This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas tree week: tree of life

Some of the evergreen trees are hard to identify. The spruce and the hemlock and the firs all have needles that look pretty much alike. But there are some that are distinctive, and those are the ones I can recognize. One of those is white cedar or arborvitae--tree of life.
Mostly they are grown as shrubs, and they are often pruned. But they also grow to be small trees, and here is an example by the Delos Thompson House on Front Street. There are a couple others in the neighborhood.
There are larger examples in the oldest part of Weston Cemetery. The freezing rain of December 19 did a lot of damage to one of these fine old trees, and it may not not survive.
I think the row of trees at Brookside park that is just to the west of the running track is arborvitae. Here they are after the same freezing rain. (Yes, I did take a lot of pictures after the ice came.)
Here is a close up. I guess it does not help much with identification, but I thought it was a pretty picture and that was reason enough to include it.
I found another row of them near Merritt and McKinley that had considerable damage from the ice.
The white cedar is native to extreme northeast Indiana, but you probably will see only planted specimens. (It is not sold commercially as a Christmas tree, so maybe I am cheating a little to include it this week. I am sure many outdoor white cedars are decorated with lights, so maybe I can justify including it with that use.)

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