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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since mid-Oct, 2017, I've been under the good care of an ID doc - know what that is? He specializes in "Infectious Diseases" - and that's all I'm going to say about that - for now. I was so impressed with his professionalism and care I sent him a White Oak cane which I had made last fall. But I included a picture of my FAV Cane #100 - Diamond Willow - previously described here.

In his thank-you note the good doctor asked if I knew that diamond willow is a "cancer of a fungal infection valsa sordida" - and I had to confess.

Someone here had mentioned diamond willow was a fungus but that's all I knew.

See what I mean about his professionalism?

"valsa sordida"

Good grief - he's even aware of tree diseases.

I'm thankful he's my doctor.

-neb

Ps - Isn't God Good?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Trees and other woody plants often have large or interesting swellings on their trunks or branches. The cause is often difficult or impossible to determine. Possible causes include fungi, bacteria, insects, mechanical or environmental injury, or genetic mutation. The terms gall, tumor and burl are commonly applied to describe these abnormal swellings.

Galls and tumors can be any size or shape and may occur on both woody and herbaceous plants and plant parts. The swelling occurs as cells divide more rapidly than normal (hyperplasia) and/or due to excessive cell enlargement (hypertrophy). Burls are generally considered to be large woody swellings that are basically hemispherical in shape. They often bear many buds and sometimes sprouts. The burls of black walnut, coast redwood, sugar maple and black cherry are highly prized by woodworkers for their beautiful swirling or 'bird's eye' grain.

https://uconnladybug.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/galls-burls-explained-sort-of/
 

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Some trees naturally form burls instead of them being caused by some sort of trauma or infection. Briar is a common one. The burl is actually the root ball of the tree. It helps allow the trees to survive in case of fires. My understanding is manzanita is another example though I'm not sure it's burs are as common. Both have been used for tobacco pipes, Manzanita was used as a briar substitute in WWII when briar couldn't be imported.
 

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Speaking of burls, I ran across this video the other day. About a minute and a half montage of horses carved from burl wood. Some amazingly beautiful work. The one called "Danielle's Seeker" at 00.40 is especially beautiful.

 

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Maybe your doctor had thought about becoming a tree surgeon but couldn't stand the sight of sap.
Thank you for the best laugh of my day! My dad tried to coerce me into med school, but post-Vietnam (and the 1968 Tet offensive), I knew that the sight of blood would produce flashbacks, and he wasn't happy that I went for dinosaur blood (as a geologist).

Vance
 
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