The One-seeded, Two-sided, Juniper


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.



About Outspire

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