22, 2004 19:57 PST
On the 13th of the month I went back to the Tamassee Knob area
the height on the tuliptree I measured two years ago at 169.1'
measure some of the other tuliptrees in the same small grove.
in the northwestern corner of SC, is situated at the
intersection of the
escarpment on the east side of station mountain and the
ridge that leads out to Tamassee Knob itself. The south side of
maintains about a 30 degree slope and rises roughly 200 feet
floor of the cove while the steep side of Station Mountain
approximately 20 and 35 degrees and in that section rises about
Part of the grove occurs on the floor of the cove, which slopes
ten degrees, but stays close to the steep slopes. Scattered tall
grow elsewhere on the floor and one of the two tallest known
pines inhabits the area, but that more open part of the cove is
disturbed by wind and has a very uneven canopy. Some windthrow
on the south side of the ridge, so the dense cluster of
occupies more of the slope of Station Mountain. The area of the
probably does not exceed five acres.
In the immediate area, other hardwoods have difficulty competing
overstory with the tuliptrees. Lone sweetgum, white ash,
hickory, and northern red oak hold spaces in the canopy.
particularly chestnut oak, play a much greater role in the
canopy, and a
couple of slippery elms in a more open area separate one
the rest of the stand. Also along the periphery of the stand,
ascend many of the tuliptrees and smaller trees. The understory
open in the middle of the area with only a few red mulberry,
crown dieback and in adjacent areas, flowering dogwood. The
spicebush in the area was in full bloom as were the elms and at
three species of vilolets. However, bloodroot and Trillium
by far the most abundant wildflowers in the cove at this time of
For a second growth cove, ages of canopy trees in this stand
surprisingly greatly. Bark characteristics vary from tight,
weaves to furrows over an inch deep with a few ridges braking
Similarly, some of the crowns are asymmetrical and beginning to
individual distinctions, but many other trees show remarkably juvenile
crown structure for their diameters. Some trees in the stand
major branching for over 100' feet while others retain small,
approximately horizontal limbs arching away from the trunk below
of major branching. Based on these characteristics, many of the
trees appear between 100 and 125 years old, but a few appear
Previously measured trees in the stand include a sweetgum
4'5" x 141.4'
and tuliptrees 8'4.5" x 160.9', 14'3" x 156.8', and
169.1'. A full
description of the largest tuliptree, which does not appear
other trees in the grove, is included in a post from November '03.
Species Height Cbh Comment
Mulberry, Red 49.5' 3'3" slightly separated from tulips.
Only live one of
Oak, N. Red 136.6' 7'11"
Oak, Post 98.5' 4'4.5" Different cove
Tuliptree 153.2' 8'4"
Tuliptree 153.7' 5'7"
Tuliptree 155.3' 7'3"
Tuliptree 155.9' 8'8"
Tuliptree 156.0' 5'6.5"
Tuliptree 156.8' 10'3" Probably Has higher top
Tuliptree 158.2' 7'4.5"
Tuliptree 158.9' 8'11" slightly separated from rest of
Tuliptree 159.4' 6'8.5"
Tuliptree 160.2' 8'5.5" Previously measured @160.9'
Tuliptree 163.8' 7'8.5" Longest shot of day
Tuliptree 168.3' 9'3.5" Extensive rot in trunk, well formed
Tuliptree 168.5' 8'3.5" 2nd top 167.1', multiple arching
Tuliptree 170.2' 7'5" Previously measured @169.1'
I am quite pleased with the confirmation of the tallest tree in
My three measurements of the height were 167.8', 170.15', and
The highest points on the tree appear to occur in a single vertical
with the two highest twigs differing in height by about two
twig represent the end of the main trunk while the other twig is
upturned branch that originates about 15 feet from the end of
trunk. The rest of the crown is quite symmetrical except for a
kink in the
trunk that is probably between 130' and 140'. I doubt any branch
tree reaches eight inches in diameter, and the bark shows no
whatever. The tree stands on the floor of the cove right next to
ephemeral streambed that comes down from the intersection of the
The tree know has the edge on the title of tallest tree in the
five other trees have been measured within two feet of the most
height, and a deceased pine in the Congaree was a full three
Hence, the grove as a whole probably has greater significance.
contains the tallest known hardwoods in the east outside of the
well as the highest hardwood canopy outside of the park. The mix
also makes me optimistic that, barring some catastrophic wind
stand should be able to maintain comparable or greater heights
time to come.
Tamassee Knob revisted
23, 2004 03:46 PST
Your detailed description of Tamassee
Knob-Station Mountain cove and its superb stand of trees is one
of the best I've ever read. Simply, one of the best. The picture
you paint is crystal clear and loaded with information on tree
form and age structure and the precise details of your
measurements. It is fitting that this superb South Carolina
mountain forest should be described in the finest detail. We are
very fortunate to have you as part of ENTS and the cornerstone
of our measurement capability in northwestern South Carolina. Oh
yes, and congratulations on breaking the 170-foot threshold for
tulip tree in South Carolina. It appears that tulip hits its
upper limit at 170 to 180 and the odds of us finding taller ones
is small. There are plenty of old growth specimens in the
Smokies and Joyce Kilmer and we just don't find them breaking