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November 4, 2011 / Leslie

Review: Seeing Trees

Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees
by Nancy Ross Hugo, Robert Llewellyn

Genre: Nature, Trees
Publisher: Timber Press
Publish Date: August 15th 2011
Format: Hardcover | 244 pages
Rating: 5 of 5

Trees are all around us. We see trees everywhere, whether we live in the city or the country, but do we really look at them and appreciate them? Or have they become commonplace, a part of the scenery? Seeing Trees takes a close up look at many trees we pass by everyday.

As a bird watcher I am familiar with a lot of trees as both a home for the birds and as their food source. I spend a lot of time seeing the trees up close through my binoculars or camera lens as I’m following the birds. I have gone on nature trail tree walks and observed the trees and their structure, but this book goes a step further and delves into the fascinating detail of the smallest individual parts of the tree.

Seeing Trees is not just descriptions of trees, it is also a fantastic display of photography. Using special software, photographer Robert Llewellyn has produced gorgeous close up images of various parts of the tree. The images were produced by stitching together multiple photos taken at different focal points to create incredibly sharp and detailed photos.

The book is divided into two main parts, the first third discusses the different traits of trees such as leaves, flowers, fruit, buds, bark and twigs and the remainder is an intimate look at ten featured trees (American Beech, Ginkgo, Red Maple, Southern Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, White Oak, White Pine, American Sycamore, Black Walnut and Eastern Red Cedar), all common in North America. Interesting facts are presented in an easy to understand, conversational format. Spread throughout the text are the beautiful, detailed photos that I can’t say enough wonderful things about.

The more you look at a tree the more you will see. Two of the ten featured trees are ones I have in my own yard. My Eastern Red Cedar is a magnet for birds. Every year a bird will build a nest in it and in the autumn Robins and Cedar Waxwings flock to it to eat the berries it produces. Those berries are like fast food for birds! I thought I knew a lot about my tree but I learned that it is a female tree, males don’t produce berries, they only produce pollen. Other trees like my Black Walnut are both male and female. And those walnuts that rain down on me every autumn, they are edible if you want to go through the trouble of getting to them through the fruit. I’ll leave mine for the squirrels.

This is a gorgeous book, a great reference and a beautiful addition to the nature lover’s bookshelf. My copy was from the library and I hated to have to return it. Now I can put it on my holiday wish list!


Leave a Comment
  1. Suko / Nov 4 2011 5:38 pm

    Leslie, this sounds like a beautiful book. I wish you were able to keep your copy!


  2. Debbie Rodgers / Nov 5 2011 10:44 am

    Leslie, this sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for. The only trees I can identify (and then only some of the time) are the trees we learned about in grade school. Out here in the country, there are so many and I’m constantly wondering “what is that tree with the beautiful shape?” or “what’s that tree with the blooms that make me sneeze?”

    I must look for this book and add it to my library!



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