Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 3rd, 2014

A tale of two households, part 1

with 20 comments

Male Ashe Juniper with Cones 0003

Botanists use the term dioecious (with its first o silent), made from the Greek words for ‘two households,’ to describe a species in which there are separate male and female plants. A common dioecious tree in central Texas is the Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, a male of which is shown here in a closeup from January 14th in my Great Hills part of Austin. If you were in town that day, you may well have felt the effects of the pollen released into the air by millions of these tiny cones, each only about an eighth of an inch (3mm) long. That pollen is highly allergenic, and every winter many people in central Texas come down with what is called cedar fever. (The name is doubly wrong: there’s no fever, and cedar is what early settlers mistakenly thought this kind of juniper was). I certainly got clobbered by walking around in nature that afternoon, and I’d ask you to shed some crocodile tears for my suffering except that crocodiles aren’t native to Austin.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 3, 2014 at 6:01 AM

%d bloggers like this: