Mystery Flora: Anticipating Snow or White Weddings?

Our Goldener Oktober confused the hell out of our local plants, imported and domestic. I’ve seen a lot of things burst into bloom that probably shouldn’t have done. I’d swear, for instance, that the hedgy sort of bushes along one of our local streets bloomed once already this year, but when I bopped by them the first week of October, there they were, at it again.

Mystery Flower I

These aren’t the most spectacular flowers ever presented here, but they’re not bad for a lazy October day. I haven’t yet decided whether these tiny white blooms represent a fond flashback to June with its white weddings and showers of rice (ugh) or a flash-forward to December and its delicate dusting of snow (argh.)

Mystery Flower II

You know what, fuck symbolism. Let’s just let them be what they are: clusters of tiny white flowers that noticed the extended summer weather and said, “Carpe diem! Let’s bloom!”

Mystery Flower III

I’m relatively certain these are an imported domesticated something-or-other. They make fine tall hedges, are enthusiastically green (like nearly everything round here), and stay reasonably robust throughout the spring and summer. It occurs to me that I’ve paid bugger-all attention to them in the winter. I have no idea if they’re deciduous or not. They’re not something I can take a rock hammer to; therefore, I do not usually pay close attention to them. Sorry. Perhaps I was conditioned long ago by the ninjas in The Tick: “We are a hedge. Please move along.*”

Mystery Flower IV

But the flowers made me stop and do a doouble-take (much like people encountering weirdos in ninja outfits holding twigs and saying, “Really, we’re a hedge, move along” might look twice at the spectacle). And it’s a good thing, too. You see, there was this very industrious bee buzzing round, and it posed quite magnificently indeed.

Mystery Flower V

Take a moment to savor that. Isn’t it lovely? Aren’t the little pollen balls on its legs adorable? How awesome is that bee? Here, I’ll crop the image for you so that you can admire its magnificence from aclose.

Mystery Flower and Totally Awesome Bee

I can tell you, this was my favorite bee photo taken with my camera ever – until a few days later, when the bees in Oregon were all like, “Oh, yeah? You think that bee’s awesome? Huh. Whatevs. How about this, suckaz?” They then proceeded to school Washington bees on posing for photographs.

But those will, alas, have to wait for later posts, and other tales. In the meantime, you have tiny white flowers in an enthusiastically green hedge to identify. Woot, right?


*How geeky is it that I can quote that precisely from memory, even after a decade and a half? Yeesh.

Mystery Flora: Anticipating Snow or White Weddings?

6 thoughts on “Mystery Flora: Anticipating Snow or White Weddings?

  1. rq

    Well I thought common dogwood ( Cornus sanguinea ), which has the fantastic, fantastic common name of ‘Midwinter’s Fire’ due to its red branches…. BUT the better option would be the related red osier dogwood ( Cornus sericea ), which seems to be native to the entire continent of North America.
    Information here:
    It probably smells lovely. And more of that winter-midwinter snow symbolism plant, rather than the June wedding kind of plant. Doesn’t say when it usually flowers, but it might actually be right on time. Keep an eye out for it later in the season, though – it’s supposed to turn brilliant shades of red and purple.

  2. 4

    I agree with rq, Western Red-Osier Dogwood. They do plant a smaller, similar, non-native version, Siberian Dogwood, in wetland restoration projects in the greater Seattle area.

  3. 5

    Heh. I just returned a field guide to shrubs to the library a few days ago. Dogwood sounds right to me!

    I demand pictures of it in midwinter, with pretty red branches.

  4. 6

    I have nothing to add on the identification of the plant, but I really like the bee. I got over any fear of bees I had when I started to do exactly this–take nice, close-up pictures of them!

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