The extraordinarily warm weather has continued this week, with temperatures more common to the middle of May than to the middle of March. In just two days, the ubiquitous honeysuckle, the invasive species that is part of most wild areas in my neck of the woods, has gone from small buds to unfurling leaves, adding a green tint everywhere. More wildflowers have popped out; I think I even saw a Spring Beauty, the pink carpet flower of the late April/early May forest. It has been so warm that the butterflies have crawled out of their cocoons, though I don’t know if there is enough pollen for them yet, nor if they can survive the cool nights. Even the trees are being coaxed out of hibernation, with more species budding. The dogwoods and ornamental pears have begun blooming, adding their pretty white hues to the landscape, and the redbuds and wild plums are beginning to show their purples and pinks.
Last night, on a short, sauntering walk after dinner, I spotted an intriguing looking tree bud. Today, I revisited the same tree to see that the buds are beginning to open. I think that this is a variety of a Buckeye tree, and that the green tower of tight berries will open into yellow-white flowers soon.
When I was a teenager, kids joked about the cover of the Indianapolis phone book which displayed a stylized drawing of these leaves. While some adults might have objected to the state tree of our neighboring state Ohio being on our phone books, the kids just winked and laughed, thinking that the drawing looked more like something that one might want to smoke. From the last picture above, you might see how a slight alteration in the leaf arrangement in a drawing, without any reference to a tree, could lead to such a conclusion.