Tag Archives: dendrographia


Dendrographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.

This mulberry tree just showed up in my back yard one spring. It was about 2 inches tall and looked like a weed of some kind. I didn’t care if it was. I wanted to let it grow and find out what it was. Over the next five year I diligently sprayed it with deer repellent and carefully mowed around it when I cut the grass, and it grew, starting to look like a tree with brownish silver bark and fattening limbs. And it kept growing. Now it is about forty feet high with symmetrical spreading branches. In summer, it leafs out and bears little white mulberries that turn dark purple as they as ripen. When the berries come, the tree becomes packed with Cedar Waxwings, which do not show up any other time during the year. I think they are beautiful birds and I don’t care if they strip the tree of berries.

Sometimes I stop to consider how all this began: a single seed landed from somewhere and, with minimal care, made a pretty big tree. I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes when the wind rustles through it’s leaves it sounds like the mulberry tree is saying “hug me.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Dendrographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.

There so many trees that are older than me. There is one in my woods. It is a white pine tree that, judging by its size,  is at least 80 years old. I am 70. I look up at it–it’s probably 100 feet tall. I am 6′ 2″ tall–I weigh around 200, the white pine probably weighs a ton.

The tree is graceful. As it sways in wind, its pinecones fall to earth and feed squirrels, chipmunks, mice and probably more! Additionally, its pinecones’ seeds sometimes sprout, take root and grow into new trees.

The white pine’s branches are covered with “needles”–green pin-like growths that do the work of leaves, and have a fragrance that says “Welcome to the woods.” Also, beneath the white pine, the ground is carpeted with sweet-smelling needles that have turned brown and make a soft place to rest or relax and daydream.

In sum, the white pine is a towering tribute to nature’s expressions of its beauty, diversity, and endurance.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)


Dendographia (den-do-graf’-i-a): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.

The hillside was clearcut, except for one wounded fir tree wobbling in the wind; slowly dying in the bleak twisted mess that used to be a forest.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)


Dendographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.

Driving alone along the winding country road–early morning–late autumn–just snowed–there’s an apple tree off in an overgrown abandoned field–unprotected, unpruned; abandoned like the field, but still faithful to the season set with bright red apples–untouched, untended, twisted gray & groping old tree–but red, red, red, red–too many pretty apples to count, too much left unsaid.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)