fallen fruit

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I have ash tree fruit literally falling at my feet!


My daughter and I spotted this branch lying in the street right in front of our car. That side of the street is home to a large maple tree and a male ash tree (like mine), but I quickly noticed that this was a female ash tree with twigs full of developing fruit. The only female ash tree around is all the way across the main street. I don't know how this branch got over to me, except perhaps that it knew that I would be the only person in the neighborhood who would be thrilled to find it lying there!

My daughter helped hold it up so I could take a few pictures of it. (Can you find her in there? She was very helpful this time, but she is getting a little tired of my enthusiasm for trees. When we are out walking, I'll often stop and point out something interesting about a tree. She will look inquisitively and listen thoughtfully and then say worriedly, "Don't take a picture of the tree!" A few days ago, she was telling daddy that she was a very nice girl. Her proof: "I let mommy take pictures of trees." Passers-by were confused.)


So anyway, look at all that fruit!! We snapped off a small twig so we could bring it home and take a closer look at the fruit.  


All those dirty-looking black tufts I'd seen on the female ash tree three weeks ago seem to be gone now. Now there are only green tufts. I still don't know what those are. Are they the same things I spotted before, just having changed color? It doesn't look like the fruit has grown directly out of them. Maybe those just haven't grown a fruit yet and the others have dropped off? Maybe the fruit grows out beneath them? Or are they merely some part of the old flower? They look better in green - that's all I know.

Looking at just one group of fruit, I can also see that these clusters grow much differently than the leaves do. Each stem seems to have propagated several of these green puff balls and several long samaras (the actual fruit).


Even weirder is the way these stems grow. They don't branch off of a central stem in the lovely opposite pattern that I see repeated over and over in my tree. Nope. These flower stems seem to just shoot out in all directions from one spot, all crazy-like.


I have seen something like this in my own tree though. It's just like the "explosion of branches" that I noticed when I drew my tree back in February. While the twigs seem to have a very neat opposite pattern, the branches often look like this with five or six of them coming out from the same spot on one limb.

It also looks like the female tree is like the male ash tree in that it grows all of its flowers from the lateral buds along the side of the twig but its leaves from the terminal buds at the tips. See? There's the new shoot growing from the tip of the twig in the picture below. And the flower clusters are all coming out from the sides.


This arrangement with leaves over the fruit sort of reminds me of the maple trees with their big broad leaves making a canopy over the hanging helicopter fruit below. Does this leaf cover protect the fruit underneath in some way? The ash tree fruit looks tucked away behind the leaves. Do they not need as much light as the leaves do? Do they need any?

The fruit itself is long and thin and relatively uniform looking. Where is the seed, I wonder.


From the maple tree book, I learned that the wings of the samara are more for dispersion than for holding the seed. So will the seed be down near the stem? Is it in there already?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Alison published on June 14, 2011 4:13 PM.

a tree is nice was the previous entry in this blog.

a weight problem is the next entry in this blog.

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