Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Architecture for Time Release
But the lumpy black walnut at bottom right is the most interesting to me right now. I found this one in the woods today in a perfect state of transition: the outer hull, which contains astringent and bitter-tasting tannin, has almost completely rotted away (also thanks to the tannin) now that the squirrels and other nut gatherers have gone into hibernation. The hard inner shell is now safe for the winter, until the longer days and warmer temperature and moisture of spring trigger the growth of the tiny seed inside. When the seed begins to grow, the enormous force generated will crack the walnut shell open along dehiscent lines, and the seedling will grow into one of the ten thousand black walnut trees that we spend all summer trying to eradicate from our gardens and yards.