What’s your first image at the phrase “evergreen tree”?
This daughter of the Upper Midwest and former resident of the Pacific Northwest calls up many species. Spruce. Pine. Fir. Cedar.
I think of the Black Hills Spruce planted when I was in 4-H. The first few years I towered over it. Then it shot up, outgrew the number of Christmas lights we owned, and continued until it stood taller than the two story farmhouse.
I remember the Douglas Fir and Western Cedar plentiful across the Cascade Mountains. From a distance they made a pattern of variegated green stretching for miles.
Then in St. Louis I encountered something new. Several times in the fall I thought the poor evergreens in the area were suffering from a disease. They turned brown and bare — not like evergreens I’d known before.
One day, during a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the puzzle was solved. I happened to read the informational sign and began to understand the peculiar annual cycle of the Bald Cypress. It’s spring. Soon they will disguise themselves as others with short, green needles on well spaced branches.
Reminder to self: Read informational signs more often.