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Friday, April 25, 2014

Improving Our Knowledge of Botany

Confession: Bow and I don't know much about botany. We are not that good at identifying  plants. My friend Kathy was here the other day, and she told me at once that those flowering trees by the woods were not Bartlett pears. She was not sure what they were, but not that. Later we found out they were service berry,  also known as shadbush, also known as wild pear or chuckley pear. Their scientific name is amelanchier arboria.

Luckily, Kathy brought us a small gift when she came, a book called Trees of Missouri. We have been studying up.

The service berry does give fruit, and the berries do look a little like very small pears. I am going to watch it fruit this year and see if I can pick some before the birds get it all. The tree does not get very tall usually, though it has been known to reach a maximum of thirty feet, which in my opinion is quite tall enough. I have it growing in my pasture as well as near the woods.


In other news, it rained last night, and before the rain, there was a lot of wind. Bow was outside when it started to storm, and he did not want to seem to retreat before the aggression of nature, so he put on a lot of displays before he discreetly went inside, under cover of bluster.


I left the pea plants outside to enjoy the rain, and this morning they are in the act of trying to climb the grid.


The plant has already attempted this once before, and Bow tore it from its moorings by moving the pot when I was not looking. Now the tendrils are gingerly reaching out again.


Bow and the pea plants have an uneasy truce. Bow tolerates their existence, but he is not overly protective of them.


The natural chimpanzee attitude toward food giving plants is to exploit, not nurture them. It is also the human way, because, after all, we are not so different.

10 comments:

  1. Aha! Well, I learned something too - I didn't know they were also known as wild or chuckley pear. Very cool! I will be interested to hear how they taste. The birds are very fast & thorough when cleaning out my trees here, so you'll have to stay on your toes while watching for ripening fruit, Aya! Of course, you have hundreds from which to choose.
    My husband is jealous that you have so many serviceberry trees. He really likes them and the benefits they provide to all the forest-dwelling animals.
    Enjoyed the pictures of Bow reading the book and viewing the pictures. And thanks for the video - it was nice to see Bow on a more relaxed day, instead of stressed-out over company.
    Hope he makes peace with his peas...eventually, maybe he'll recognize the benefits of having nurtured them.

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    1. I will let you know, Kathy. Maybe if we have extra, I'll be able to share some berries with you.

      The book is a great resource! It even has an index. And a ruler to measure blossoms and leaves in the back. We will be making lots of use of it.

      The pea saga is just beginning, as there will be many of other trials and tribulations before Bow sees a harvest from his peas. If he lets them alone long enough for that to happen, that is!

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    2. I'm so happy you're enjoying the book! I like it because it's a light-weight book to carry around when you're exploring. You have such a wide variety of trees and other shrubs to explore!
      By the way, the other clump of "shrubs" that I couldn't recall the name of (knew it started with an "S") was "Smooth Sumac". The ones that get the pretty, red tops on them.

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    3. Thanks, Kathy, for identifying the Smooth Sumac. I see it is on page 134-135 of the book! I had only ever heard of poison sumac, before now.

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  2. I love exploring the land and identifying plants & trees, their characteristics and what they contribute to the local wildlife. It's amazing what is out there that we just walk right by everyday. I love that you enjoy that too, Aya.

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    1. I'm glad we share that, too. For me it has been a slow and ongoing awakening. I always enjoyed nature walks, but I viewed the landscape as a backdrop for human and other animal activity. Only recently have I stopped to wonder at the details in the background.

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  3. I like the book on the trees of Missouri. That looks interesting.

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    1. Yes, I like that book, too, Julia. Somehow I missed this comment of your till just now!

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  4. Speaking of humans not treating plants nice, I bought a couple of new tomato plants at Walmart the other day, and the lady just jammed them in the bag at the cash register before I could put them aside. Usually I watch more carefully, but I was talking to my mom, and wish I could have paid more attention. Plants are not like potato chips that can just be thrown in a bag.

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    1. I'm sorry you had that experience when buying tomato plants at Wal*Mart, Julia. I have found that most of the cashiers at our store are very conscientious about how they bag things. They even offer special bags for ice cream in case you came in from many, many miles away to keep it cold on your long trip home. They also seem to be very aware of the needs of plants. But this could be a difference between city and country. Out here, most people have a spring garden.

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