These trees have caught my eye over the years, but my attention has been fleeting. Until now I never bothered to look into identifying these trees at NE 15th Avenue and Knott Street. I found them again while studying Portland’s Heritage tree map for this area.
I had a lot of difficulty getting shots of these trees. The foliage creates such dense shade, and the wind causes continuous swaying of the 20-inch long strings of pendulous seeds. It’s this feature that makes you stop and notice. The image below captures a bit of the impression this tree gives even at a quick glance.
And a bit closer:
Caucasian wingnut, Pterocarya fraxinifolia, is not common in Portland. This species is in the walnut family, Junglandaceae, and is native to the Caucasus region, the mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. It’s known as a fast-growing, broadly spreading shade tree. The specific part of its botanical name points to its similarity to ash trees (genus Fraxinus) in leaf (‘folia’) form.
The suckers coming up from the ground gave me the best opportunity to observe the leaves’ upper surface.
If you go for a visit, look to the south side of Knott east of 15th Ave, and the north side of Knott west of 15th Ave.