Posts Tagged 'trees'



Douglas-cones

This color! Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones start out red. As they mature through the spring, they turn this surprising and delightful purplish.Then they green as the chlorophyll comes into its own. In the fall, they will dry out and turn tan-brown, opening to release up to 50 tiny seeds per cone. A tree has to be about 20 years old before it starts producing cones, and the more mature trees produce more. This UC site has a lot more information about this species.

The three-pointed bracts sticking out from the scales of the pendulous cones are distinctive.

These photos are from way out of the native range of this wonderful tree, in the New York Botanical Garden. Here’s a little something I wrote about them on their native slopes.

And in a throwback to Thoreau Thursdays, here’s a fine thought-provoking review of Walls’s new biography of Thoreau.

Charismatic Megaflora

Fagus sylvatica.Quercus alba.I came across this play on “charismatic megafauna” here, which explores the fact that bigger is not necessarily oldest.

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The neo-confederate Jeff Sessions is the knife at the throat of our basic liberties, and the point man for the Republican dream of a Potemkin democracy overlaying a practical autocracy.

Beginnings

Oh, spring, spring, you are so fast! Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).One of the lindens (Tilia). Some galls are already planted on these. As with the leaves immediately below, these were windfalls. Pin oak (Quercus palustris).Beech (Fagus) about to blow.Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) already blown.
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Share the pre-existing condition of being human? Then the GOP WealthCare abomination that passed the House yesterday isn’t for you.

Pollarding

 

In Ye Olde Colonial Williamsburg, we found some curious trees.These are pollarded Sycamores. They’ve been pruned back in the canopy to promote denser branching and foliage, and to control height and reach (good for urban areas). The practice is at least two millennia old. The English brought it with them to the Virginia colony.Rather Entish in silhouette, eh?
Somewhere in here I also wrote about coppicing, another tree-management strategy. Ah, here it is!

Sprung

Tossing their pollen into the air…

Scott Pruitt, the oil and gas industry operative given the hammer to destroy our environmental protections, claims that physics and chemistry are bunk. (Such a good lesson for students, but, then, the person put in charge of education doesn’t even know what education is; she thinks it’s a fundamentalist-infected profit-center.)

We know Pruitt’s paymasters are aware that he’s talking out of his ass. Exxon, for instance, has known for decades that global warming is the result of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane, both byproducts of their industry (and, of course, the rest of civilization). They have suppressed their own scientists and lied to everyone, including their alleged “owners,” the stockholders.

As I’ve said before, these destructive fools can claim it doesn’t happen, they can destroy and defund, but they can’t stop it. And the bullshit excuse that all these lies are for jobs? Sorry, but what a bitter joke. This is for the profit of the few who claim “liberty” is their right to despoil and pollute.

Here’s a clear explanation of climate change if your friends need one. The author, Erin Blakemore, with whom I work at JSTOR, also provides this sidebar of six irrefutable pieces of evidence.

Pod

Gymnocladus dioicusVariation on a Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) pod.

“Listen to them! The children of the night. What music they make.” Ok, Bela Lugosi’s Count D is talking about the Transylvanian wolves, but Brooklyn has some interesting early spring night musicians, too. Join me on a Brooklyn Brainery expedition to the edges of the borough to listen for spring peepers, choral frogs, and American Woodcock doing their mating flights on the 18th. It will be cold and dark and we will be depending on our ears more than our our eyes, for a change.

Oak Galls

gall1The mighty oaks and their galls are an endless source of curiosity. This particular type, a hard, fruit-like structure, is created by a tiny wasp, which essentially irritated the tree into making them for their larva.
galls2Clever boots! The trees are Swamp White Oak (Q. bicolor), according to the Street Tree Map. (I’m waiting on some leaves to see if I can confirm that.)gall3The wasp’s exit hole. I think these are Disholcaspis genus gall wasps. D. quercusmamma perhaps? (Why, yes, a translation of that would be “oak breasts.”)


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