Warm rain is a term without specific meaning. For us this year it refers to rain without snow or sleet mixed in. This group of transplanted Arbutus has been holding its flower buds tightly closed for weeks. Daytime temperature in the mid sixties after plentiful rainfall finally persuaded these plants to display their open flowers. So vigorous was their presentation that their scent could be enjoyed while standing. Still, the fragrance if nose was brought close to open flowers was worth the effort.
All of our plants came from the same place. The other three groups, as well as our wild patch, display only white flowers. The only disadvantage to white flowers is the difficulty our camera has photographing anything white. These flowers have a rather deep central depression. and the camera frequently cannot find clear focus. An overcast day limited the amount of light hitting the flowers resulting in this sharp photo. The eye sees a darker pink that completely colors the blossom but this is an impressive picture.
Arbutus plants exist as either male or female. A male plant can be identified by the five structures that resemble grains of wheat. Tucked deep at the base of an open blossom, feeding insects destroy this flower part as pollen is gathered. The blossom in the lower left of the cluster still holds its manhood.
There is so much that we do not know about our plants and their natural role in providing for the next generation. Bumble bees are frequently drawn to open blossoms. This one features a seldom seen orange stripe. The size of both the bumble bee and the depth that must be crossed to get access to the pollen explains why the grains are destroyed.