With lots of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s, spring must be around the corner. It’s been like waiting for a pot of pasta water to boil though!
Hiking up into our favorite side canyon in the Copper Trail system, brought us to one of my favorite ”trees” that I’ve been monitoring for several years; the Hop Tree (aka wafer ash). More like a big shrub rather than a tree, this particular plant is snuggled against a protective hillside just west of a beautiful rockfall. The cool and moist rocky setting seems to be just perfect for the hop tree and about 20 nearby relatives to flourish year after year. Last year at this time the buds were beginning to swell. Yesterday (March 26th) there was only a hint of green.
I am encouraged by the flexibility in all of the stems. It may be a matter of days and the first signs of leaves could be pushing through bud scales. Meanwhile, I noticed a number of winged seeds were still drooping from branches, and only a few seemed to have been drilled by hungry insects, either from the inside out or vice versa. And, wow! In the past several years I had not noted anything but single-winged seeds. Yesterday day I discovered a seed with 3 wings. Very curious. I wonder what caused this change?
With this post I included several journal sketches from last year’s observations of the same hop tree; previews of things to come!
So what does early Spring (or Fall) look like in your neighborhood?