Monday, December 20, 2010

The Magnolia Monarch

The Tulip tree, which Edward Sibley Barnard calls the "monarch of the magnolia family" in his New York City Trees field book, I suppose reigns from lofty heights in Eastern North America simply because it is one of our tallest native hardwoods. Susan and I were admiring the remnants of this royal tree's spring flowers way up in the canopy late this afternoon in Prospect Park. The Tulip (Liriodendron tulipifera) is easy to identify in winter, especially when its large seedheads are present, which is just one of the reasons why I love this tree. Not so long ago, when I first began trying to name the plants I saw every day, (mostly unsuccessfully) the Tulip tree was an early easy success, even in winter, even on a bicycle. From far below at eye level, these seedheads are clearly visible in the tree canopy. They aren't too sturdy though, as the one found on the ground pictured below broke apart in Susan's hand really easily. My camera doesn't have enough of a zoom lens to really capture them though, especially in the low light of almost the shortest day of the year, but I'm going to try and see if I can find some closer to the ground this winter to capture.

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