After a day of quite intense climbing we decided to go an check out a very large Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) in the nearby Margarethen Park, my favorite park here in town, hands down. The reason for this was that during the past few days we had been discussing how tall Hornbeams can grow and Stef had read an article that referenced a Hornbeam measuring 35 meters.
This is monumentaltrees.com‘s list of champion Hornbeams in Europe…
So anyway, all this got me wondering about the one in Margarethen… so today we decided to measure it.
It was a long ascent into the tree – with an anchor point at about 27 meters – from there it was not far to the very top. The tree was stunning, just so impressive and beautiful. The tree had grown on a slope uphill from a stand of very large Beeches. Part of the reason for the exceptional size of the trees on this slope is that there are spring all along the hillside that provide a constant trickle of water. This Carpinus has a lot of spectacular, weathered and slowly decomposing deadwood in it, which reminded me of Nev Fay‘s passionate appeal to recognize the value and above all to leave deadwood in trees when- and wherever possible.
I actually found climbing on this tree really humbling, there is an inherent beauty and dignity to such an old tree and I feel it is a privilege to be able to interact with such a fascinating being by climbing on it.
Oh yes, what was the height, you ask?
Weeeeell, we measured 33.75 meters, ground to tippy tip. Which is… well, very tall for a Hornbeam. As you can see from Monumental Tree’s chart it is less than a meter off being Top of the Pops. Having said that though, by the end of the day I did not really mind, being able to climb this monumental tree with a bunch of friends more than made up for any missing meter!