What color is treebark?

I thought I knew, but there are geographical and botanical problems.

June 11, 2008 1:06 PM anonymous said...

I have something to say about your tree on your blog. I have never seen a brown tree. Trees are mostly gray,birch is white. Some might say: there's brown on "that" tree but it's where the bark has come off. Your tree reminds me of school kids being told to make a brown tree with a "loli-pop"top in school.If there are brown trees i would love to see them but they are probably rare. Unschooling is real maybe your tree should be more real. more unschooley.

June 11, 2008 2:01 PM sandra dodd said...
Huh! Where I live, trees are brown except aspen trees which are white, but they don't like to live in town. Our neighbors in our old neighborhood had one. It was alive, but not growing huge as they do in the mountains. One morning I heard strange noises I'd never heard before, and some crows had a cat cornered up in that tree, and would caw and then all hop closer. Poor cat! I went out and waved a stick. The stick was brown.

I had a kid who used to eat all white food. We'd go to a buffet and he'd come back with everything white. I've never seen trees to match that, but aspens.

Trees are mostly gray where you live? That doesn't seem right. Have you tried adjusting the color? Where are the trees grey? Brown trees are not rare here, so maybe this is the right-colored center of the universe.

This enlightening conversation is taking place in the comments of this blog post: "The Moon from my Yard"

And so in the interest of disclosure and science and curiosity, I went outside and did a photographic survey of tree bark in my yard today, June 11, 2008. I still don't know all the answers, but I'm providing more data for others to figure it out and report back to me, or not.

Some of those are dead parts of trees. Some of the live trees, I showed a sickly place.

The first one up there is greenish on the bark, but it's also not an old tree, it's a giant baby tree, taller than I am but not more than six or seven years old, and I grew it from seed. It's a honey locust.

The red horizontal one is a former plum tree that's in our "burn it when it gets dry" pile.

The carved bear is turning black all by itself. It used to be browner. I don't know what tree it's made of, but probably pine. It's from Chama, in NW New Mexico, where lots of pines are.

One is kind of greyish, it's true. And if more than one looks grey to my anonymous tree analyst, I must ask: Are you an artist? Meaning are you one of those people who knows 320 names for colors, whereas I'm one of those people who knows 24 (maybe up to 36)? Because if there's someplace where grey meets brown, I just don't have the eye or the vocabulary to discuss it.


P.S. That last one is the stovepipe of the hot tub. Just seeing if you were paying close attention.

Why Trees are Brown in School