Friday, April 10, 2015
More Spring Flowers, Underfoot and Overhead
Warmer today, nearly 50, but still dark and damp when I went for a rain-coated walk in Saratoga's Congress Park. That's why I was really surprised to see this one Coltsfoot blossom defy the drizzle and open wide amid a big patch of others still tucked in tight. Such a bright little sunburst of a flower, it reassures us that sunshine and warmth are truly on the way.
The Silver Maple is our earliest maple to bloom, with flowers much less conspicuous than those of Coltsfoot. But they're still worth a closer look -- if you can reach a branch and drag it down to eye level. That's how I managed to see this sprightly cluster of pistillate flowers, as red as a cherry Twizzler.
All over the ground beneath the tree were twigs containing clumps of more flowers that looked a little different. I picked up a broken-off twig and noticed that these were all staminate flowers, some with protruding anthers, but most with those anthers still undeveloped. How odd that these flowers should have fallen from the tree before they had matured. I wonder if squirrels have been biting off twigs so that they can lick the sweet sap.
I hadn't known that Silver Maples bore male and female flowers on the same tree. I learn something new every day.