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Trees of Yosemite (1932, 1948) by Mary Curry Tresidder


This book began with the attempt of the artist to transfer to paper the distinctive patterns of a few of the pine cones strewn in profusion about the Valley floor; others were added because it seemed a pity to pass them by; and it took definite form at last as a record of what she saw and a guide to the trees commonly encountered in the Yosemite National Park. Working on it has enriched days in the Valley and upon the mountains for both the artist and the author; it is our hope that it may enable our readers to know the trees as friends.

We desire to acknowledge our obligation to the authors of the books we have listed in our bibliography; to give our thanks to Colonel C. G. Thomson, Superintendent of the Yosemite National Park, and to Mr. C. A. Harwell, Park Naturalist, for ready access to the necessary resources and materials; and to express our appreciation of the aid of Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Michael of Yosemite, who read the book in manuscript, and to whom we are indebted for many observations, as well as for a keener vision of the trail-side.

Mary Curry Tresidder
Della Taylor Hoss

20 November 1941


After fifteen years this book is being reissued. The nomenclature has been changed in some cases, so as to conform more closely to current usage. The Golden-Cup Oak has therefore become the Canyon Live Oak, and the Mountain Pine, that dweller in high places, is given its official title of Western White Pine or Silver Pine, while the Western Yellow Pine is now the Ponderosa Pine. Both names are given in the index in such instances, with cross-references.

Alterations other than these are few, except that I have fallen more than ever in love with the Red Fir, and its chapter has been slightly expanded. Finding myself importuned by friends about the problem, I have also gone into more detail about check points for distinguishing such trees as the Red Fir, the White Fir, and the Douglas Fir.

During the last five years I have been living at some distance from Yosemite. Sometimes I wonder whether one may see the trees with a fresher and more perceptive eye when he is not so constantly among them. On a recent winter visit to the mountains I was almost startled at the different nuances of color and shadow among the Red Firs of the forest near Badger Pass, for instance, and the Sugar Pine and Ponderosa Pine seemed more distinctive in their anatomical structure than I remembered, conscious though I had been of their contrasting silhouettes.

Perhaps we merely forget these things between whiles, but I do believe that the returning wanderer observes with more emotion and with more poignant appreciation, just as he thrills at breathing “an ampler ether, a diviner air,” on climbing away from the city smog, out of the dusty, chaparral-covered foothill country, into the clean fragrance of the Yellow Pine Belt.


15 January 1948


Too late for inclusion in its proper place, yet too exciting to be passed over, comes the news that an expedition sponsored by the Save-the-Redwoods League, and headed by Dr. Ralph Chaney of the University of California, has confirmed the truth of reports from Chinese botanists that another species of Sequoia, previously known only in fossil form in widely scattered parts of the world, has been found growing in rice paddies in the interior of China. Specimens and seedlings of the “dawn-redwood” have been brought hack here for study and experiment.

M. C. T.

March 1948

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management