This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hazel in flower

Spotted this interesting and unusual tree along Miller Rd this afternoon. It is a Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna) and it's in full flower. I haven't seen many of these (there's an amazing specimen in the arb) but they seem to make lovely specimen trees. Attractive flaky bark, an equally attractive upright pyramidal form, and tons of wildlife food. The base of the tree on Miller (as I recall, on the north side of the 11 hundred block) was covered with hazel-nut shells.

The dangly things are called aments or catkins. You can say to people, "Ooh, look at that amentiferous action!"   And if someone asks you what you are talking about you can tell them that naturally you are referring to the spicate inflorescences bearing scaly bracts and unisexual (male) apetalous flowers. (By the way, when I searched 'ament' in the on-line Merrian-Webster dictionary, I got the above definition, followed by the question, "What made you want to look up ament? Please tell us where you heard of it."

If you look really close you can find the brightly colored female flowers. Too bad they are the size of a head of a pin. Way beyond the abilities of my cheap camera to capture adequately. 

Our native hazels have similar flowers. I used to grow the common Corylus americana in my garden. It's a plant I'm always happy to run across in the wild, but it suckers too much to be useful if you have very limited space.    

No comments:

Post a Comment