Word of the Day – Krummholz

“Word of the day” is one way in which I encourage my kids to increase their vocabulary. For years a word was written on a piece of paper and attached to the front of the fridge with a magnet. Now I write a word on the white board in the sun room.  Phrasing it “Word of the Day” is not completely accurate, as I post inconsistently.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the exercise regardless of the frequency. Sometimes I get the words from current events in the newspaper or from books. Other times I look up vocabulary lists on the internet and pick a word to share. You can find countless options for “Word of the Day”, so it’s easy to learn new words.

When I saw the word “krummholz” on Glacier’s Facebook page, I thought I’d let you in on it.

German in origin, krumm means crooked, bent, or twisted and holz means wood.

It is used to describe vegetation that grows in sub-alpine and sub-arctic landscapes where freezing cold winter winds and harsh conditions stunt and deform plants and trees.

Parts of trees that are exposed to the elements become damaged or die. Portions that are covered in snow or otherwise sheltered from the fierce environment continue to grow. They become lush and dense near the ground and look crooked or deformed.

Conditions in Glacier National Park and at Logan Pass are ideal for creating krummholz vegetation. When I read the definition, I knew exactly what they were talking about.

Here’s a picture David took of me on the Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park.

The tree in the picture is a good example of krummholz.

Notice the lush growth at the base of the tree.




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