Friday, May 8, 2009

Black Walnut Flowers

We’ve been having a fairly wet spring. The grass is growing like Topsy. And the black walnut tree in the backyard is covered with catkins. When you combine it with all the oak flowers, we’re having a pretty “good” allergy season, too.

Last night a line of stiff spring thunderstorms pushed through central Missouri; they had 70 mph winds next door in Callaway County. Even if it wasn’t spinning like a tornado, that’s bad enough.

Luckily, the only “damage” we seemed to have was a few dead branches (small ones) fell out of some of the trees.

The sun came out this afternoon and things started to dry off. We had lovely golden light this evening, and the skies were blue and crystal clear because the rains had cleaned the air.

So the walnut tree has loads of flowers on it this spring—the male catkins are hanging from the branches in such quantities it almost looks like Spanish moss. I hope this means we’ll have a bumper crop of walnuts this fall. Oh, joy!

If you don’t know—Missouri is the number one producer of black walnuts. I’ll talk more about it in the fall, but for now you can educate yourself on Hammons Web site.

Here are some pictures of the tree I took this evening. First, a view of the female flowers, which grow in small clusters at the tips of branches.

Here, some of the dangling catkins of male flowers, followed by a closer look at some that are releasing pollen. If you suffer from allergies, don’t spend a lot of time looking at these!

Here is a view of one of the boughs; hopefully you can see both the male catkins as well as a few female flowers against the sky at the branch tip.

At the top of this post, of course, is a view looking up into the tree. I love black walnut trees, and I love look upward into any tree; for me, leafy canopies are the stained glass of nature’s cathedral.

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