Sunday, December 20, 2015

More of the Slumbering Woods

 Buds , like seeds, generally sleep protected by their scales through the winter.  I never gave a thought to the twigs of trees until I took a nature study course in college and had to build a dichotomous key to use in identifying trees based on their winter twigs.  Fascinatingly complex!  Those tightly wrapped buds must get their cues from the light and not the temperature or they would all be unfurling this winter.  I identified these using a dichotomous key from a winter tree finder book.

At the bottom of this page are two twigs that have flowers blooming in mid-winter.  The leather-leaf mahonia on the left usually blooms in early February here, but its yellow buds look poised to pop open.  The heather always blooms all winter here, which made me curious about what pollinates it.  The answer:  along with a number of bees, moths, ants, and other insects, the wind pollinates it and also scatters the hundreds of seeds from each tiny blossom.

No comments:

Post a Comment