Sunday, March 05, 2006

more signs of spring

Some of the branches I have brought in to force did open out and/or bloom. Some did not.

The Manitoba maple, also called Box elder (Acer negundo) bloomed out very quickly and then it was over before I thought to take a picture.

The Weeping willow (Salix babylonica) opened out into leaf/catkins erratically. I had to throw out some stems that went black but I did try to photograph the better leaves that I kept from the bunch. No good. Maybe I'll try it again with some more branches when the season has advanced a bit. They might open up better then.

An amazing bitter scent comes off the willow twigs, very medicinal, and it gets even stronger as they sit in water. I wonder how exactly the Native Americans used willow medicinally. I mean, how did they process it to use it? And then did they drink it, like a tea, or use it only externally? I know I read about that somewhere...Of course, the S. babylonica species are not native, but were introduced.

I love the rough texture of the bark of the Hophornbeam. This is one of the largest specimens I have seen on my walks, most of the others having trunks only 5-6" in diameter.

The catkins of the Hophornbeam(Ostrya virginiana) have softened and turned a yellow-green. I can't seem to manage a picture in better focus!


Blogger Randa said...

Bark texture is so fascinating, isn't it?! The grooves, the colour combinations, the patterns...

I understand your frustration getting the right focus on your blooms photo - I had a hard time focusing the photos I took of the Forsythia I forced. It was so vexing! They looked so vibrant, yet I could not convey that in the photo. Ah well; I did my best.

P.S. I went to university not too far from where you live :)

4:23 p.m.  
Blogger Jaska said...

The willow-tree contains salicylic acid (Salix) which is pain-killer.

4:42 p.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

Of course, you are absolutely correct, Jaska. But I wonder if salicylic acid or ASA isn't now made synthetically, vs from the old plant source? Does anybody know? I find all that kind of stuff very interesting. And I'd be willing to bet that you might be in violation of somebody's patent rights if you used the old willow itself! That seems wrong to me on so many levels!

4:59 p.m.  

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