Sunday, June 21, 2015

Seeds and Ants Everywhere

We need a written record of when events happen here especially with the arbutus.  Last year's newly moved plants are beginning to open their seed berries now.  Ants were working all over the patch when we visited today.  One was caught in the act of chewing off a tasty piece of the white supporting part of the seed berry.  Both black and tan seeds are scattered about as it is the white flesh that the ants are after.  This plant opened pink colored flowers this year and the seeds are tan rather than black.  This is nothing more than an observation since we do not know with any degree of certainty the accuracy of what we think that we see.

Two styles have been separated from the remains of the flowers.  A close look will reveal an ant working the center spot where the style was.  The structure of this newly opened seed berry strongly suggests a second flower very different from the original but beautiful in its own right.

This picture was cropped in an attempt to make visible the white spots that cover the surface of each seed.  Total success is elusive.  Here we also have black seeds and red seeds growing on the same plant.  The black seed are just coming into daylight as the wrappers are just starting to open.  We find more puzzles than answers.

This arbutus leaf was withered and cemented closed.  Investigation revealed the caterpillar responsible for the damaged leaf.  It resembles a lesser maple spanworm that becomes a small white moth.  They are the most common night flyers that gather around porch lights.  These  pests need to find another food source as they will be dispatched on sight.  Arbutus is protected here.

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