Instead of wildflowers, this week we have some of the tree flowers I’ve noticed in recent weeks. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list but I’ve definitely got a much better appreciation for the lovely flowers so many trees have.
Here’s the latest in my occasional series of watching the trees come to life. This time, it’s the Oak tree – I’m not sure which of the Quercus species this is but I think they’re all fairly similar. First, the leaves burst from their buds, and the vibrancy of the new growth is dazzling.
And, of course, everyone knows acorns come from Oaks but perhaps, like me, you hadn’t noticed where the acorns come from. Below left are the male flowers, the catkins, dangling to catch the breeze that carries their pollen, and below right are the female flowers, tucked away, sheltered, waiting to be fertilised by the pollen and develop into acorns.
First, the black buds split open to reveal their furry brown inner parts.
Next, those brown furry parts burst open to reveal luscious purple ‘berries’.
And finally, those purple berries transform – they’re not berries at all, of course, they’re the tips of the anthers of the spiky flowers that grow at the end of the twigs and branches.
This is an Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior), and they have a very complicated but fascinating reproduction system, which I didn’t know about when I took my photos – you can read all about it on the Tree Guide UK website here.