Octopus Tree

Sitka spruce cloak the Pacific Northwest’s maritime headlands. Here, where the sounds of the surf are never silent, Sitka can be dominant. Arguably Oregon’s most iconic Sitka is the Octopus Tree. Rather than a central trunk, it’s limbs are arranged radially. At 105 feet tall, with a a vase-like shape, and a circumference of 47 feet, it’s a remarkable tree and a photographic challenge.


In February, when I took this photo, I could hear, above the crash of the surf, the roar of Steller’s sea lions from their haul out on an offshore sea stack.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Large Subjects


  1. Ken just dropped by my office and mentioned your site.
    I thought I would say hi – 25 years since I was on an Oregon beach…

    1. So cool Mike! Wow, 25 years. I should be surprised, I don’t think I’ve been back to UCR since my defense. Seeing your note is a good reminder, I have a ton of crustacean photos I’d like to get posted. There are little mysids in the sand, adorable beach hoppers too, mole crabs, and all the traditional intertidal crustaceans. I can even identify some! You can probably master the keys much better than I can. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop a line. I’m grateful to Ken for making this reconnection possible.

      1. Ken drops by from time to time. When I was at U of O, we dropped down to Florence on a regular basis. Great beach. I mainly focus on coastal sage/desert plants these days – especially ones I can grow and see if they have edible parts. Although, we are trying some pitfall traps in intro bio – need to work on those insect ids.
        I look forward to more pictures.

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