Monday, April 23, 2007

Trees of Willowbrook Reach

Written by Paul Hagey.

This article is taken from the Nov. 2006 issue of The Flea. Photos in the original were taken by Jack Darby. Photos I include here were taken by Dolly.

I grew up along the stretch of Boggy Creek that is now called the Willowbrook Reach and have enjoyed the dynamism of its ecosystem. After identifying some of the trees on the Reach, I recognized that part of its dynamism is its biodiversity. I was surprised to discover more than 40 species of native and exotic trees on this quarter-mile greenbelt.

Here are 13 that stand out. Walking counter-clockwise from the Cherrywood Road bridge at Sycamore Road.

1. Arborvitae. The small pinelooking tree on the right is a very young version of the coneshaped giants across the creek. They are in the Cypress family.
2. Shumard Oak. The next tree to the right of the path is a Shumard Oak. It is used in lumber and songbirds feed on its fruit. It has reddish-orange to orange fall coloring.

3. American Elm. The next really large tree on the right near the first big pool is an American Elm, a popular shade tree.
4. Black Willow. A little farther on the left of the trail, growing up from the bank, is a Black Willow. It has long slender leaves and is common along creeks. This section of the creek sports several willows, which are likely the source of the street name as well.
5. Cedar Elm. About 50 feet farther just before the sewer pipe, is a Cedar Elm. It has rough small leaves and is fast-growing.

6. Huisache. Another 50 feet ahead, as the creek begins to bend to the left, the trail pivots on a Huisache, or Sweet Acacia tree over 20 feet tall. It has multiple trunks with tiny leaves and small yellow flowers. Notice a Hackberry sprouting out of the trunk of a Mesquite up the hill on the right.

7. Bald Cypress. A ways down the path, past the second sewer pipe, is a fairly mature Bald
Cypress. It has a pine-like presence and is found on many Hill Country riverbanks.
8. Mesquite. About 30 feet farther to the right in front of a wooden fence is a rejuvenating
Mesquite. This new growth from a stump is typical of Mesquites. On the other side of the creek heading towards Cherrywood.
9. Redbud. Almost directly across the creek from the Bald Cypress stands a Redbud, about
12 feet tall with heart-shaped leaves. Flowers are rose-purple color.
10. Plateau Live Oak. Just ahead is a small version of this native. In the yard across the street at 3805 Willowbrook you can see some full-grown examples.

11. Chinese Tallow. About 150 feet down the trail, across the creek from the Huisache, stands a cluster of Chinese Tallows to the right of the trail. They have round, pointed leaves.
12. Sycamore. Along East 40th stand four Sycamores. They are relatively large trees, in the maple family, with grayish, peeling bark.
13. Mulberry/Hackberry. Past a rejuvenating Black Willow just before the bridge is a Mulberry/ Hackberry mixture. The Mulberry has large smooth leaves and produces edible fruit in late spring. The dominant Hackberry has smaller leaves and the trunk has a characteristic wart-like texture.


Dolly said...

Thanks for placing the photos with the trees Lee. It would be great if we could develop a map with the photos and corresponding names, develop a history for each tree -- perhaps picking Joe Pierce & other longtime Cherrywooders' brains, create little signs to identify & place near the trees ... then have a scout troop, individuals or other FLOWRs become sponsors of specific trees & their well being.

TN Nursury said...

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