22 August 2007

Ode to the Sycamore


Now I'll take issue with Indiana's state tree, the Yellow-Poplar, or Tulip Tree. It's a good tree; was used heavily by the pioneers for building cabins. But it's kind of boring.
The Sycamore should be Indiana's state tree. It is picturesque. Whether standing on its own, with its great gnarled branches, or in the forest, standing out among other trees with its white bark. It has found its way into our songs ".....through the sycamores, for me" and captures the radiance of the sun in paintings of artists from the Hoosier tradition in southern Indiana.

The tree is one of the largest trees of the east. The largest ever recorded stood near the Wabash River and was 18 feet in diameter (larger than most rooms)-it was cut down by a farmer in 1897 because he was tired of curious folks trampling over his corn. The current champion is in Ohio, at over 16' in diameter. I remember from my Indiana history books an image of a pioneer traveler seeking shelter for himself and his horse in the cavity of a giant sycamore.

There's a grand sycamore just across from the Artist's Colony Inn near the old Dillinger museum in little Nashville. I love that tree. There are a row along highway 29, south of Logansport, that sprung up from a corduroy road-the old Michigan Road. My grandad and I planted one at my parents house in 1990-it's probably 60' tall today. Our family planted one in our yard in 2003; its about 15' already. Just about anywhere along Indiana's waterways, you can find these standouts; which are particularly stunning against fall foliage. The next time you're out and about our great state..........take note of these guys.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

sycamores are ok, but I still like tulip trees better.

Anonymous said...

I won't bite on this one I think Tulip Poplar is fine for the state tree