Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Sumac--January 2011

The Tree Year

Here's my latest post for The Tree Year. (I think Das Baumjahr has a better ring to it...I may switch.)

The sun came out to make the trees sparkle this afternoon, so I thought it would be a good time to document the State of the Sumac for January, 2011. This particular stag horn sumac has its lowest fruits 12 or 15 feet off the ground, and it's at the bottom of a snowy, icy, steep hill, so the best I can do today is this full-length portrait, complete with plenty of snow-coated red fruit clusters.

Like Sherry's dad, folks around here call this small tree/large shrub "shoe-make." They regard "sumac" as an affectation. It really isn't a case of me "getting above my raisin'" though, because my raising on the prairie didn't include this peculiar tree. I only know its name from field guides and botany classes.

This smaller, distressed sumac has been growing by an abandoned gate for many years, but it hasn't gotten more than 15 feet high. It has some lovely lichens, and I can get a bit closer to those peculiar clusters of fuzzy red sumac fruits.

Here you can see that the birds have been working on the dried fruits. One of the clusters is picked nearly clean.

3 comments:

dreamfalcon said...

I like those fruits of the sumac!

Just as an info: the Baumjahr page is the german version of the Tree Year project - put up for people who don't know English. There is not much happening there (yet?).

Rebecca Clayton said...

Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for coordinating the project!

I just like the sound of "Baumjahr." For some reason, it just sounds more natural to me.

Marvin said...

Sumac berries don't seem to be the birds' first choice, but as winter wears on, they don't go to waste.