It is an unusual sight. Along the coast of the North Cape, Prince Edward Island, these trees, known as krummholtz are usually found in subalpine and subarctic areas. This area is neither. The name comes from the German words krumm, which means crooked, bent or twisted and holtz, meaning wood.
The unusual nature of the trees of the Black Marsh Trail on North Cape is obvious at the beginning of the trail. The sides of the trunks exposed to the elements are almost devoid of limbs.
The exposed side experiences the tree equivalent of frostbite. The severe conditions on the Cape cause the trees to be be misshapen.
The wind, salt sea spray, ice and cold stunt the growth of the trees and eventually kills them. Drought in the summer can have an effect as well.
With time, the dead trees are works of art.
The effect is most dramatic closest to the shoreline, like this one,
or this one.
Some sculptures show a flag-like appearance with the branches emanating from one side of the trunk.
Sometimes there is a group, like this,
A bit further from the shore, the trees show the effect of the elements in a less dramatic way because of the trees in the background. You can imagine, as the shoreline erodes, these trees will be like the ones closer to the shoreline today.
The affected trees are covered in lichen early on in their journey to artwork.