Giants of Crow’s Nest

January 23, 2015

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager

Wolf Poplar

Photo: Dan Barringer

While they might not be state champions, there are a few large and significant trees at Crow’s Nest. Above is the “wolf poplar” (Liriodendron tulipifera) that greets visitors on the path between the parking lot and the visitor center barn. A wolf tree is one that grew up apart from the forest; the surrounding trees—if present—grew later, and are smaller and not as broad-spreading because they are racing upward for sunlight.

The tall courting tree black gum at Crow's Nest Preserve photographed in the snow.

Courting Tree Photo: Dan Barringer

Above is the “courting tree,” a large, spreading black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) along Northside Road. According to local lore this tree back in the day had a swing hanging from it where couples went-a-courtin’.

And below is the “boundary oak,” a white oak (Quercus alba) that at one time marked the division between two farms that now make up Crow’s Nest Preserve. Notice how much smaller are the red maples that make up the forest around it; they weren’t there when the white oak first grew. You can see this from the part of the Deep Woods Trail loop that is north of Northside Road.


I have written about some of these trees before, but never was able to photograph them in their entirety. They’re just too big to be captured by a traditional wide-angle lens. It took this long to occur to me that I could use the panorama feature on the iPhone in a vertical plane. (You don’t see horizontal panorama photos on this weblog because pictures have to be resized to a relatively small 500-pixel width.)

Come see these trees in person, they really inspire awe.