Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cottonwood Trees

Wednesay, April 22nd was Earth Day
and Friday, April 24th was Arbor Day.
That means it is a good time of year for trees!
I went out exploring our local cottonwood trees. Cottonwood pods float around
like little snow flakes
from late spring through early summer.

This is a group of mature cottonwood trees.
They have already shared quite a few floating pods
with the world!

I wonder if these pods fell in chunks this large.
I have only seen them when they look like snowflakes.

The fluffy part of the seed pod is called an "adaptation".
Some seeds travel to a new location by sticking
to animal fur or your socks with tiny barbs.
These seeds travel to a new location by being
light and fluffy and blowing in the wind.
I'd much rather have fluff blow into me
than be stuck with a barb!

The fluffy part may fall with the twig and opened pods,
or other small pieces from the branches.

But the stuff that looks like snow blowing in the spring winds
is just the fluff!

Nature is very interesting!
When I got home, I looked up more information about
cottonwood trees on the internet.

What I learned about our local cottonwood trees is that the
seeds are germinated by the seasonal flooding of the Rio Grande.
Many trees along the Rio Grande are 40 to 80 years old,
and won't naturally be replaced by the flooding river,
because the river has been "tamed" and no longer floods.
Non native species will take over
if people don't save the cottonwood trees along the bosque.

But don't worry too much.
Non native, water guzzling trees are being thinned
along the bosque.
They aren't drought friendly.
I think people here will help the cottonwood trees survive.
The Story of Fluff: A Cottonwood Seed:

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