2017 SEM images – part 1

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After recently posting a reminder of the beautiful SEM images taken by Clodagh Dooley of AML in TCD I am delighted today to post some new wonderful SEM images taken of samples from the sibling Oregon Maple that was recently felled in Trinity College Dublin.

Colin Reid of the CMA (Centre for Microscopy and Analysis), Trinity College Dublin, kindly came to our rescue when Clodagh left TCD. During early August David Taylor and I met with Colin Reid, who had kindly portioned some of his time to work with us to choose sample cuttings, image viewpoints and take some SEM images. The resultant images taken by Colin are beautiful and inspiring.  The following slide show is taken from a seed pod.  

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The following slide show is taken from a cross section of a seed twig. 

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The following slide show is taken from a cross section of a damaged twig. 

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Oregon Maple 2017 SEM images revisited

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Revisiting the wonderful images Clodagh Dooley took on the Scanning Electron Microscope in the Advanced Microscopy Lab, Trinity College Dublin during the summer of 2017.

Since the collapse of the Oregon Maple on the 1st of July 2018 I have been revisiting the work completed by the Trinity College Trees Team on this tree during 2017.

Clodagh Dooley took some great images, which later inspired the artwork created by Hassett and suspended in the Oregon Maple during October 2017.  See image above.

To follow a brief recap of some of these images taken of pollen grains (see slideshow bellow and two images of bark lichen which follow the slide show). 

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Behind the artworks – The Oregon Maple

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The Oregon Maple, location: Main square.

The main point of interest for our team and key inspiration for the artwork was the bracing system. This is a very precise system of high tensile stainless steel cables that have been stretched between the heavy limbs and the main trunk thus spreading the load of the heavier branches throughout the tree.

An interesting piece of information is that when the tree surgeon has drilled the correct size holes to insert the support rods he has only a 30 second time frame before the tree will start to repair itself and begin closing the holes.

Large yellow tendon-line artworks have been created by the artist in response to this tree.  These swathes of fabric will be stretched between the limbs and the trunk of the tree on the left mirroring some of the steel cables in the bracing system.

The material used for the artwork is a large continuous length of elasticated lycra. The imagery printed onto the fabric is inspired by the microscopic photographs taken from a cross section of a small branch highlighting the linear cellular pattern of the maple.  

The team will post some images of this art work after the exhibition opens to the public on Friday 29th of September 2017. 

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Image 1: the scanning electron microscope image that inspired the artwork for the Oregon Maple.  

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Image 2: the in-between image. The artist worked with various photoshop filters and touchup techniques to arrive at the final result.  

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Image 3: is the final artwork that was transferred onto a printing screen. 

Tree Spotlight – No. 2 : The Oregon Maple

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  • Acer Macrophyllum, the big leaf maple or Oregon Maple is a large deciduous tree in the genus Acer.
  • It can grow up to 48.89 meters (160ft 5in) tall, but more commonly reaches 15-2- meters (50-60 ft) tall. It is native to western North America, mostly near the Pacific coast, from southernmost Alaska to southern California.
  • It has the largest leaves of any maple,

  • It has the largest leaves of any maple, typically 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in) across, with five deeply incised palmate lobes, with the largest running to 61 centimeters (24 in). In the fall, the leaves turn to gold and yellow, often to spectacular effect against the backdrop of evergreen conifers.

  • The flowers are produced in spring in pendulous racemes 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long, greenish-yellow with inconspicuous petals. The fruit is a paired winged samara, each seed 1–1.5 centimeters (3⁄8–5⁄8 in) in diameter with a 4–5-centimeter (1 5⁄8–2-inch) wing.

  • Color/Appearance: Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from almost white, to a light golden or reddish brown, while the heartwood is a darker reddish brown. Silver Maple can also be seen with curly or quilted grain patterns.

  • Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight, but may be wavy. Has a fine, even texture. The growth rings tend to be lighter and less distinct in Soft Maples than in Hard Maple.

  • Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable in regard to decay resistance.

  • Workability: Fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though maple has a tendency to burn when being machined with high-speed cutters such as in a router. Turns, glues, and finishes well, though blotches can occur when staining, and a pre-conditioner, gel stain, or toner may be necessary to get an even color.

  • Odor: No characteristic odor.

  • Allergies/Toxicity: Bigleaf Maple, along with other maples in the Acer genus have been reported to cause skin irritation, runny nose, and asthma-like respiratory effects. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

  • Pricing/Availability: Should be very moderately priced, though figured pieces such as curly or quilted grain patterns are likely to be much more expensive.

  • Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

  • Common Uses: Veneer, paper (pulpwood), boxes, crates/pallets, musical instruments, turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.

  • Comments: Big leaf Maple is appropriately named, as its leaves (shown below) are the largest of any maple, commonly reaching an overall width of 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) across. Big leaf Maple is a commercially important hardwood timber for the United States’ west coast, where it is virtually the only commercial maple species in the region.

Champion Trees of Ireland

Champion Trees - a selection of Ireland's Great Trees- the tree council of Ireland

Two of the trees from Trinity College Dublin feature in this beautifully illustrated book Champion Trees, a selection of Ireland’s great trees.

Platanus orientalis (Oriental Plane Tree), Trinity College Dublin – 4.98 x 11.5 meters.

Acer macrophyllum (Oregon Maple Tree), Trinity College Dublin – 3.68 @ 1.05 x 16 meters – 2nd greatest girthed of its kind in Ireland.

Of note is that the two Oregon Maples in the main square are also thought to be the oldest trees on the Trinity College Dublin campus.