Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Shaving Brush Tree

When I pulled into the University parking lot, I saw the most incredible tree -- practically leafless, but covered in bright pink blossoms unlike anything I had ever before seen.

I wanted to get out of the car immediately and take pictures. But I had to get the car to the dealership because they do business on a first come, first served basis. I didn't stop to take photos. I also didn't make it to the dealership on time, so I made an appointment for Friday and went to the mall and wandered around downtown a bit.

About a half hour before OC was to get off work, I drove back to the University. My camera and I had an appointment with .... a barren tree. All of the gorgeous pink flowers had fallen to the ground. Not one remained on the branches.

Friday I again took OC to work. Again when we pulled into the lot, the tree was blazing in pink glory. This time I didn't ask OC if I had time to take photos. I knew I didn't. My appointment was in 45 minutes and I still had downtown traffic to negotiate. So what. I parked the car, got out and spent the next ten minutes snapping photos.

These flowers are called "Shaving Brushes". They bloom in the Spring before the leaves bud. As you can see, a bee was busy harvesting pollen.

The Shaving Brush tree is a hardwood, deciduous tree. The curled "ribbons" at the base of the flower are formed when the pod opens. These ribbons are very hard and leathery.

This last photo, like the first one, is of a white Shaving Brush Tree. If you look closely, you can see pods awaiting their turn to open. The tree blossoms every morning, and is barren by mid-afternoon to early evening.


Dan said...

Great pictures! Very dramatic tree flowers! I would love to know what tree species this is. Very interesting post.

quilly said...

Dan -- my partner is a botanist and the answer is actually on his blog.

Patty said...

These pix are great. I just, for the 1st time, came across a shaving brush tree. I am wintering in Fort Myers, Florida and found the tree on the grounds of the Edison Estate. It's leaves hadn't even started, but buds and blooms were plentiful. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen. I found this blog when I googled to try to find more info about the tree. The one here is pink and it's lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Samgesan said...

It's beautiful tree indeed! You can actually cut a branch off from it and put it in a pot with plenty of soil, sun, water and watch it grow. I got a branch from a friend in Brownsville, TX, brought it to houston and it's growing.


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