Barking up the right tree

Trees are beautiful for many reasons: shape, foliage, flowers, seeds. We grow them for food, timber, shelter and shade. We hug them, we worship them, and we fight over them.

I love trees, and what I love most is their bark. The colors and patterns of bark are a feast for the eye. Its surface textures beg to be explored with our hands. Bark is what makes a tree unique. Bark is sexy.

And bark is a fantastic subject for abstract photography.

Gum tree (Eucalyptus sp.),
Davis, CA
Gum tree (Eucalyptus sp.),
Davis, CA
Sydney red gum (Angophora costata),
Sydney, Australia
Santa Cruz Island ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius),
Davis, CA
California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera),
Sacramento, CA
Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora),
Sydney, Australia
Cut-leaf European white birch
(Betula pendula ‘Crispa’),
Davis, CA
Red alder (Alnus rubra),
Forks, WA
Cork oak (Quercus suber),
Davis, CA
Not a tree, but a tree aloe (Aloe barberae),
Sydney, Australia

These photos, all taken in 2010, only the scratch the surface as far as the immense variety of bark is concerned. Many more images can be found on Google.


  1. I will never see any of these trees growing in my climate. Too bad, because this is some awesome bark! Where were these photos taken?

    Also, I never knew that there was such a thing as "tree aloe".

  2. Alan, I added location info to the photos above. Many were actually taken here in town.

    Tree aloe: There are quite a few aloes that grow to tree size. Aloe barberae is supposedly the tallest with a max. height of 40 ft. Geoff Stein wrote a great series of articles on aloes over at Here are two specifically on tree aloes:

    Part 1: Unbranched tree aloes (

    Part 2: Branching tree aloes (


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