Sunday, July 1, 2012

Arbutus In July

Camera and watering can visited the transplanted arbutus plants early this morning.  Our weeks long lack of rain continues and these plants are at the top of the list for help during the drought.  They get a sprinkling can of water nearly every day.  At the upper left edge of the picture, a pair of dark green leaves on either side of a tan fuzzy can be seen.  We will take a closer look at that next.  On the right edge of the photo a bright new leaf displays a brown section with a hole.  We will also look there soon.

The tan fuzzy between the two old dark leaves is all that remains of a flower cluster.  Seeds are what we want so we look at this structure often.  Apparently there are both male and female plants.  We looked for differences in flower structure this spring but could find none.  There will be no seeds unless both genders of the plant are present.  With the four transplants and one native nearby, it is highly likely that we have both types of plant.  The appearance of seed would clinch it.  Our ultimate goal is to have a new plant appear here naturally.

A careful but inconclusive examination was made of this structure with a hand magnifier.  I wanted to rip open one of these in search of seeds.  I simply could not do that.  Whatever is going to happen here will happen in its own time and in its own way.  Those dark sphere like things resting on top sure look like they might be seeds.  Of course they could also be caterpillar droppings.  We have made that mistake before.  I can state with the certainty that follows experience that caterpillar droppings do not sprout green leaves when planted.

Two items apparent in this picture will be watched carefully.  There are two small oval leaves at the lower left edge of the picture.  Both color and shape suggest arbutus.  I did not see these when the picture was taken.  A revisit with the hand magnifier will provide additional information.

At the right edge of the stone two oval green somethings can be seen.  I did examine these but no identification could be made.  Arbutus forms its flower buds well in advance of the coming winter.  We will watch and see if these do develop into flower buds.

By now the afternoon sunlight is falling on these plants.  This would be a good time to return for a closer look.

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