15 February 2013

Evergreens close-up

The season for wind-pollinated trees is slowly coming upon us. Hazel catkins are becoming more conspicuous but a few evergreens are beginning to produce pollen too, such as this male Yew (Taxus baccata) in Cwmdulais.

Clusters of pollen cones on several pine species are now also beginning to swell, as with this Monterey Pine  (Pinus radiata) growing on the roadside at Heron's Way.

Note the clean, adpressed scales of the bud topping the male cones of the Monterey Pine [top image below], compared with the recurved and ciliate bud scales of a Maritime Pine (P. pinaster) growing roadside in Penclawdd, Stone Pine (P. pinea) at Mewslade and the resinous papery scales of an Austrian Pine (P. nigra subsp. nigra) growing in Gorseinon.
Monterey Pine bud
(leaves in clusters of 3)
Maritime Pine bud
(very long leaves in pairs)
Stone Pine
(closely related to Maritime Pine, but structurally very
different, leaves darker, cones very blunt)
Austrian Pine bud
(leaves in pairs, buds with resinous papery scales)

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