Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon
Im so glad I live in a world where there
are Octobers. It would be terrible if we
just skipped from September to November,
wouldnt it? Look at these maple branches.
Dont they give you a thrill...several thrills?
from: Anne of Green Gables
by: L.M. Montgomery 1908

I sometimes take for granted all the beauty that is mine to behold around here. (though not often)
Take our stately Cottonwood tree. Here we have a tree that actually thrives in Southern Utah....remarkable!!! As long as it has a regular water supply.
As I sometimes do...I thought I'd share some random facts about the Cottonwood tree. Im mindful of them now...for they are changing color right now, and are adding yet another dimension to our hiking.
Here are some fun facts about this tree:
The Cottonwood is a member of the Poplar family, or uncommonly known as- populus sp. The speculation is that the Romans named it with their word for people in mind (popul.) Perhaps this is due to the numerous leaves which appear to be continuously in motion likes crowds of people.
There are several varieties of Cottonwoods. The ones I adore the most, and that are found in Zion National Park and vicinity, are the Fremont cottonwoods.
And now that I've brought this up...I learned the other day, from my dad, that the Cottonwoods in Zion are in danger. Officials are predicting that in 60 or so years there will no longer be any of the grand trees left in the Park.. This is due to the interventions man has made to prevent the Virgin River from flooding its banks. Without that precious water and silt to feed the trees and the tender seedlings, there has been practically no prorogation of new trees. Now that my dad has called this to my attention-I have taken heed of the situation for myself, and indeed found that there are NO young trees in the Park.
The Park is working on a solution...but nothing is as easy as it may appear. Of course!! Meanwhile...lets enjoy these magnificent trees wherever they may grow, knowing that they always grow where there is water!!!. And dont mind the cottony stuff that flutters down on us in the spring and make beautiful drifts that appear like snow. (thank the female tree for this) This fluff makes great nesting material for the birds. The Native Americans even harvested the tender cottonwood buds to eat in the spring. And did you know that the cottonwood and willow leaves and buds contain salicylic acid, the main ingredient in aspirin??!! Cool huh!!!!!

1 comment: said...

Thanks so much for paying attention to this important issue. Sometimes people just hear about cottonwoods, sigh, and think "oh, cottonwoods"--or worse yet, "oh, trees." This noble keystone species along stream and river habitats like the Virgin River are essential to all the other life around them--from the small grasses to other trees, plants, & animals. The folks at Zion have been working on a plan for awhile, as they were good enough to share with me in a book about cottonwood trees.

Kathleen Cain, author
The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion (Johnson Books/Big Earth Publishing. Boulder, CO: 2007)