Mystery Flora: Pretty in Pink

This time of year is great for flowers. The fruit trees are still at it, and the rhodies are really starting to pop. There’s this little street behind Staples that I drive quite often, and it’s a corridor of yum from March to June.

Last week, these incredibly pink trees were bursting into bloom.

Mystery Trees I

So of course I hoofed it down there with the camera. I know, I know, we’ve had nothing but fruit trees, but I haven’t found many wildflowers going yet, and besides, these are gorgeous.

Mystery Trees II
Mystery Trees II

I spent a lot of time just staring up into the sky through a ceiling of pink. It was very pink. Very, extremely pink.

A white tree was also blooming, and the two trees tangled their boughs together, which relieved the pink a bit.

Mystery Trees III

And a spruce tree joined in, turning the duet into a trio.

Mystery Trees IV

And brilliant pink blooms hugged the tree trunk. Which is good, because some of you find bark helpful.

Mystery Trees V

The trunk looks like it’s full of tiny lips. I have no idea what that signifies. However, I was a fiction writer once, and studied all sorts of woo and mythology, so I could probably make something up. It might even sound superficially profound. But I’d actually rather just aim the camera at the sky and catch more natural beauty.

Mystery Trees VI

Well, somewhat natural. I’m sure these have been inbred and crossbred and hybrid and all sorts of other tricks of the horticultural trade, and if we could put these side-by-side with their wild ancestors, the resemblance would be superficial at best. Humans are good at the whole artificial selection schtick.

Take this next bit. Okay, so here we have a perfectly ordinary little bunch of pink blooms.

Mystery Trees VII

And here we have a simple little bunch of white flowers (which, alas, are beginning to loose their petals, but they’re still pretty, especially with that shiny bark).

Mystery Trees VIII

And they’re really not unusual at all, except they’re growing on the same damned tree.

Mystery Trees IX

I know this, because I walked all round it and checked to see if things were attached, and indeed they were. So here we have two quite different flowers flowering on the same tree. This is not something that you ordinarily see. Therefore, God. Or grafting. I’m plumping for grafting. Then again, it could be a teenage mutant ninja tree. Which would actually be almost as cool as the fact a human can take a branch from Tree A and graft it on to Tree B and end up with a tree with a split personality. I remember being fascinated by this as a child. I knew you couldn’t do that with people or pets (thankfully, not by direct experimentation. My parents may have become upset, as well as the research subjects). Yet with some plants, you can make chimeras. That’s pretty damned awesome.

We’ll conclude with one of my favorite rocks. I still haven’t figured out what this boulder is, but I like it quite a lot. I’ve seen it in many seasons: sunny and shaded, snow-covered and rain-saturated and dry as a bone. But I think my favorite season is this one, when it’s about to be covered in petals.

Mystery Trees X

If I ever have a house of my own, with an actual yard, it shall have boulders and flowering trees. For a while, at least. I’m afraid the boulder would suffer the scourges of me demonstrating the importance geologists place on a fresh surface for the edification of various visitors, and the boulder could end up gravel after some years of this treatment. I suppose I’ll just have to get a really big one.

And I think, even though pink is pretty, I’ll be plumping for white. That much intense pink starts to feel sinister after a bit…

Mystery Flora: Pretty in Pink

7 thoughts on “Mystery Flora: Pretty in Pink

  1. 1

    Gorgeous! One of the “fruit with a pit” variety, I expect.

    My first thought was that the white ones were apple, but since you say they’re actually on the same tree, I’ll propose the following:

    Flowering trees tend to be grafted to a hardy rootstock. Take the flowering plums in our yard — Please! They send out roots all over the place just under the surface, which in turn send up scions in the middle of the lawn. These, if they don’t get mowed in time, have green leaves, unlike the red ones on the parent tree. In your case, a sucker coming up from below the graft may have become embedded with the parent trunk so that it can produce the white-flowering branches.

    IANAB, so would love to hear more about this from someone who actually knows!

    Oh, and that’s a very nice rock a well!

  2. 2

    Prunus something or other.
    The white flowers could be Prunus avium (I don’t know if they grow where you live).

    We also had two kinds of flowers on one tree a couple of years ago, when the trunk that the pink variety had been grafted on, started making new branches of its own. I think the others flowers were white, but I could be misremembering (we cut off those stray branches).

  3. 3

    At first I was jealous. But I just looked outside and the snow is coming down in big fluffy clumps like giant cotton balls. They’re really quite pretty, too.

  4. 4

    Dana, without even knowing it, you’ve done a very good deed for someone today. Specifically, for me.

    After reading your post this morning, I went out on my usual morning latte run (in the car) for my wife. On the way, I realized I was seeing some of these very same trees along the route and thought “Perhaps later I’ll drive up and look at these.”

    It’s turned out to be a nice evening and I had a wild thought: “Why don’t I WALK up and look at them?” So I set out to do so. When I got to the end of the block, I realized that if I turned right instead of left, there was one in that direction. And since it was downhill, I went that way. “That way” led to the little lake that’s part of our neighborhood. I hadn’t been down there in several years.

    There were ducklings! And goslings! And chickadees singing. (If you can call “dee-dee-dee” a song.) And lots of pretty pink cherry trees! I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself the past few years, this was one of the best little walks I’ve had in ages. And all thanks to you.

    About the trees: The Homeowners Assn has planted them all around the lake, at least around the “tame” part. They’ve fortunately left some of it wild. They all seem to consist of a fairly heavy trunk which, about half way up, suddenly splits into 3-6 branches. I’m guessing that’s where the graft is. I didn’t see any with two colors of flowers but they’ve all had suckers pruned off the lower trunk to prevent that. I did see two with just white flowers. One appeared to have died back at some time in the past, been cut off, and come up from the stump in three separate parts. All of which have white flowers. Nearby, under a fairly mature hemlock, was a little white-flowered sappling which probably came up from a pit which was dropped there by a bird. Or perhaps from an underground root.

    Anyhow Dana, thanks for the post. You made it a very good day for me. I’ll try to do more of the same tomorrow!


  5. 5

    Nice flowers. Sorry to vent here, but “you” (FTB) has apparently gone to a new version of “wordpress” (?) which has decided to give me some kind of horrid “toolbar” whenever I go to one of the sites.

    Please, make it GO AWAY! Ugly. Do. Not. Want.

    thanks. Nice flowers, tho.

  6. Ann

    The white flowers remind me of dogwood or Cornus (genus), but seeing the pink ones on the same tree baffles me. They almost look like a Rhododendron.

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