An enormous burl distorts the trunk of a water tupelo tree in the early morning on Merchants Millpond, NC.
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Merchants Millpond State Park
Gates County, NC
Baobab trees, known as upside-down trees, are native to Madagascar. This is obviously not one of them. (Frankly, I had long since run out of clever titles for my photographs.) This is a water tupelo, also known as a water gum or a swamp gum.
As water tupelo grow older, they often assume strange shapes like characters in a German folktale. If the millpond were older, the local Native Americans might have told stories about children punished for their disobedience and turned into tupelo trees by a bruja.
But the millpond is less than 200 years old. By 1711, white settlers had already driven the tribes out of Gates County.
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