not bulbs but cool

Sat, 31 May 2014 08:36:41 PDT
A seed collecting story - I shared this story with nursery staff thought you would like this one too.

I've beed collecting Twinberry, (Lonicera involucrata), fruits this week. This early season crop always is available just after the cottonwood fluff is flying. It's a matter of a seasonal heavy flush of fruits that overwhelm the birds who feed on the berries. The plant has black  'involucrate' bracts the look very much like fruits after they are gone and attract birds (and seed collectors) to harvest every last berry on the plant. Later ripenings of berries are gradual and birds get them all.

For a seed collector it is not worthwhile to pick fruits where birds have taken most of the them. Wandering around the county Wednesday collecting in neighborhood roadsides, I was musing that households maintaining bird feeders, attracting them in abundance, that the nearby twinberry  are completely cleaned of fruits. Hmmm, hard to prove just a seed collectors musings.

Yesterday, however I was on the back end of this fruit flush. Driving through Skagit county on backroads most of the plants had been cleaned of fruits by birds. So I headed towards Conway where we usually harvest Pacific Willow seed. Taking the I-5 exit I noticed some twinberry plants in a wetland meadow that were heavy with berries. Pulled in and started collecting and the grove was exactly under an active nest of Red Tail Hawks. I collected 2 gallons of huge black berries in the shade of a small cottonwood grove while the pair of hawks flew overhead and complained loudly. Not a single berry had been taken by birds from these bushes, yet about 200 yards away in the same meadow these shrubs were cleaned off. 

Rich H

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