Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hazelnut Trees - A Sign of Spring?

With several more months of winter to go it's always tempting to start to think about the signs of spring when you have had a warm and wet spell like we had last week.  Hazelnut trees (Corylus cornuta) while not native to the Bella Coola Valley are native to B.C. in both the Hazelton area and widespread throughout the south  and eastern interior.  In Bella Coola there are a few around which have been planted and do very well here.  I find them interesting because this time of year the male catkin flowers start to change colour and actually grow. You don't notice it until one day you look at the tree and suddenly you realize something looks different and it's the masses of catkins getting closer to flowering.  It's not to be taken as a sign of spring though, it's just an indication that things are progressing normally through the winter and it's something fun to watch.  I'll try to get photos when it flowers and especially a photo of the female flower - if I can, they are so tiny and hard to see I may not.

Our trees produce some hazelnuts, but we rarely get to try them as every year just before they get to the picking stage the Stellar's Jays move in and before we know it they are all gone.  Maybe one year we'll figure out how to outsmart them.   

It was a nice break in the weather today, a change day from the dull and dreary to something brighter.  We actually saw the sun for awhile and it looks like we are shifting back into something  more wintry for the next few days. Grizzly

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