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Friday, 28 April 2017

Krummholtz

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,



or 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. 



 There is a flag krummholtz further from the shoreline as well.

 

 

The affected trees are covered in lichen early on in their journey to artwork.



Krummholtz indeed!


 










31 comments:

bill burke said...

I love the trees that are shaped by nature, they are really part of nature's art canvas.
Have a wonderful weekend, Marie.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Wow! Beautiful in their eerie ugliness.

DJan said...

I remember learning about krummholtz trees in Colorado, when we went to the High Country and saw them, stunted from the cold and wind. But I also learned that the trees can survive by slowly creeping their way across the ground, using their roots to help them keep going. Great pictures and a great story, Marie! Thanks for showing your trees to me. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

I presume they try to grow where other trees can't due to the conditions.

The Happy Whisk said...

Ohhhhhh. Me like.

Elephant's Child said...

The price of survival (for a time) can be high. And the results beautiful.

Angela said...

Those branches are surely crooked! They look sad in some ways, not lush green with shiny leaves waving in the wind. However they also look beautiful with great artistic forms. Very interesting trees, I'm sure that I haven't ever seen one of these before.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and new to me. Here in Georgia, the highest peak is Brasstown Bald Mtn. and the trees there are quite grotesque due to the extreme weather. Thanks so much for sharing part of your world. Have a nice evening.

Anonymous said...

Well now I learned something new! Andrea

Marie Smith said...

I love trees, Bill and these skeletons were sculptures to me.

Marie Smith said...

They were unusual that's for sure, Debra.

Marie Smith said...

I have photos of some of the trees you describe growing along the ground on the marsh in the area, Jan. They didn't grow near the cliffs though.

Marie Smith said...

As the shoreline erodes, AC, more trees are exposed to the extreme conditions and become krummholtz. At least that's what it looks like.

Marie Smith said...

Me too, HW. Those tree adapt as best they can but when they finally are defeated by the conditions, they are beautiful in their own way.

Marie Smith said...

So true, EC. i love these works of nature!

Marie Smith said...

They are new to me too, Angela. Such curiosities!

Marie Smith said...

they are new to me too, Mildred, since I visited North Cape a few years ago.

Marie Smith said...

Glad to help, Andrea. Have a great weekend.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Amazing how weather and conditions can shape a tree. These poor things almost look more appealing in their afterlife. I'd heard of krummholtz before but couldn't remember the context, a good post showing the not so glamorous side of the island.

Marie Smith said...

It is amazing how nature adapts under harsh circumstances, Judith.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

They're really quite spectacular in their own bizarre way. We have similar sights along parts of the coastline Marie, those coastal winds can be brutal! Bit creepy when they are in a group ☺

Debbie said...

this is interesting...something i have never read about. they look dead at every stage but prettier at the end!!

The Furry Gnome said...

I've seen that both in Newfoundland and on the westcoast too. Fascinating what nature does.

Mage said...

A world misshapen into loveliness. Thank you.

Marie Smith said...

I think the same about the group ones but like the individual ones which as weathered. I didn't associate Australia with those harsh conditions, PDP.

Marie Smith said...

They do indeed, Debbie.

Marie Smith said...

It is indeed, FG.

Marie Smith said...

It is a long process but lovely in the end, Mage.

The Happy Whisk said...

YES!!!!

baili said...

Remarkable post and outstanding art work of nature!!!

i found these trees absolutely amazing and so very charming to eyes.
you captured them brilliantly my friend!

Marie Smith said...

Thank you, Baili. That area is smazing!