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A native of North America’s west coast, the one I saw was in the Holbeck Wood on the Chevin. What drew me to this tall conifer was the new, pale-green growth at the end of the branches, which made it look a bit like they had been decorated. It is a very shade-tolerant tree, with young ones growing under the canopy of other trees and able to wait years for the chance to exploit a gap. The wood is used for the production of paper, doors and furniture; and the Native Americans of Alaska would eat the cambium (a layer of the bark), either as fresh shavings or dried and pressed into bread. They would also use a bough to collect herring eggs, which gave them a distinctive taste.


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Masthead photography courtesy of Mark Denton

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