Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Tuesday Beach Report

Spring is muddling along, with shades of green showing showing here and there. The small yellow flowers are on Spice Bush, best known as one of the few plants eaten by the caterpillar of the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly:
Spicebush is a deciduous shrub growing to 6–12 feet (1.8–3.7 m) tall. It has a colonial nature and often reproduces by root sprouting, forming clumps or thickets. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem, simple, 6–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 2–6 cm (1–2 in) broad, oval or broadest beyond the middle of the leaf. They have a smooth edge with no teeth and are dark green above and paler below.  The leaves, along with the stems are very aromatic when crushed with a spicy, citrusy smell, hence the common names and the specific epithet benzoin. In the fall the leaves turn a very bright and showy yellow color.

The yellow flowers grow in showy clusters which appear in early spring, before the leaves begin to grow. The flowers have 6 sepals and a very sweet odor.The ripe fruit is a red, elipsoidal, berrylike drupe, rich in lipids, about 1 cm (1⁄2 in) long and is eaten by several bird species. It has a "turpentine-like" taste and aromatic scent, and contains a large seed. Spicebush is dioecious (plants are either male or female), so that both sexes are needed in a garden if one wants drupes with viable seeds. 
50 F out, with a bit of a north wind. Social distancing was easy on the beach, which was nearly deserted. We found 16 teeth, but nothing photo worthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment