Stunning Images Capture Two Indiana Trees Embraced in a Kiss of Death
These images show the stunning brutality of nature.
A Stunning Nature Capture
Recently in a Facebook group called Indiana Native Plant Society, there were photos posted of two trees that look to be kissing, but this isn't a kiss of love, this is more of a kiss of death. What is actually happening in these photos is both stunning and a bit brutal.
The photos were captured by Barb Martin in Vigo county, Indiana at the beginning of January. The pictures depict two trees that almost look to be kissing, but actually, it seems one tree is encompassing the other, which means it's basically choking the other tree out. Someone commented that they believed these photos captured something called "inosculation." However, this seems to be a case of encompassing rather than inosculation.
Barb posted a comment that explains this process and what is going on in these photos much better than I can:
My understanding of inosculation is when one or more trees naturally graft together fusing their cambium layers through wounding. This is not what has happened here. The Tuliptree is growing around the Black Cherry tree choking it out. The Black Cherry tree has many dead branches and will not survive much longer. I have heard the term *hugging* (encompassing) vs *inosculation* as an example of terminology.
So guess if we were to ask the hypothetical question of who would win in a fight, the Tulip tree or the Black Cherry tree, it seems the Tulip tree would win (at least this round)!
Both Trees are Native to Indiana
I think what makes these photos so fascinating is that both of these trees are native to the state of Indiana, so it isn't an invasive tree taking over a native tree. The Tulip Tree is actually Indiana's official state tree and is known for its flowers that bloom in the spring or early summer. Here is what IN.Gov has to say about Indiana's State Tree:
The tulip tree (Liriodendron Tulipifera), known also as yellow poplar, was adopted by the 1931 General Assembly (Indiana Code 1-2-7). It attains great height and can be found throughout the state. The leaf is distinctive (it appears in the border of the state seal), and the lovely bell-shaped greenish-yellow flowers appear in May or June. The soft white wood has many uses.
The Black Cherry Tree which is also pictured in this "kiss of death" is also native to Indiana. According to Purdue.edu, the Black Cherry Tree is actually the only native tree-sized cherry tree in the state of Indiana.
Black cherry, which is shade intolerant, is the only native, tree-sized cherry tree in Indiana. It is one of the quicker growing upland hardwood species in the state, and can grow to 60 to 80 feet tall and two to three feet in diameter.
These photos are an absolutely stunning nature capture, thank you so much Barb for allowing me to share them!