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Created On: Nov 12, 2007
Last Edited On: Nov 12, 2007


A type of krummholz, the term "cripplebrush" is commonly used in the northeast US to refer to the twisted and stunted forest near treeline. It is believed to have been coined by Herbert Clark while bushwhacking at elevation in the Adirondacks. Quoth Bob Marshall in his article Clark in High Spots [October 1933]: "in the thick mountain balsam, ripping our hides in the process, Herb stoped and sang a song of his own invention which ended, 'You'll never miss the cripple brush til ten years after you die'"

Like krummholz, cripplebrush is a testament to the forces of nature, characterized by stunted, twisted, warped, and hardened branches. Unlike krummholz, cripplebrush grows in vast intertwined thickets, and can be nearly impossible to penetrate. As can be verified by many a bushwhacker, those who have the courage to penetrate the natural fotress rarely emerge unscathed. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is reported by some.

Post your photos of cripplebrush (or the bloody aftermath of encounters with "nature's barbed wire") here. Also, let me know of other synonyms for cripplebrush.


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