Weather at Bedford, Hanscom Field, MA - via NOAA's National Weather Service

Friday, May 8, 2009

nursery rhyme?

I suppose it is silly, but I thought up this spoof of a nursery rhyme as I was working on IDing trees. I try to keep working on learning new subjects, and now I'm trying to learn more about identifying trees. It's not easy, on many of them. I have a few ID guides, which help, and I can generally get to genus, but species can be tricky. For instance, I cannot tell you what kind of hickory trees these are, but I do know that they are not shagbark. They might be bitternut or pignut. Here's some info I found at the Virginia Department of Forestry website: Early settlers named the species "pignut" because their hogs loved to eat the nuts. A related species, red hickory (Carya ovalis) differs from pignut hickory by slight differences in the fruit and bark. Many hickories hybridize with each other, making exact identification difficult even for experts. So now I don't feel so bad!
About the dock plant, here's a funny, sweet, story. Several years ago, we put an addition on our house. In replanting the yard after the construction, I was moving several plants to more auspicious locations. My son, who was about five years old at the time, found a dock plant that he was insistent on moving. I was trying to work on the cultivated plants, and some wild ones that I really liked, but he dug up this dock and we moved it. What can I say? Children are not clones of our selves. Last I checked, his dock was well and happy.
This is not burdock, by the way, which is probably the most well-known dock, at least around here. I'm not sure which this one is, and there are about 200 species. The one in my photo does not have burs that are impossible to get out of your socks or your dog's hair.

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