Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The pine tree that loses its needles

Along the edge of one of the many farm fields that the dogs and I walk, the owners planted a number of fir trees. Spruce, red and white pine, hemlock and larch or tamarack.

They are getting quite tall and throwing cones so that little ones appear every year to add to the under story in this section of bush.

One day a couple of weeks ago I saw some red bumps on one of the tamaracks or larches (they are called both as far as I can tell). This tree loses its needles every winter and come spring they look like grand old ladies dressed in the palest of lime green as the needles burst through the branch skins. There were also a number of red bumps on much of the new growth.

I thought the red bumps were a disease and went to look more closely. Then I realized they were "flowers." But tight buds.

Over the past few days I've watched as the buds have turned into large rosy berries.

Now I can clearly see that the berries are cone-shaped. They cling beside branches that contain larger cones that didn't drop last fall. It's fascinating to see the two side by side - new growth and old.

This old world has certainly evolved in the most interesting ways.


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