One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

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!

Mystery #

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.

Eastern Red Cedar

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…

Eastern Red Cedar

maybe not strung with spider webs.

White Pine Pollen Revisited

So remember those White Pine ‘candles’ and clouds of pollen we cringed over last week?  All done.

White Pine pollen

(Those little brown thingies gracing our sidewalks were the yellow pollen producers.)

White Pine pollen

Go see the first post here.

Step on a Crack…

Hickory and I leapt over the cracks in the sidewalk today, but not because we were worried about breaking anyone’s back, our mothers or otherwise. Can you see this line of yellow?

pollen in a sidewalk crack

That’s a layer of pollen washed from the sky by the rainstorms of the last few days. We didn’t step on those cracks, because we didn’t want pollen on our paws. Yuck, pine pollen is everywhere! When we rounded the corner, there it was in full blast.

yellow pollen cloud

The culprit?  In our neighborhood, it’s these White Pine ‘candles’.

White Pine staminate flowers

The staminate (male) flowers produce pollen from April to the end of June, not continuously, (Because you understand here in Reston, it’s now!) but anytime during that period depending where the tree is in the country, just like the blossoming time of other flowers varies from north to south and by altitude up and down the mountain sides.

White Pine staminate flower

This is not the part that becomes the cone. That would be the pistillate (female) flowers that are slightly pink. My tail is drooping because I didn’t get a photo of those.

White Pine, Pinus strobus, grows over much of the Eastern United States, mainly from being planted these days. Once upon a time, forests of pine covered much of the land, but it was logged off. Miz Flora says the straight trunks were prized for masts for ships