Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring 3 A Wintry Interlude

The ground white with snow startled me this morning.  "Sleet" my wife corrected.  Even so, my mind and the flowers and bursting buds all agreed that it was spring.  But it was cold enough that much of the white stuff survived most of the day, even where sunlight reached.  What effect did this weather have on the flowers?

Sleet on the ground set off the little white pines and hairy cap moss to advantage.
Apparently no harm done.

Silverberry leaves continue to expand.

 Although a few red maple trees had  flowers scattered beneath them, 
I suspect these flowers were "done" and discarded by the tree, rather than fallen victim to the weather.

Forsythia is prized for its cheerful, early flowering habit.
This one at the high school is "escaped from cultivation."

 Norway maples are just getting into the act--about a week behind red maple.  The big tree in my backyard has most flower buds just beginning to break, and about 5% open with open flowers.

This is the red maple whose debut I missed.

Maples flower before the leaves emerge.  Specialized flower buds produce only flowers.  In red maple, a single leaf bud is surrounded by between one and five flower buds, each of which produces five flowers.  The leaf bud (pink like the flower buds) is just visible in the center of the flower buds, in line with the twig.

I have long been acquainted with red maple for many years, but I am only coming to know it by close observations such as these.  Thoreau said, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

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