Scrub Oak

“The Scrub oak, alias the ‘chaparro’, gave its name to chaparreros or ‘chaps’, worn by cowboys to protect their legs when riding through on horseback.”

-Eden Project


“Their vast contribution to the native tribes of the Southwest as food, fuel, medicines, structures and weapons provided a natural resource and because of that Native Americans have historically played a major role in the conservation of oak landscapes.

Scrub oaks are prolific, drought tolerant and have the unique ability to resprout after wildfire, making them a valuable member of the chaparral. They might be considered the “default” oak of the California chaparral, but their distinctive biology makes them a perfect fit for areas such as the rocky soils of the San Gabriel mountains, along with the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Tehachapi Mountains and the dry, interior climates of coastal Southwestern California.

Scrub oaks are a smaller, shrubbier version of the larger, more familiar oaks. Ecosystems that have extended dry periods favor shrubs. It’s ability to resprout after fire is a trait that allows scrub oaks to survive this harsh environment. These woody foundations create a habitat for other plants that blend together to make up an understory flora necessary for sustainable oak woodlands.”

-City of Glendate, CA, Public Works


“The black tangle of willows on the island made a thicket like a thorn hedge, and the knotty, twisted, slow-growing scrub-oaks with flat tops took on a bronze glimmer in that intense oblique light which seemed to be setting them on fire.”

Lucy Gayheart (8)

“It was noon now, and so hot that the dogwoods and scrub-oaks began to turn up the silvery underside of their leaves, and all the foliage looked soft and wilted.

My Antonia (238)

Lucy Gayheart

“The dirty streets, as she crossed the town through sleet and snow, were like narrow rivers, shut in by grey cliffs where the light was always changing, and she herself was a twig or a leaf swept along on the current.”

“After a while it began to smell of trees and new-cut grass, and the confused city noises died away.”

“She was groping cautiously with her feet when she felt herself gripped from underneath. Her skate had caught in the fork of a submerged tree, half-buried in sand by the spring flood. The ice cake slipped from under her arms and let her down.”


Acacia: 56

Apple: 130, 131, 133, 134

Cottonwood: 8, 121, 159. 188

Elm: 122

Maple: 114

Scrub Oak: 8

Willow: 8

Beech Tree

Beech” is a common synonym for “literature.” The English word “book”, for example, comes from a Gothic word meaning letters and, like the German buchstabe, is enymologically connected with the word “beech“–the reason being that writing tablets were made of beech.

The White Goddess -Robert Graves


“The American beech is one of the premiere shade trees of its range and one that you can add to your landscape if you have the room to grow it. The tree has many interesting features that make it such an attractive species for multiple settings. American beech is a tree well known to the early settlers, who used the excellent wood the tree produces for such items as barrels, furniture and later on, railroad ties. It grows naturally throughout much of the eastern United States.”


“He had never seen anything like the quivering emerald of the moss, the silky green of the dripping beech tops.

One of Ours (300)

“The forest rose about this open glade like an amphitheatre, in golden terraces of horse chestnut and beech. The big nuts dropped velvety and brown, as if they had been soaked in oil, and disappeared in the dry leaves below. Little black yew trees, that had not been visible in the green of summer, stood out among the curly yellow brakes. Through the grey netting of the beech twigs, stiff holly bushes glittered.”

One of Ours (344)

“So many kinds of gold, all gleaming in the soft, hyacinth-coloured haze of autumn: wan, sickly gold of the willows, already dropping; bright gold of the birches, copper gold of the beeches.”

Shadows of the Rock (185)

Mountain Ash

Mountain Ash Berries

Mountain ashes are all over Anchorage, decorating streets in Spenard and punctuating yards throughout. The Europeans, however, call them “rowans” a name derived from Norse and having something to do with red, for obvious reasons. Rowans!

All of a sudden, seeing these common trees with clusters of red berries takes on new meaning because these are the “magic trees” of yore. Didn’t Macbeth protect himself with arrows made from rowan wood, or was he hiding in Rowan Woods and it was Merlin who had the rowan wood arrows? Or was it his wand? Druids used mountain ash wood for religious staffs, and it was considered a guard against lightning on land and at sea. All sorts of magical properties were attributed to these trees and their wood.”

Anchorage Daily News –Jeff Lowenfels


“This small native tree’s dark green leaves turn orange and purple in the fall. Showy white spring flowers, followed by flame-red fruit loved by birds. Likes acidic soil with good drainage, full sun to light shade. Grows to 10′ to 30′.”

-Arbor Day Foundation


“As I drew near home that morning, I saw Mrs. Harling out in her yard, digging round her mountain-ash tree.

My Antonia (305)

“;the mountain ash had been cut down, and only a sprouting stump was left of the tall Lombardy poplar that used to guard the gate.”

My Antonia (369)

“Up by Blinker’s cave there was a mountain ash, loaded with orange berries.”

Shadows on the Rock (184)

Mulberry Tree

white mulberry at Mt. Vernon, Virginia

“A beautiful maiden at Babylon, was beloved by Pyramus. The lovers living in adjoining houses, often secretly conversed with each other through an opening in the wall, as their parents would not sanction their marriage. Once they agreed upon a rendezvous at the tomb of Ninus. Thisbe arrived first, and while she was waiting for Pyramus, she perceived a lioness who had just torn to pieces an ox, and took to flight. While running she lost her garment, which the lioness soiled with blood. In the mean time Pyramus arrived, and finding her garment covered with blood, he imagined that she had been murdered, and made away with himself under a mulberry tree, the fruit of which henceforth was as red as blood. Thisbe, who afterwards found the body of her lover, likewise killed herself.”

