White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

The purpose of this forum is to help people identify things they've seen while out hiking: wildflowers, trees, birds, insects, small animals, animal tracks, even geographical features like buttes or streams
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Walkin' Fool
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Joined: July 7th, 2014, 10:03 am

White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

Post by Walkin' Fool » July 19th, 2020, 10:41 am

Does anybody know what this white plant is? Found in the Mt Hood Wilderness at about 2,000'.
IMG_6131.JPG
IMG_6130.JPG
That same trip, while exploring off-trail, we found this tree girdled. There were tons of mountain beaver holes around, but I don't think they girdle trees this size. The person whose hand is in the picture was squatting down, for size reference. It was a fair distance off-trail with a somewhat unpleasant bushwhack to get there, and no real reason to go there, so I don't think it was human-made. A bear peeling the bark?
Tree girdle.jpg

Webfoot
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Location: Troutdale

Re: White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

Post by Webfoot » July 19th, 2020, 12:08 pm

I think that's Indian Pipe but I've never seen it in.

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adamschneider
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Re: White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

Post by adamschneider » July 19th, 2020, 12:38 pm

Webfoot wrote:
July 19th, 2020, 12:08 pm
I think that's Indian Pipe but I've never seen it in.
Yup, Monotropa uniflora (link).

pcg
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Joined: May 31st, 2011, 7:46 pm
Location: Chehalem Mountain

Re: White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

Post by pcg » July 19th, 2020, 3:27 pm

Yes, that's where a bear stripped the bark to feed off the cambium. They do this in winter and early spring when there's nothing else to eat. Beaver and squirrels will strip bark like this to get at cambium as well, but when you see long dual tooth marks that are sized and spaced like that, that indicates bear. Like in this photo...
bear cambium feeding-1.JPG
You will find the bark on the ground around the tree as they don't eat the bark.

Squirrels will scrape cambium off the bare trunk as well as off the back of the bark they remove, but their teeth marks are much smaller and much more closely spaced. Beaver teeth marks are similar in size to bear, but both beaver and squirrel gnaw marks are very short, whereas a bear will scrape his teeth down the trunk for as much as a foot or more.

As you stated, I've never seen mountain beaver do anything that looks like this. Usually they browse on whole branches, but when they go looking for cambium it's on small branches that are higher up in a tree.

Just last week I was surprised to find Indian Pipe growing on my property on Chehalem Mountain SW of Portland.

Walkin' Fool
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Joined: July 7th, 2014, 10:03 am

Re: White alien-looking plant and tree girdle

Post by Walkin' Fool » July 20th, 2020, 11:26 am

So helpful! Thank you all!

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