Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Two Kinds of Tulips, plus a Mamma Maple April 8, 2009

Filed under: Cultivated Flowers,Plants,Seasons,Spring,Trees — saltthesandbox @ 12:48 pm
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Yesterday I found my first Tulip flower of the spring. Today I found many more on my walk through south Oak Park:

Backlit by sunlight, these Tulips glowed.

Backlit by sunlight, these Tulip flowers glowed.

Another flower opened wide to show the six parts that make pollen, plus a three-sided female part.

Another Tulip opened wide to show the six parts that make pollen, plus a three-sided female part.

(For the names of flower reproductive structures, go here or here.)

In Rehm Park I found a completely different plant that bears the “tulip” name. The Tulip Tree is a magnolia, planted in these parts but native farther south in Illinois. This year’s buds were opening; the dry remnants of last year’s fruits also graced the tree:

This year's opening buds are below, the dry husks of last year's fruits are above.

This year's opening buds are below, the dry husks of last year's fruits are above.

If you can’t wait for our Oak Park tree to bloom, go here to see Tulip Tree flowers. You’ll see dozens of male and female parts in each flower, compared with the six male and single female part in the garden Tulip (as shown two photos above).

Speaking of sex, ten days ago I showed the male flowers of a Red Maple (go here to see the complete post):

The male flowers of Red Maple explode off the twigs.

The male flowers of Red Maple explode off the twigs.

Today, also in Rehm Park, I found a female Red Maple in bloom:

The female flowers are not as flamboyant as the male, but they they add a reddish glow to the tree.

The female flowers are not as flamboyant as the male, but they add a reddish glow to the entire tree.

Pollen-catching filaments protrude from the female flowers. They gather pollen that your nose misses.

Pollen-catching filaments protrude from female Red Maple flowers, gathering pollen that your nose misses.

These male and female trees are separated by more than half a mile, but maple pollen travels easily on spring breezes. (That’s why it’s being detected at the pollen counting station in Melrose Park.)

 

One Response to “Two Kinds of Tulips, plus a Mamma Maple”

  1. Spectacular! We loved the Tulip Tree remnants. What an odd looking structure!


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