Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pollen Extravangaza

In a previous post I talked about the red alder (Alnus rubra) catkins that were about to explode their pollen packages in the Bella Coola Valley so all the allergy sufferers could feel the full effects of the irritating alder pollen.  Seems like we are well underway now on this phase.  On a walk the other day we watched a raven land on a large alder branch and when it touched down, he shook the branch enough to send out a cloud of yellow dust drifting away. Because the Bella Coola Valley is a rather unique place (I think I've mentioned that before) and sits between the wet Pacific Coast & the cold dry continental interior plateau we have many species of plants that would normally occur in one or the other area, but in our case often both species  do quite well in the Bella Coola Valley.  
One of these species is the paper birch (Betula papyrifera) which is very widespread in the valley.  It's more of a continental species, occurring across BC in the interior and only in the occasional place on the coast. One of drawbacks of living in an area with fairly significant stands of both red alder and paper birch is that the pollen season can be fairly drawn out because while the red alder pollinates about now, the paper birch is still weeks away, much more closely tied to the phenology of where this tree evolved and that is in the colder, longer winter interior areas.  These photos both taken yesterday show the difference in the stages, with the red alder catkins shedding pollen, while the birch catkins are still well underdeveloped.

Sorry allergy sufferers, there is more to come from the trees before we enjoy the rest of the grasses and plants that will pollinate this spring and summer. Grizzly

No comments:

Post a Comment