Friday puzzler unearthed!

Lots of good guesses this week! As many of you realized, this is a huge tree root making the best of a small tree pit.  But it’s not a Norway maple (sorry John) or a mulberry (sorry Robert), but a sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) (congratulations Brian!).  (You can see the little mace-like seed pods on the ground.)  The root does resemble a bicep (“Treebeard’s elbow”) flexing to crack the concrete (aka Robert’s  Concretious blandmulsia):

Though sweetgum can be nice urban trees, their roots are quite vigorous and can lift sidewalks several inches above grade as they increase in diameter:


Thanks for all the entries – our readers are smart and funny!

Published by

Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

3 thoughts on “Friday puzzler unearthed!”

  1. I tried to work that into my answer, somehow, but could not come up with a clever connection. How about you, John, or anyone else?

Leave a Reply