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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Paper Trees

I've heard of paper being made from trees. These trees turn things around; they look like they're made of paper. The bark peels off them in great sheets, each tree is like a writing tablet.

What would I use to write with on such paper? Perhaps a bird would deign to perch on my finger and allow me to use its talon to scratch out a poem. A mockingbird if I'm feeling snarky. A crow if my mood is mean.

This is a great fantasy until I start thinking about how to make copies.

20 comments:

Dina said...

LOL, love your surprise ending!

L Barlow, AIA said...

Quill pen from feathers (get even with those crows), ink from berries, and a poem that gets read aloud before the bark tablet is used for kindling in the cool dusk.

Katie said...

Small pieces of this bark would make perfect postcards! I do like the look of the porch; good place to sit and write tree poetry.

Greg Sweet said...

That's Melaleuca quinquenervia, appropriately named the Paper Bark Tree. It's in the Myrtle family; related to Eucalyptus and Bottle Brush.

This is a plant that typically requires fire to propagate. When these trees are not regularly pruned, they will get very twiggy. This is to invite fire.

Back in my orchid-collecting days, I used to peel chunks of the bark from neighbors' trees and mount the epiphytic orchids on plaques of the stuff. The bark lasted a long time and provided a lot of surface area for the roots to attach.

Bellis said...

The Australian aborigines did many things with the paperbark trees, but writing wasn't one of them. They passed their letters and stories on orally, something you'd be good at too, with your acting skills. The birds would be grateful as well.

According to Wikipedia, the aborigines used the bark:

"to line ... cradles, as a bandage, as a sleeping mat, and as material for building humpies [shelters]. It was also used for wrapping food for cooking (in the same way aluminium foil is today), as a disposable raincoat, and for tamping holes in canoes."

Greg Sweet said...

One could probably use shingles of the bark to make a funky bulletin board.

Petrea said...

Thanks, all. I'm grateful for the scientific and historical information, as well as the whimsical suggestions! I love these trees and there are many of them in town, although now that I know they attract fire I'm not sure I'd want one in my yard, much less two. Maybe I should warn the homeowner.

SFBakstad said...

This photo brings back a lot of fond memories. When I was a kid in Hawaii, I loved peeling the paper off of this tree. You have a great blog here and we've enjoyed going through it and look forward to following you! Cheers from San Francisco!

Virginia said...

Well Missy, that's a fine photo. I"ve tried several times to capture these trees, or something similar and never came close. A fine shot.
V

Vanda said...

Who said that grunge was passé? These trees are living it up.

Petrea said...

Welcome, SFBakstad, thanks for your visit and kind words and thanks for following! I have many fond memories of San Francisco as well.

Virginia, you know I appreciate that, you're a honey pie.

Ha ha, Vanda, grunge or no I think these are happy trees. The homeowner at this spot has a green thumb.

Ms M said...

Fun post and good photo. Those trees are fascinating, and it's interesting to learn more about the uses for the bark from your many knowledgeable commenters :)

Dina said...

Who knew trees were so useful. Love the comments you have attracted here.

Jilly said...

What a gorgeous shot. I love these trees. Perhaps these are the trees that the Australian Aboriginals use to do their wondrous art work? Nowadays some use paper but all the older traditional work is done on bark.

Whoops, I just read the comments and see Bellis has said the same thing!

Petrea said...

Not being especially knowledgeable about flora and fauna, I appreciate that I can put up a photo like this and receive comments with all this good information. (Plus frivolity.) Jilly, our climate is apparently comparable to that of some parts of Australia (though the seasons are reversed), so trees native to that country grow well here.

Scribegal said...

This is lovely, Petrea.

I am enjoying your photographs, and your writing.

Just curious - what kind of camera do you use?

Petrea said...

Thank you so much, Scribegal, and welcome to the blog. I've been using my Olympus SP350 of late. I also have a Canon 20D, which has been in need of repairs. I just got it back and will have to read the manual again because it's been so long I've forgotten how to use it!

However, the camera I used for this particular photo was the simple iPhone.

Margaret said...

I love how when the outer layer of bark come off they all look like bones.

Petrea said...

I love that, too.

Danial said...

Look like to paper,B.C the tree slough is flaky.