Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cottonwood Snow

Sometime last week the first seeds from the female cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) stared 'flying' in the Bella Coola Valley.  It's almost like a light snow of lazy snowflakes on a winter day especially in the morning after the dew has dried and a bit of heat builds up, the seed pods start releasing large quantities of floating seeds that seem to carry in the air for miles.

The seeds are kind of amazing when you consider inside the ball of cellulose filaments is a seed less than a 1 mm wide and 2 or 3 mm long, being carried for miles on the wind and capable of producing a tree weighing many tons, over a metre in diameter and 120 feet tall.  I've watch some seeds land in kids pools and within a week the seeds are germinating and producing a sprout.  Often by the end of the gardening season, the ones that landed in the garden can be 10 cm tall and well on their way towards a full fledged tree.

They can be a nusiance, catching up in window screens and air filters on lawn mowers and anything else that can be plugged up.  It's an annual event though that marks another event in the passing of seasons.  Grizzly

1 comment:

  1. The most evocative place I have ever experienced cottonwood snow was on a warm spring evening at the old gold rush ghost town of Quesnel Forks where I was producing a television documentary. The two rivers, the old buildings, fading sunlight and the cottonwood fluff made for magic pictures.