Frost in the forest, icicles, and a tree called Twister.

It’s been cold this week, with a bit of early winter frost the other day…. I wish I’d have been there at dawn, as I’m sure it would have looked amazing.

One tree even had some icicles….. it must have been where the frost water was melting, and freezing again like a stalactite and stalagmite. I’ve never seen that before and it was an interesting thing. The tree itself was interesting. It’s one of the dead oaks in the forest, dead for many decades and probably longer. It doesn’t have any bark, but when it did still have bark, when alive or dead, it experienced a forest fire. You can see some drastic charring from the fire on the trunk, and also see where the bark was present, where the charring pattern stops.

If you look at the charring, you can see that it happened when this lower bit of the trunk was already hollowing a bit – the trunk is definitely not whole and circular here. Since then the tree has hollowed some more, and it’s at the entrance to this little cave-like hollow where the icicles were. I reckon they’ve melted away now.

Elsewhere in the forest….

…is a tree called Twister! So-called because of its completely twisted shape. It’s like a tornado in slow motion.  Sometimes the oaks here will have a twist, but this is really spiralling. It’s completely hollow now, and has lost its top. Maybe it’s easy to be distracted by the amazing twist, and not quite notice how fragile the structure is.

Only part of the tree is still alive, and this living strip of bark twists around the trunk space, going up to one main branch and then smaller branches. Other parts of the trunk do this twisting as well, but they’re dead, just the outer layers of what was once the trunk. I wonder how many years it took for this trunk to become so hollow.
The tree hasn’t grown any epicormic branches on its lower trunk at all, so all of the crown of the tree is at the top – well, the current top. The tree is lower than it was when the it was full height, as you can see in this photo from earlier in the year. It’s making the most of the light and has a good spread of branches. I hope it will be there for many more years. What a great tree!