Tree Following in March: A Whole Lotta Nuthin’

I suppose to suggest that there’s nothing going on with my American Sycamore,  Platanus occidentalis, would be erroneous. Truthfully, in its outward appearance, not much has changed since we last engaged in the monthly Tree Following musings.

The American Sycamore stands stalwart and skeletal, beautiful in its simplicity.  It’s always one of the last trees to leaf out in my neighborhood, along with the native Pecan, Carya illinoinensis, trees.  I’m not seeing much, if any, thickening of bud development for ultimate leaf-making.


But there is some action in the goings-on of birds.  Cedar Waxwings,  Bombycilla cedrorum, rest and chatter on  the limbs.




…four more,


…and six.  Yes, there are six in the photo, though I cut the head off of one lad and another preens behind two full seed balls, to the amusement, or irritation, of a companion.

There have been more birds at other times too, but on such windy days all that photographed was a smear.

The seed balls, or fruits, which never dangled in quite their usual numbers this year, are fewer on the tree now. Some are on the ground in my gardens, either whole or not.

The Sycamore seed is an achene attached to hairy strands which help with seed dispersal.

The Sycamore seed is an achene attached to hairy strands which help with seed dispersal.

There have been days when I noticed a light snowfall of individual seeds floating on the wind, wafting to unknown destinations, but this year, there was no ticker-tape celebration of normal early spring wind dispersal.  The dispersal of seeds by wind is called anemochory, but American Sycamore seeds also disperse by water, called hydrochory.

The Sycamore will leaf out during the next month.  The foliage will be lush, providing months-long shade for animals and people.

Thanking Pat of The Squirrelbasket for graciously hosting this fun meme about trees. Check out her blog for interesting information about trees from all over the world.

20 thoughts on “Tree Following in March: A Whole Lotta Nuthin’

  1. How clever of the waxwings to pose for you amongst such color coordinated seed balls. “We’re ready for our close-ups, Ms. DeMille!”. Does the Sycamore bud out quickly when it is “time”? One day our Althea bush branches were all simple sticks and the very next afternoon there were tiny leaves unfolding. Boom. Just like that.

    Personally, I’ve got my fingers crossed you’ll see some hydrochory today and all the rest of the week if our forecast rains appear. Everything and everybody seems to be counting on this season to stick to the long agreed upon bargain to provide support, what with all the blooming and budding and migrating (and garden blogging…). Happy March!


    • If there’s ever a bird that will “pose”–it’s a Cedar Waxwings. I’ve always considered them the runway models of the bird world–constantly needing everyone to look at them. And why not? They’re so gorgeous. As to the leafing out, the truth is that I can’t really answer that question, because, as you mention with your Althea–one day it’s sticks and the next day it’s a tree with leaves. That’s the great thing about Tree Following–I’m more aware of the goings-on of the tree. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

      Rain would be lovely, but I hope the harsh stuff will pass us by.


    • Aren’t they gorgeous?? And they know it, too. Glad you liked the terms, though I think they might be hard to work into your average cocktail party conversation. Thanks for hosting!!


  2. I have noticed that some of our native plants/trees tend to be ultra-conservative about leafing out — as if they know all about outlier frosts and will avoid any risk at all.

    The waxwings are gorgeous!


    • Yeah, there might be something to that strategy–certainly makes sense. Before about 20 years ago, it wasn’t all that uncommon to have freezes in April.


    • Ah, but then your trees would be caught, fully leafed-out, in freezes. Then the poor things would have to start all over again. I love the fruit too–it’s fun to step on and hear the “POP”!!


    • “Mobs” is about right! Here, it’s not only pyracantha, but Yaupon, Burford, and Possumhaw berries. And probably others, too, that I don’t know about.


  3. Pingback: Tree following link box for March 2016 | The Squirrelbasket

  4. Pingback: Green It Is: Tree Following in April | My Gardener Says…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s