Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sky Blue Seed Cones

The Redcedar trees that have abundantly naturalized in this part of Texas
 are simply loaded with beautiful blue seed cones this year.

This is Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, also called Eastern Cedar.

They are dioecious,
 meaning some trees produce pollen and others produce seed cones.

They are everywhere along this peninsula except on our property.
Unfortunately, we had to remove ours to make way for the house.
I wonder, if I scatter some of these waxy seed cones around,
if I might start a small grove?

Another tree I'd like to have is Hercules' Club.
(Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
The bark on this Texas native is amazing!

Each of these cork-like "alligator teeth" is topped by a thorn.
Not friendly to lean against, but such a great texture.
It's also called tooth-ache tree!
 The twigs and inner bark were prized by Native Americans and early European settlers for it's numbing qualities when chewed.

Sadly this one across the street broke during a storm.
 Zanthoxylum clava-herculis are also a larval and nectar host for Giant Swallowtail butterflies.

The name Hercules' Club is sometimes applied to less interesting type of tree: 
Aralia spinosaor Devil's Walking stick.  
Instead of "alligator teeth", Aralia spinosa just has simple thorns on its trunk.

Kye and I explored the beach, walking under piers.
It's amazing how thick the undergrowth is after one summer of low water!

 Kye collected lots of burrs, while I collected images.

And then we followed the sunset home!