Spring is here .. yay!!
Sometimes you can lose yourself in a flower’s beauty, especially when it’s the first crocus of the season.
How can you not have a spring in your step and a smile on your face after seeing something like this?
The male (staminate) flowers of speckled alder (Alnus incana) have just started opening, making the forest edges look as if someone has hung jewels from the bushes. Soon they will release their pollen and start a new generation of alders.
Male speckled alder catkins viewed up close reveal brown and purple scales. These scales are on short stalks and surround a central axis. There are three flowers beneath each scale, each with a lobed calyx cup and three to five stamens with anthers covered in yellow pollen.
The tiny female (pistillate) catkins of speckled alder consist of scales that cover two flowers, each having a pistil and a scarlet…
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