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Thread: Willow Trees?

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    Arrow Willow Trees?

    Okay, this may seem like a silly post, but are there willow trees on the AT? I can't seem to find a list of the types of trees out there. I've decided I want to whittle whistles as a past time on the trail, and the only way I've found is by using willow tree branches. Any insight?

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    ^^or elder apparently

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    In most of the East, black willow is the widespread species, but it (like all other willows) only grows in wet areas. Since the AT is mostly up on (steep, viewless) ridges, you won't see many willows (you might see some weeping willows in towns, but homeowners will probably chafe at your taking branches to whittle).

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    Umm, have you Googled Eastern Appalachian Mountain Range trees? Off the top of my head I know of several places I've seen willow trees on or just off the AT.

    BTW, I've seen two AT hikers who were whittlers who carved wooden whistles as they hiked. Don't recall what wood they were made from though. One carved them for other hikers handing them out along the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Umm, have you Googled Eastern Appalachian Mountain Range trees? Off the top of my head I know of several places I've seen willow trees on or just off the AT.

    BTW, I've seen two AT hikers who were whittlers who carved wooden whistles as they hiked. Don't recall what wood they were made from though. One carved them for other hikers handing them out along the way.
    I don't need to google anything--I can identify just about every tree that grows along the AT. And there might be a few willows here and there, but they're hardly common.

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    * I should clarify: I can tell you any tree to genus. But I can't always tell you which exact ash or hickory or whatever I'm looking at.

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    The comment was to the OP.

    From one fellow tree hugger to another thx for the comment though Burger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    The comment was to the OP.

    From one fellow tree hugger to another thx for the comment though Burger.
    Oops, my bad.

    And now a brief rant: forums like this, with a long list of comments and that are displayed in chronological order are badly out of date. This sort of forum was okay in 2001 or so, but not anymore. Most other forums (like reddit) have graduated to better forms of organization where you can reply to specific comments instead of just adding your comment to the end of a thread where all the different conversations get piled up.

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    I'm a tree guy too... for a living and as a hobby. It just hit me. they were both whittling whistles out of Basswood or commonly also called Linden trees, ie; wood from the Tilia genus americanus species in the northeastern states on AT thru-hikes. These trees, as Burger can attest, are abundant in the northeast. But they were using some other type of wood in the southeast which may have been an alder species that is rampantly found on the AT. I know all this because I asked these questions when one wooden whistle was so generously bestowed upon me.

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    Willow is common along waterways in the Georgia piedmont and coastal plain, but not so much in the mountains. if by elder, you mean boxelder, Acer Negundo, that is also common, and I'm pretty sure I've seen them in the mountains also.

    I learned to make the willow whistle as a teenager, although it doesn't take much whittling.

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    Alder of the Alnus genus is different from what is commonly referred to as Elder or elderberry trees typically of the Sambucus genus. To avoid easy confusion, a maple, Acer negundo, is often referred to commonly as Boxelder. This is why botanist and horticulturalist use botanical names rather than common names... to avoid confusion easily caused by common names. Both alder(Alnus genus) and basswood(Tilia genus) I know are used by carvers, sound instrument makers, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Alder of the Alnus genus is different from what is commonly referred to as Elder or elderberry trees typically of the Sambucus genus. To avoid easy confusion, a maple, Acer negundo, is often referred to commonly as Boxelder. This is why botanist and horticulturalist use botanical names rather than common names... to avoid confusion easily caused by common names. Both alder(Alnus genus) and basswood(Tilia genus) I know are used by carvers, sound instrument makers, etc.
    This makes me very glad I mostly work on birds and mammals--no need to know any scientific names!

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    The same plant of the same genus, species, and cultivar can have totally different unrelated common names in different places in the U.S. alone. To some extent this can apply not only to plants.

    The exact same genus and species of duck in one area of the U.S. is called some entirely different kind of duck in another area perhaps even commonly referred to mistakenly as a goose. Same with owls, raptor species, reptiles(snakes), etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    The same plant of the same genus, species, and cultivar can have totally different unrelated common names in different places in the U.S. alone. To some extent this can apply not only to plants.

    The exact same genus and species of duck in one area of the U.S. is called some entirely different kind of duck in another area perhaps even commonly referred to mistakenly as a goose. Same with owls, raptor species, reptiles(snakes), etc.
    For western hemisphere birds at least, there's a scientific body (the AOU) that oversees the common and scientific names. People may have nicknames for species, but the official names are set in stone. It's pretty rare that (educated) bird people have problems with names. Of course, not everyone follows the AOU, and that can be problematic sometimes. But all of the reputable field guides and all of the reasonably good websites (including wikipedia) follow the AOU naming conventions, so there's not too much confusion.

    I find plants a lot harder because the names of the same plant may differ from one field guide or key to another. Or one field guide may split a tree into a couple of species while the other keeps it at subspecies. That's why I don't go too crazy trying to tell all the species apart--even the botanists can't seem to agree on what's what.

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    Thanks everyone! This information is pretty helpful!

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    That whole accepted common name thing worked really well until I found myself sitting in a hut in mexico trying to talk with a Mexican ornithologist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    This makes me very glad I mostly work on birds and mammals--no need to know any scientific names!
    Few would point out a cat and say, "what a nice Barfus Hairballis".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Few would point out a cat and say, "what a nice Barfus Hairballis".
    Scientists would (except they'd call it Felis catus).

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