City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 2, 2016

December 2nd

Filed under: picnic site 4, River birch — canopus56 @ 8:34 pm

Mystery Bark

2:00 p.m. Back on October 19th and after a wind storm, just before picnic site 4, I find three curious pieces of River birch bark without the tree trunk in the center. Each piece is cylindrical and about 4 or 5 inches in height. There is no evidence of a seam in the cylinder and the ends show no signs of have been cut by a tool. Picnic site 4 features several clumps of healthy mature River birches. How did these mysterious pieces separate themselves from a tree? It is incredulous that some prankster might have sliced the bark from a tree and then glued the ends back together. I hunt around and find the source. There was a fallen limb in the brush. Birch bark is more resistant to decay than the interior wood pulp. The wood has decayed leaving a tube of bark at the end. This bark then cleaves off creating the cylinder. The process repeats, and then strong Fall winds lofted the cylinders next to the road.

Today in December, all of this is buried underneath the snow, but I have one of the pieces on my desk as a curiosity to show friends. Tomorrow, I will return this mystery bark back to canyon.

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