The One-seeded, Two-sided, Juniper

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Pollen-bearing cones on the One-seed juniper

Local Santa Fe residents are sadly familiar with the unwelcome sight in the photograph above: a luxurious bouquet of male cones on a One-seed juniper bearing millions of grains of irritating pollen. While the juniper the diminutive tree that holds our landscape together, it definitely has a shadow side. And March is the month it reveals it.

This very day, I read in my almanac, “I have said that much of life and perhaps the best of it is not quite “nice”. The business of early spring is not; it transpires in nakedness and candor, under high empty skies. . . .The cedar sows the wind with its pollen now, because it is a relict of an age before bees, and it blooms in a month essentially barren of winged pollinators.”

Ultimately this panspermian haze will result in crops of waxy, purplish-blue juniper berries (actually a female seed-cone with fleshy scales) important to many birds and animals here on the western slopes of the Rockies. But what a curse the begetting is, in March!

The quote is from “An Almanac For Moderns” by Donald Culross Peattie.

 

 

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About Outspire

The natural outdoor world is exciting, restorative, and infinitely fascinating. More people should spend time there!
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