mardi 5 janvier 2016

Still decorated after Christmas

While Christmas trees decorations are being removed, look at those which are appearing in some trees, Corylus avellana, the common hazel.
It was the first of the temperate deciduous forest trees to immigrate, establish itself and then become abundant in the postglacial period.

The scientific name avellana derives from the town of Avella in Italy but some say that it rather comes from Gaulish Aballo, « apple ». Corylus derives from the Greek name of husk, form of the short leafy involucre which encloses about three quarters of the nut.
Common hazel is cultivated for its nuts and is also appreciated by vertebrates which manage to crack them open, such as squirrels and corvids.
 
 
The wood was traditionally grown as coppice, the poles cut being used for wattle-and-daub building and agricultural fencing. 

Common hazel is typically a shrub reaching 3–8 m tall, but can reach 15 m. It lives in symbiosis with mycorrhiza around its roots.
The flowers are produced very early in spring, before the leaves, and are monoecious with single-sex wind-pollinated catkins. Male catkins (or ament) are pale yellow.

The word catkin is a loanword from the old Dutch katteken, meaning "kitten", on account of the resemblance to a kitten's tail. Ament is from the Latin amentum, meaning "thong" or "strap”.
Female flowers are smaller and can hardly be seen now.
In this species occurs protandry, it begins life as a male and then changes into a female. So, several trees around are necessary to bear fruits. It can also be reproduced by striking, layering and of course with the nuts.
Although the red squirrel remembers where it created caches at a better-than-chance level, its spatial memory is substantially less accurate and durable than that of grey squirrel; it therefore will often have to search for them when in need, and many caches are never found again.
 
 
So I just suggest to Scrat to convert to chasing hazel nuts, he may be luckier than with acorns.
 
 
This post is the first of many on trees. Like my father, forest ranger, I like them very much.

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