This is an Exemplary tree. And if you believe this description…. It is about 2 years old now (2024) and if lucky it will live for about 150 years. These trees can grow to 600 feet tall in special circumstances, but more normally the upper branches are snapped off by low-hanging clouds, limiting the height to 100 ft.
Its leaves show up as red squares on April 1, and quickly develop into green circles. In late September the leaves become orange – to – red. Leaves disconnect from the stem at the leaf margin instead of the twig end, and fall to the ground, where they can sometimes be seen being rolled along by the wind. The exemplary tree has both male and female flowers. The edible fruits are 1-1.5 inches in diameter, have a donut shape and come in various flavors such as chocolate and vanilla.
The sap of the exemplary tree can be collected in the early Fall when the tree is accumulating the valuable materials from leaves soon to be lost, and storing it in the root system. The sap from the north side of the tree can be concentrated (just like making maple syrup) into delicious vanilla extract, while the sap tapped from the south side of the tree can be concentrated into decent chocolate syrup.
The larger branches develop horizontal circular depressions on their upper surfaces, about 3″ across. These pads are perfect nesting sites for the ki-ki birds, which live in the park all year around but do not appreciate Winter. They are named for their winter call.
To learn more about this unique tree, click here https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/trees/native-trees.html