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Sitka Spruce Burls On The Olympic Coast Olympic National Park Wa
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© CT-Graphics - Christine Till
The rugged coastlines of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park are lined with sometimes difficult-to-access beaches and spectacular forests.
The stretch between Highway 101 and Beach 1 is particularly fascinating for tree lovers. The big bulges on Beach One's ocean side spruces � the burls � are non-cancerous tumors. Damage to the tips or buds of the Sitka Spruces causes the cells to divide more rapidly. The ocean seems to be an important factor in forming the burls - the salty air may irritate the damaged buds.
Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, prized for its beauty as well as its rarity. However, the Sitka spruce burls in the coastal forest near Beach 1 are not harvested for use. Removing the tremendous-size burl would cause the death of the tree.
February 19th, 2011
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