Saturday, March 24, 2012

Early skunk cabbages 2012

Out for a walk this early afternoon. The pileated woodpecker and smaller woodpeckers have been boring holes looking for bugs in a dead spruce tree down near the skunk cabbages that are coming up again anew this year (photo, left, taken this afternoon).

It's been unusually warm in this late winter, and now that we're in early spring it's cooled off some, but not a great deal. Without much snow, yet there is still a good deal of moisture in the ground, though I imagine it may dry out earlier. A few chickadees are about, along with a red squirrel and plenty of crows. The grasses remain mostly brown, the trees bare. According to Glen Koehler, author the Apple (Growers) Newsletter, published at the University of Maine, Orono, this could be a record-breaking early year for blossoming. Thus far it's at least as early as 2010, though the trees are not yet at the green bud stage here. I will keep watch.

The spaeth colors are never more saturated, particularly the maroons, at this time of the year, before the spadix emerges. Spaeth, enclosed spadix and leaf appear to emerge from a white membrane, as in the emerging cabbage in the foreground. Thus the green leaf that will enlarge after the spadix has been pollinated may be seen at this stage as well. I took this skunk cabbage photo above ("Waking Dream Skunk Cabbage")  this afternoon, March 24, 2012.

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