Article in: Outdoors and Travel
April 23, 2010
In the quest to become a more rounded naturalist (aside from “just” birds) I have been constantly looking at plants, insects, and everything else wild I encounter. As the “nature lover” at work, it is oft assumed that I know the answer to anything outdoor related. Sadly, this is not the case.
But I do have a lot of resources and it is fun to learn what things are. I have often felt that much of the joy of birding is putting names to species. I can enjoy seeing birds but knowing more about them is so much better.
I walk with a group of coworkers on break to enjoy the fresh air and listen in on some of the daily gossip, er news. I work in an industrial park but there is plenty of shrubby habitat and attempts to landscape in what would otherwise be a sea of buildings and parking lots.
On one of our walks we discovered a peculiar stench and once we determined no one dumped a body in the vacant lot, we discovered it was the blossoms of a tree. I was asked what it was so took a few shots with the iPhone and checked with The Sibley Guide to Trees. A coworker called it the “turd tree” although I think it smelt much worse than turds.
From what I could determine, the tree appears to be an American Plum (Prunus americana). From Sibley: “flowers 1 inch, white, early spring before leaves (Mar-May) in 2-5 flowered umbels, fragrant, ill-smelling“. That sounds just about right!
I love getting outside away from the computer and enjoying the fresh, spring air. Well, not so fresh when close to the “turd tree”.