Friday, April 26, 2013

The blossoming of Prunus, Pyrus, Malus & Crataegus

The two women from China—mother and daughter—turned from surveying the sun-dappled glades, splashed with tightly folded blossoms. The daughter smiled ruefully at me. "It is too early."

They, like I, had walked to the farthest corner of Kew Gardens to behold the bluebell woods. But it has been a late spring. The little flowers still hold their blossoms close, not quite ready to release the magic of their deep-blue music under the pouring-down glory of sunlight.

However. Bluebell lovers who were too early found an immensity of consolations. Playing second fiddle to no dainty woodland flower is the family Rosaceae, who were busy spending their drifting clouds of blossom and sweetness to draw droves of deliciously fat bees.

And of course, meeting a peacock along the way is always a consolation.

Some offspring of the family Rosaceae* pictured:

Genus Prunus: cherry, plum, and other trees and shrubs that bear stone fruits. Plum and cherry trees are greatly venerated in the East, as told in this lovely tale from Japan.
Genus Pyrus: pear trees, bearing pomaceous fruits. Pear trees live a long time and symbolized immortality to the ancient Chinese.
Genus Malus: apple, crabapple and wild apple. Avalon, the island where King Arthur went to recover from his wounds, means the "Isle of Apples."
Genus Crataegus: hawthorn, also called thornapple and hawberry; the hawthorn often marks the entrance to a faery mound in Ireland.

*Since many of the ID tags on the trees used only Latin names, good thing I had my iPad along and could Google for their common names.

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