With the decoration of a little seasonal plant–mistletoe–that you humans seem to be attracted to during this season, all of here at The Squirrel Nutwork wish you a happy and safe holiday. We hope the weather in your area lets you get outside and enjoy what nature offers. We’ll see you out there!
Can you believe it, we’ve found another small mystery evergreen to try to stump you with?
Please note the needles on this one are NOT flat like last week’s Ground Cedar (and it’s in the background for comparison). Good luck!
We hope you guessed this is another type of clubmoss, one fondly called Princess Pine, Lycopodium clavatum. It is bushy and upright—more so than the Ground Cedar of last week—and does look like a miniature pine.
A fun fact is the spores—primitive seeds—are flammable, explosively so. They used to be used for flash powder for long-ago photos.
Please, don’t go out collecting it for your holiday photography, or any other holiday decorating. These slow-growing clubmosses suffer from over-collecting and can’t recover like hardier invasive species do.
We squirrels have been getting a bit more sleep these last few weeks…up until today. Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. From now on, our days will get longer.
Interestingly, Miz Flora told us the Solstice isn’t the entire day, but actually a moment. And it’s a time that changes from year to year, anywhere between December 20th to 23rd. On that minute–12:11 this year–the sun is actually its farthest from the North Pole. At 12:12, the tipping starts to go back the other way. It’s just so slow we don’t notice for days…and days if you’re a cold squirrel not emerging from your leaf nest much.
So we will leave the measuring to you humans and enjoy our extra time of sleeping. See, it really did pay to gather all those acorns this fall. Or in Hickory’s case, stake out the best decks and feeders.
Not that I haven’t indulged in a good table feast myself.
Hey! We have another native evergreen for your mystery today.
I’ll be back to check for your answers later!
Hey there, back again!
This little evergreen is a clubmoss called Ground Cedar, Lycopodium digitatum. It’s a primitive plant that looks like a vine because it has a stem that travels over the ground, but you humans can tell it’s not a vine because it doesn’t have a woody stem. The branches are somewhat flat and fan-like on Ground Cedar, like a cedar tree’s needles.
You might think this plant would make a great ground cover for your backyard habitat, but please don’t try to dig it up to try this. Ground Cedar is very hard to grow and harder to transplant.
Hickory squirrel here, leaping over the closed notice! I can’t help seeing the attention you humans are giving to evergreens–’tis the season, some of you say, to bring them indoors. But do you know your native evergreens? Test your skill on this one, minus the green!
Be back later to check your answers.
We had a good guess today! Yes, it’s a cedar–Eastern Red Cedar is our native one.
The foliage is a flat needle.
The fragrance is wonderful, the very reason, Miz Flora tells us, that some of you humans use the wood in your homes. But we’d suggest using the whole tree this time of year…
maybe not strung with spider webs.