In this installment of a somewhat regular feature, NYSUFC Board Member, author, blogger and Taking Root editor Jean Zimmerman reflects upon the diversity of specimens that might earn the status of a favorite.

What’s your favorite tree? It’s a simple question. One I get asked a lot. It has no simple answer.

It depends upon the day and on the season, on my mood and also where I happen to be roving at the time. Also on the specimen’s growth habit — for me, I  tend to value the concept of curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

Those who know me may find no surprises here, so please go talk amongst yourselves while I prattle on about the pawpaw, Creamsicle in a skin.

I do like the trees that cause me to slow down, take notice.

London planes are sort of my totem trees, with their sags and bags. Last winter I encountered Gertrude, a statuesque character I met doing tree preservation on a street in Queens.

L.p.’s resemble nothing so much as Venus figurines, some dating back 35,000 years. Pure poetry.

Recently I made the acquaintance of Jake at Ellis Island. These trees were designated Ellis Island Sycamores in 1987. Honestly, I think they more resemble the sycamore’s kissing (homelier) cousin the London plane, but who am I to make a fuss?

Yes, I’m just a dumb old galoot with a belly sag, prickly balls and bad skin, doing my ho-hum job of cleaning your air for free and eating your carbon. Belch! You’re excused.

These guys are serious survivors, even thrivers, in difficult conditions, whether drought or flood or smog, and I want to learn from them.

I’m especially fond of the European beech, Fagus sylvatica, especially the copper ones and especially the weepers.

Where I grew up, we had a copper beech in a meadow which drew kids of all ages to congregate beneath its swarthy branches, make hay, make trouble, make out, whatever.

I may be the only arborist around who likes carvings on beech bark.

But I find I like the history and culture of trees as much as their biology, the way they interface with humans. And I like it a person connects with a tree so much as to leave an indelible statement on its trunk.

Do these autographs really disturb the phloem all that much? Considering the age and good health of some human-inscribed trees, I am not sure.

Moving on to cherries, I like every one of the hundreds of varieties.

For their beautiful lenticel stitches.

Especially, natch, the weeping cultivars.

Why do I like weeping so much? Willows, too. Those who do not weep, do not see, wrote Victor Hugo.

I also adore pin oaks, possessed of leaves with deeply carved sinuses.

Deodar cedars for their gi-normous cones.

Message trees.

Trees that eat things.

Trees that are just an excuse for moss.

Trees that frame both tracks and river, in this case the mighty Hudson.

Trees that frame clouds, in this case over the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

I also love those dead trees you see along the highway. They’re not Sierra-Club-perfect but they make great roosting spots for raptors. Of course I’m going too fast at 70 mph to get a proper picture, but you get what I mean.

I like any Christmas tree. But especially mine.

The shagbark hickory. Its name a perfect example of iconicity, in which the name embodies the way a thing looks.

I like any hickory, though, including the one with canopy aglow I strolled beneath with a friend on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle.

Speaking of bark, here’s white ash in Catskill, New York. What’s not to love?

The pegs of the early spring Ginkgo biloba are awesome, especially saluting the flag in Concord, Mass.

Any tree with a critter lair, the more the merrier. Welcome home!

Lindens for their lemony bracts.

And for the perfume of their blossoms. What is that smell? effused a tourist at Ellis Island the other day, looking all around her, perplexed. Well, ma’am, that is the living marvel you see right in front of your eyes. Oh, somehow I missed it. That’s okay, the bumblebee found it.

Speaking of fragrance, the butterscotch scent of a ponderosa in a spot like Yosemite could knock you over when you press your nose up close to its crevices.

Redbud, Eastern, Western, what have you.

Its flowers, so delectable in a salad.

I love cauliflory, the magical way redbud blossoms open on branches and trunks.

Also, alligator juniper with its often conjoined stems, to which I’ve often paid homage in Sedona’s Boynton Canyon. Husband-and-wife trees.

Am I forgetting anyone? Malus domestica, so common but never unimportant – often the favorite even for arborists with granular knowledge of dendrology, because many grew up with one in their back yard. Where would civilization be without apple trees? Nowhere. Ask Eve.

And let me put in a word for the palms and saguaros of the world. Not strictly trees, I know. But they present as trees, they are tree wannabes, and they make a good substitute for those who have to make do without pin oaks or lindens or hickories.

Tell me your favorite tree, and I will comp you on a tour to see the venerable Ellis Island London planes — errrr, I mean, sycamores. It’s an honorific, not a cultivar.

Every tree deserves an honorific, if you ask me.