Identifying an Old Tree in Michigan Forest

While hunting for morel mushrooms in a Federal forest, I came to a small area with these trees. This was in the state of Michigan. The Federal forest consisted largely of maple, oak, birch, and some red pine trees. The United States Forest Service did not give me an answer about the mysterious ancient tree. I would appreciate any information. The photo is one of the dead tree limbs found lying on the ground.

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March 28, 20180 found this helpful

It really is very hard to tell what kind of tree you found going by the pic. However.. It brings to mind a burl oak. It is not a common oak but is very beautiful.

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March 29, 20180 found this helpful

It is certainly an unusual piece of what appears to be petrified wood.

  • Are you sure you ask the right person about this wood? Did you show them the photo or the item itself?
  • Perhaps it would be illegal to remove the wood? If that is the case then you may just have "novelty" item/photo to show to interested parties.
  • You may be able to Google petrified wood experts and get some information - maybe someone would accept the photo and give their thoughts about your gem.
  • Some universities have departments that specialize in this type of thing and some have museums so you might try checking some of those also.
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March 30, 20180 found this helpful

I don't think it is petrified wood because it would be so heavy. I'm sure the weight would have been notable since it had to be carried out. I think the wood is just old and weathered.


Maybe take a picture of the trees in the forest the next time you visit. That would help us identify them.

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April 1, 20180 found this helpful

I frequently visit our Ocala National Forest and I have found some smaller pieces of petrified wood and the park rangers have been very helpful in helping me identify the tree.

  • We were never allowed to remove any items and our car was lightly searched when we left the park. We would not attempt to remove anything because it can be a federal offense in some cases.
  • I believe the weight of the petrified piece may depend on the type of tree (and even age) as the pieces I found were very light weight.
  • You did mention the common trees in your state park were mostly maple, oak, birch, and some red pine trees so it seems it could be any one of those.
  • You may be able to identify the piece/tree if you look closely at any knots on any fallen limbs (maybe one still attached to the tree) as each tree seems to have a different look inside the knot.
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