Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Chip Off the Old Block

(I wonder to what that old expression in my title refers...)

Last week, as I was going to open the gate of the preserve early in the morning, I saw an object about an inch long laying on the driveway.  Not recognizing what it was, I picked it up to examine it, and it turned out to be the cone of one of the conifers lining that part of the drive.  Or was it...?

At first, I thought it was just a tiny, immature cone that would have grown much larger if it hadn't been snipped from a branch by a squirrel or rambunctious crow.  In any case, I brought it in the house and set it aside.

Over a period of a few days, it ripened and revealed itself - not as an embryonic pineapple - but as a male cone that would never have grown any larger.  Instead, the tiny cone on my kitchen counter-top was surrounded by drifts of yellow pollen.  You can bet I cleaned it up carefully.


Carolyn H said...

I didn't know those cones I thought was just "baby cones" wouldn't get any bigger.

Scott said...

And, I couldn't believe how much pollen that tiny cone released, Carolyn. The cone was sitting in a drift of pollen when it was fully "ripe" and released.

packrat said...

You got a big chuckle out of me with this post, Scott. What a thing of beauty that cone is. Love the juxtaposition in the second photo.


Scott said...

This morning, as I walked past the spruce from which the cone in the post image came, I noticed many, many more male cones on the tree. They actually have gotten substantially larger than the little cone I photographed, but they've also gotten less "pineapple"-like, too.