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Plant Focus

Quercus peninsularis
A Red Oak (Section Lobatae) endemic to inland ranges of northern Baja California, Mexico

Pathfinder: the Last Prairie Sentinel

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Guy Sternberg

Published May 2016 International Oaks No. 27: 207–216

Abstract

“Trail tree” is a term used to describe trees that were purposely bent long ago as directional signs. As late as the mid-20th century, dozens of these bent trees still existed in parts of the United States. Most of the true trail trees in Illinois are now gone, but this cultural and natural heritage remains of interest to many people. Much speculative literature can be found about trail trees and how to distinguish them from trees bent by other causes. Trees that meet a series of standards can be considered likely candidates for trail-tree status. Those standards, and the story of one such tree, are presented here.

Keywords

trail tree, marker tree, pointer tree, thong tree