Sometimes we see odd growths on trees and ask "What is that?" If
we're told, "Those are seeds," we may say, "Then how come I've
never seen them before?! I think this shaggy redbud has a problem,
and that this may be a mutant magnolia!"
In this article we give you a look at normal attachments on:
Hardy mimosa/ Hardy silk tree
Kentucky Coffee tree
Those shaggy redbuds and mutant magnolias are in evidence this
year but are no worry. They are just the result of a long, frost
free spring when lots of pollinators could help plants set lots of
fruit. Even those that you've grown for 20 years and never seen set
Magnolias, for instance,
are famous for blooming so early that cold often kills the flowers
before seed sets, or before bees can warm up enough to gather and
spread the pollen. When gardeners do see these fruits they often
think they are a tumor or gall on the twig.
canadensis) sometimes alarm gardeners in fall. That's when
leaf drop may reveal a plethora of pods -- they were there all
summer but now can't be missed, hanging like the shag on a deerskin
Other odd fruits you may see:
David Maple (Acer
Beech nuts on beech (Fagus
sylvatica, F. Grandifolia). On the ground, the fallout is
called beech mast.
speciosa). Sometimes called "Cigar tree" because of
Clematis seed pods
are silvery pink stars until they ripen. Then they live up to one
of the genus' common names, "old man's beard."
(Pseudotsuga menziesii). The cones have distinctive prongs hanging from
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba,
right) fruit is produced in orchards in some countries, a
valuable crop. However, it's pomum non gratum on North
American street trees where it's not harvested but falls on
walkways below, overripe and stinking. Often when it's ripest the
untrained observer doesn't know where the fruit is coming from
because it's hidden among the ginkgo's
golden fall leaves.
Hardy mimosa (Albizia
julibrissin) pods curl as they ripen and pop open.
(Aesculus hippocastanum) nuts ("conkers")
are encased in spiny covers.
Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) seed pods
are there through winter and spring, often described by worried
gardeners as "little claws growing on my tree."
coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) has pods
and seeds so hard pliers and drills are required to open them, and
to nick the seed to hasten germination -- otherwise seed sprouting
may be delayed for years.
Linden (Tilia cordata, T. americana)
seed pods have pale "wings".
(Maclura pomifera) The warty fruits look other-worldly
almost anywhere. The color and size make them such stand-outs that
drivers often notice them littering the grasssy verge along the
road. Where they lie under a straight line of these trees they are
a link to the plant's use as a pasture hedge in the 1800's before
Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)
styraciflua) seed pods can be painful underfoot.
Pardon our dust; still posting more odd fruits here. And based
on some of the additional inquiries we're receiving we may add a
second page titled "Nope, that one's not a fruit!"