New Tree Species Found In Worcester

BERLIN — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials last week officially identified and recorded a rare species of tree found in Worcester County in the Pocomoke State Forest.

The tree species Swamp Bay, or Persea palustris, was discovered and measured earlier this month in Hickory Point Cypress Swamp at Pocomoke State Forest by Dan Wilson, a volunteer with the Maryland Big Tree Program (MBTP).

“In the past, the Department of Natural Resources recorded the existence of this tree growing in Hickory Point Cypress Swamp, but this is the first time a full measurement has been taken so that the tree can be added to the Maryland database maintained by our program,” said John Bennett, volunteer coordinator of MBTP. “It’s possible that other populations exist in other locations in Maryland.”

The swamp bay is listed on Maryland’s Threatened and Endangered Species List for Worcester County. The tree has a circumference of 17 inches, a height of 27 feet and an average crown spread of 20 feet. Its total point value is 49, making it the first State Champion. The swamp bay is more common in North Carolina. The U.S. Champion, with a total of 212 points is located in a swamp in Newport News, Virginia.

The swamp bay is now the 143rd tree species to be added to the Maryland Big Tree Program. The recently found example is among a clump of smaller trees of the same species, so it appears there is a well-established colony to support future growth.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.