-Greek Mythology Index


Red Mulberry is a native tree to North America. The white mulberry is native to China, but has been planted widely in North America.

American Indians made a medicine from the roots and they used the sap to treat ringworm. 

Mulberry wood has been used to make non-rotting fence posts. 

Mulberries are edible. They are highly perishable.

George Washington planted white mulberries at Mount Vernon. He planned to use their leaves to feed to silkworms.

Mulberry is a great tree for a habitat garden. Plant it far from your house or walks since the dropped berries can be messy.

The dark red berries of the Red Mulberry are a favorite summer food of birds and other wildlife. Animals also use the trees for shelter and nesting sites to raise their young.”

-Mrs. O’s House


“Under a white mulberry tree there was an old wagon-seat. Beside it lay a book and a workbasket.”

O Pioneers! (85)

“When Emil reached the lower corner by the hedge, Marie was sitting under her white mulberry tree, the pailful of cherries beside her, looking off at the gentle, tireless swelling of the wheat.”

O Pioneers! (95)

“But anything that reminded him of her would be enough, the orchard, the mulberry tree…”

O Pioneers! (165)

“When he came to the corner, he stopped short and put his hand over his mouth. Marie was lying on her side under the white mulberry tree, her face half hidden in the grass, her eyes closed, her hands lying limply where they had happened to fall.”

O Pioneers! (166)

“Resting the butt of his gun on the ground, he parted the mulberry leaves softly with his fingers and peered through the hedge at the dark figures on the grass, in the shadow of the mulberry tree.”

O Pioneers! (168)

“This was not the warm white moonlight of his own Provence, certainly, which made the roads between the mulberry-trees look like rivers of new milk.”

Shadows on the Rock (181)

Spruce Tree

“According to Hopi myth, the spruce tree was once a medicine man, Salavi, who transformed himself into a tree. For this reason, spruce trees are considered particularly sacred to the Hopis, who use spruce boughs to adorn kachina dancers. In the Pima flood myth, the father and mother of the Pima people survived the deluge by floating in a ball of spruce pitch. Among northern tribes, spruce trees (like other evergreens) are associated with peace and protection. Spruce is a particular symbol of good luck to the Salish tribes, and spruce roots are used as fiber for weaving basketry regalia by many Northwest Coast tribes. Northern Algonquian tribes used to bundle spruce and fir needles into sachets or herbal pillows to protect against illness.”


Spruce comes from a Russian word meaning “fine, smart.” As a link to the archetypal energies of Nature, the spruce is powerfully effective in awakening realizations as to how best to detoxify one’s system and to balance one’s energies on all levels.

Spruce reminds us that we may not understand what we think we do. This can apply to any aspect of our life, but often it applies to health. The spruce spirit is wonderful at awakening understanding of disease/illness causes. Spruce always stimulates dreams and its appearance is a reminder to attend to them, for they are providing guidance and greater focus. It can even assist us in developing lucid dreams that lead to conscious out-of-body experiences.

Spruce is a gentle messenger and friend. It amplifies healing on all levels, and it is calming to the emotions. It is a gentle awakener of the dynamic feminine intuition. It is an excellent tree staff to work with for any disorientation or lack of direction.”

-Cinnamon Moon


“A bundle of little spruce trees had been flung off near the freight office, and sent a smell of Christmas into the cold air.”

One of Ours (32)

“At this season of the year, if the Big Dipper had set under the dark spruce-clad hills behind Rachel’s house, it would be past midnight.”

Sapphira and the Slave Girl (111)

“Mrs. Colbert liked to sit and watch the evening light fade over the white fields and the spruce trees across the creek.”

Sapphira and the Slave Girl (294)

“That fragrance is really the aromatic breath of spruce and pine, given out under the hot sun of noonday, but the early navigators believed it was the smell of luscious unknown fruits, wafted out to sea.”

Shadows on the Rock (153)

Quince Tree

“The apple is the Sidonian (i.e. Cretan) apple or quince, sacred to Aphrodite the Love-goddess, and first cultivated in Europe by the Cretans.”

The White Goddess -Robert Graves


“What most Americans know about quince (Cydonia oblonga) — if they know about quince at all — is that it was once a fixture in Grandma’s garden. O.K., Great-Great-Grandma’s garden. As long ago as 1922, the great New York pomologist U. P. Hedrick rued that “the quince, the ‘golden apple’ of the ancients, once dedicated to deities, and looked upon as the emblem of love and happiness, for centuries the favorite pome, is now neglected and the least esteemed of commonly cultivated tree-fruits.” Almost every Colonial kitchen garden had a quince tree. But there was seldom need for two, said Joseph Postman, the United States Department of Agriculture scientist who curates the quince collection in Corvallis, Ore. Settlers valued quince, above all, as a mother lode of pectin for making preserves. And for that task, a little fruit went a long way.”

The New York Times -Michael Tortorello


“It was a very small garden; a grass plot in the centre, a row of Lombardy poplars along the wall, some lilac bushes, now in bloom, a wooden seat with no back under a crooked quince-tree.”

Shadows on the Rock (141)