Showy flowers

Flowers, Pollen and Allergies

Is that tree causing your allergies?  That pretty tree with the white flowers?  That pine tree covering your car in green film?  Nope. It’s the trees you don’t see that are getting you. This is the height of allergy season. You can feel it in your sinuses and see it on your car windows. Huge […]

Bees on male bur oak flowers

Bees on Bur Oak

For the last 10 days, I have watched an amazing phenomenon that I have never seen before. Oaks are wind pollinated. Occasionally we see insects visiting, but only casually. However, one bur oak that I keep an eye on has been abuzz with activity. Every day while the male flowers were open, there was a […]

Early Spring Trees

You may feel we are in the throes of winter, but for many trees, it is already early spring. How can that be? In the late summer, trees begin to enter a stage of deep sleep called dormancy. They don’t stop growing because it is cold, they stop growing because a combination of long nights […]

Friday Tree Followup

This week’s Friday Tree was tricky. Some of you got it, and some of you were very close. The two reasonable guesses were Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa, or desert-willow, Chilopsis linearis. The flowers of both these trees are similar, and they are closely related, but they occupy very different habitats: catalpa is a midwestern tree of […]

An elegant old tree

There is a beautiful old catalpa tree at Ashland, in Lexington, KY, that has been loved by generations of visitors. I suspect it is the most photographed tree in the Bluegrass. A close look at the tree shows the great character that develops with age. Here is a slide show of the old tree.

Pollen cones of white pine

Conifers like eastern white pine, Pinus strobus, don’t produce flowers, but they can be very attractive in the spring when they show their cones. Here is a slide show of pollen cones, male cones that produce clouds of yellow pollen. Don’t worry, pine pollen rarely causes allergies.

Life cycle of buckeye

Ohio buckeye, Aesculus glabra, is a common tree in the Bluegrass and Midwest. Here is a slideshow of its life cycle. More photos will be added as time permits.

Picture of serviceberry flowers

Time for Services

Serviceberry trees are blooming all over the Appalachians. Although other trees like birch and alder may flower earlier, the first showy flowers are serviceberries, coming a couple of weeks before the dogwood. The slopes of all the forested hollows in eastern Kentucky are dotted with these elegant, slender trees. In the old days, before good […]

Winter Sex: The Puzzling Case of Witchhazel

This is part of our ongoing series on tree sex.   Witchhazel is one of the most beautiful shrubs or small trees in forests throughout the temperate zone.  It is easy to overlook in the summer, mixed in with lots of other shrubs and trees along creek banks and moist lower slopes of forests. It […]