree has extremely coarse bark with deep furrows. Photo by R. Sayler.]
Bark of Conifer Tree
[Furrows in the bark are deep, probably 2+ inches. Photo by R. Sayler.]
Group of Conifer Trees
[The trees are tall, probably 75+ feet. Photo by R. Sayler.]
Looking up into the canopy of some conifer trees.
[View looking up into the canopy of the conifer trees. Note lower shaded branches dropping off. Photo by R. Sayler.]

Pop Quiz: 

What kind of tree is it?

But before you answer, you might consider a few details about what you’ve seen. First, the trees are obviously planted in a row and so are not “natural” in the sense that someone must have planted them there some time ago. That observation means that the trees are not necessarily ‘native’ to that site or even the local area. However, not to be unfair and have you guessing from among all of the potential trees of the world, we will at least tell you that the trees are native to the western United States. That should help tremendously, if not give their identity away.

Need a little hint? (click to see hint #1).

Need another hint? (click to see hint #2).

Think You’ve Got the Answer?

When you’re ready to see the answer to this pop quiz, click here.


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