|WHAT COULD BE SO INTERESTING OUT ON THE WATER?...|
|...A FAMILY OF CANADA GEESE|
|MOUNTAIN ASH TREE IN BLOOM...|
|...LARGE PANICLES OF SMALL WHITE FLOWERS...|
|...AND FEATHER-COMPOUND, ASH-LIKE LEAVES.|
We went to the beach earlier, where Buddy and Allison got soaking wet and had to be dried off and warmed up. The big attraction was a family of Canada Geese plying the choppy waters off the Sioux River. Buddy did some swimming but decided he wasn't a Labrador Retriever and ended up pointing the family of birds from the shore. A wise choice.
Mountain ash trees are in bloom now. They are small trees to twenty feet or so, and often shrubby rather than treed-like. They all bear panicleS of white flowers in spring and colorful orange to red berries in the fall. The bark of all the species and varieties is thin and cherry-like, shiny dark brown, with prominent lenticels. They are much used in landscaping.The European mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia, is often escaped from cultivation. S. americana and S. decora are native to Canada and the northeastern US and upper Midwest. All can be rather difficult to tell apart, but the one now most sold by nurseries is S. decora, which has bright red berries, whereas the others have orange to reddish fruit. The common name mountain ash refers to their pinnately compound, ash-like leaves, but true ash trees have opposite leaves and branches, and Sorbus has alternate leaves and branches. All are in the Rose Family, and since they are not true ash trees (in the Olive Family) they are not a host for the Emerald Ash Borer.
The American mountain ash is a tree of the far northern boreal forests, but the easiest way to tell the difference between it and the European species is that the former has sticky dormant buts and the latter has wooly, non-sticky winter buds. The berries of all are edible, and are important wild life food, although they are rather too mealy and bland for my taste.
Mountain Ash are important trees in the landscape, even though they are short-lived. In addition to being susceptible to fire blight, they often are damaged or even killed by wood peckers, and are a favorite of the diminutive wood peckers known as sapsuckers, which sometimes entirely girdle a tree with their pencil-sized drillings, from which they drink the sap of the tree. Regardless of their short comings, these trees are important in the landscape as they offer prolific blooms, colorful edible fruit, good fall color and much year-round interest.
|PRAY FOR THE WORLD'S CHRISTIANS,|
PERSECUTED FOR THEIR FAITH