Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wild Thing

A rare walk in the woods today (on foot, not even on a bike!). Days like this I miss not having a dog anymore...

As suspected (17 Mar) Speckled alder (Alnus rugosa ) is in bloom. 2 photos of it. The long showy catkin is the male flower, the small reddish catkins above the males are the female flowers.
(above the males... hmmm.) I have been calling this "black alder" for years, but in looking up the botanical name discovered I've been wrong even if consistant; the black alder is a tree, imported from Europe; speckled alder is a shrub rarely much over 12 ft or 4 metres tall. And, yes, the bark is heavily speckled, good clue, although also very dark blackish (edit 1April: what was I thinking of when I wrote that? it's not black, rather a mid-greyish with brown tinting!!) in the major part between the specks.

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