Posts Tagged 'trees'

Biodiversity Day

Well, the picture of the aphid on the street oak tree leaf that feeds the ladybug was too blurry to use, but you get my drift… . We certainly merit an extra post today for biodiversity.

This is the husk of the larval stage of the Winter Firefly (Pyractomena borealis). As firefly maven Sara Lewis explains, the Pyractomena genus is fairly unusual among the fireflies. Most fireflies pupate underground. Members of this genus crawl up trees and get in the nooks and crannies of the bark to metamorphosis into an adult beetle. This gnarly bark belongs to a butternut or white walnut (Juglans cinerea), a rarer and rarer tree these days because of a fungal butternut canker. The trees tend to look like hell (a couple at Morris Arboretum look like hell warmed over). These two were hidden away in the forests of Inwood; our Torrey Botanical guide led us to them. Catkin of male flowers of the butternut. The ground underneath was littered with these, as well as with a few old nuts from last fall. These two trees are still kicking. The small red female flowers were visible above through binoculars.The adult firefly emerges a milky white. The soft exoskeleton needs to harden off and darken before this critter is ready to fly.

Time For Some Greens

A jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) wonderland. But shouldn’t they get darker, more stripey? Or does that come with age?The smell of the flowers of Liriodendron tulipifera incites reveries in my smell-brain. Where do I know that smell from? The ants, too, are intrigued. Wonder what they think when they fall out of the sky?While we’re on the subject of the Magnoliaceae, will you look at these dinosaur plants? Umbrella magnolias, Magnolia tripetala, an understory tree.I’d never seen these before.En garde!Another understory tree along the same path: pawpaw (Asimina triloba).Flowers of. Now, I have seen these before, but only in botanical garden and arboretum settings. Here in Williamsburg, VA, they were all along this path, like the jacks, tulipitrees, and magnolias. Funny thing: we found this woodland path via the hotel book; they recommend it for joggers — good gravy, think of all they miss as they stomp through!

Ferns and pines elsewhere in the state.
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Time to say goodbye to the lawn.

Even More Evidence

Pictures from the last week here in Brooklyn and northwestern Philadelphia. As spring continues, so does the most corrupt administration in American history, doing deep and lasting damage to the country, our democracy, and the rule of law.

More Spring

Red maple flowers. Eastern Phoebe.These are wind pollinated trees, so early spring emergence isn’t predicated on insects.An early arriving migrant, this bird is dependent on insects.Speaking of which, beetles and flies are emerging.A millipede in a leafy liverwort. Interesting similarity of shape…And here’s a frog-sex teaser. There’s some amplexus in the water…

Gymnocladus dioicus

The distinctive bark of a young Kentucky coffeetree.The branches look dead in winter, bare of twigs, the buds hidden away. The genus name translates as “naked branch.”The high top of this older male tree looked amazingly shrubby.A nearby female was festooned with seed pods.The bark of a mature specimen.

Of trees and their memories: there’s a lecture on dendrochronology on Sunday afternoon at the Torrey Botanical Society meeting. Which reminds me that I wrote a short piece for JSTOR on dendrochronology’s origins.

If you go to the lecture, keep an ear out for Ravens! A pair was working on a nest last week on the very library building the lecture hall is in, but since then they seem to have transferred their allegiance to a nest across the road at Fordham U.

The Flow

The initial sign.
Seven days later. About right on time (see last year).

Bark

Another tree I can’t quite identify. Click for larger views of barky life.


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