The other day I came across a tree with plentiful seeds that I did not recognize. Now I know my trees pretty well. I did write a pocket size Tree Guide a few years back, so you'd think I'd know every tree I see. But the way the seeds were held on these twigs was new to me - take a look at this.
I've been exploring walks around the golf course here, and found that the far west side of the course makes a nice walk, with lots of forest patches between the fairways, and an old fencerow all along the western boundary. It was here that I found these seed clusters that I didn't recognize.
This is the big old tree, pretty dark bark, especially on a grey late November day with only my cellphone for a camera.
But look at all the seeds on those outer branches.
I pulled the nearest twig down to get a closer look, and this is what it looked like. A narrow thorn-like spike off the twig, surrounded by lots of tiny seeds that were starting to fall off.
I had to figure this out, so I broke off a twig and carried it all the way home. These pictures taken indoors show you what they look like. The artificial light gives a nice warm glow.
The spike up the middle is quite tough, and you can see where seeds that have already fallen off were attached. These appear to be the stem of the seed cluster, not a thorn.
And here's a poor picture of a few individual seeds. At this point I recognized them, they're White Birch seeds. I've seen these before lying on the surface of the snow, but never in clusters hanging on the twigs.
I went back and took a closer look at the tree, and yes, there is some whitish, papery bark up high on the trunk, even though it is a big old dark birch.
My brain did eventually make the connection, and realize that these spiky clusters of seeds I was seeing are the end result of the catkins on the White Birch that were in bloom 6 months ago. You learn something new every day!
I hope you are wearing your deerstalker hat to commemorate this fine detective work!ReplyDelete
I wrote about catkns for tomorrow, FG.ReplyDelete
If I saw a tree with that bark down this way I'd say it was a river birch (Betula nigra). Large river birch usually has pinkish white or pink bark on younger branches and dark scaly bark on the trunk. I don't know if it grows up your way, but it's often planted as an ornamental since it doesn't have the insect problems that shorten the lives of white birch.ReplyDelete
And I just learned something from this post, if I can only retain it!ReplyDelete
Now that is interesting and hadn't seen the Birches hold on to the seed pods for so long. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Our pond is low right now just starting to fill up for winter--highest in the Spring of course. We seldom get so cold here that the pond will freeze entirely. The edges will freeze. We used to have Koi in there rather large fish probably 15-18 inches long and fatter than snap. We never ever fed them. They were there for years and attrition has taken it's course but 2 summers ago we really had a drought and all the water evaporated and the fish that were left died. Sad.
Anyway we like the pond and it even has a waterfall---manmade but so much fun.
I will check out my birch at the old place tomorrow. I recognize the spring catkins but I guess it starts to snow and i never see it finish the season. I am gong to miss my old birch. I had dug it out of gravel road ditch and planted it in Iowa 35 years ago. I can say it is the only true Minnesota birch in town.ReplyDelete
How interesting! This tree must be very old judging by the size of it and it must produce many thousands of seeds on all those branches.ReplyDelete
There's always something new to encounter and learn about - especially for me as I've never really learned my trees as I should have done by now!ReplyDelete
A wonderful discovery and learning more new things every day.ReplyDelete
your interest in and knowledge of nature amazes me. good you figured it out...and can write it in your book!!!ReplyDelete
Well, you also taught me something new as well. Very interesting and informative look at those seeds. :-)ReplyDelete
Hello, this is interesting and I learned something new today too. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day and new week!ReplyDelete
Worthwhile getting up each day just to learn something! Thanks for the interesting post.ReplyDelete
Interesting!! Those little seed pods look like little animal feet to me. : )ReplyDelete
I actually answered about the oil cans on my blog, but will repeat it here in case you don't get back there. They were in an antique shop over in Arthur, Illinois.ReplyDelete
And as to the Bald Eagle, yes, it was from our yard. We live about a mile or so from the river, then west of us a few miles are some big strip pits. I would say 20 years ago I would never have dreamed I would see an eagle from our yard, and now see one every now and then. Maybe 6 or 8 times a year. Not many from here, but this past two or three weeks have been prolific for here. We saw those two at Bridgeton, Indiana, then a bit over a week ago we saw these twonot far from here at all...plus I have another one that is a juvenile that is from about 5 or 6 miles west of here. I have not posted it yet.
Wow! Gotta check mineReplyDelete
I'm sure I've not seen birch seeds held on the tree like that. We used to live right by a very big silver birch. The seeds came in through closed windows, in through the air brick, in through the air con vents in the car. There was no escape. Of course it's a very successful tree.ReplyDelete