Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring Tree Study

My last post reminded me that I never posted our spring tree study. In the winter we picked a black walnut tree outside our schoolroom window to observe throughout the year.

In mid-April we did an indoor study of our tree since it was raining outside. We had already noticed over the previous weeks that the walnut trees were among the last to bud in our woods. By the time our tree was budding the rest of the woods was looking pretty green.

It was amazing to see how the leaves form. Every spring when the trees bud, we always comment on how the woods gets greener each day, but this was the first time we took the time to look at the process up close.

Those little bundles of leaves will eventually turn into compound leaves with 12-24 leaflets.

We learned that the hanging clumps are called catkins and are the male flower of the tree.

Here is our tree almost a month later.

And since I first starting writing this post last night, we've had heavy rain that washed most of the catkins away.

We are looking forward to monitoring the progress of our black walnut tree through the summer and fall. In recent years it has been taken over by some sort of caterpillar in the late summer, so we'll see what happens this year.


  1. We have a walnut also and our catkins have been dropping over the last weeks...what a mess. It wouldn't be so bad except that part of it is over our sidewalk.

    Amazing photos of the leaves development. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Great photos! I have never seen the catkins before.

  3. You really captured this beautifully. I admire your work.