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Tree Walk

August 31, 2011

We have the excellent fortune to live near the Red Mountain Community School, where Buddy attends kindergarten. Today, the school had a tree walk led by one of our favorite people, Henry Hughes, the education director at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The school invited neighborhood residents to tag along, and The Bean and I jumped on the chance. Henry often leads Fresh Air Family’s Hikes For Tikes on Saturday mornings at the gardens. When he leads the walk, it always turns into an amazing science class for us.

Henry Hughes showing the students some leaf samples before the walk. Those are dogwood leaves. Note that the leaves grow immediately opposite each other as opposed to growing in a staggered pattern.

Gingko trees are either male or female. This one has fruit, so it's female.

Note how the acorns on this oak tree are fully covered. I believe this is an overcup oak, but someone tell me if I'm wrong. πŸ˜‰

Something's been munching on this American Elm leaf.

Like dogwood and ash leaves, maple leaves grow immediately opposite each other.

Oaks are either "red" or "white," depending on whether their lobes are pointed or rounded. This one's pointy lobes indicate that it's a type of red oak.

There are lots of live oaks used as landscaping plants in our city. This hurricane-resistant species is native to the coast.

It's just fun to see kids this engaged. πŸ™‚

The black oak gets its name from its black bark.

Leaves of a cherry tree.

I need to get the particulars on this; I believe it's known as a peppercorn tree, although the fruits aren't actually peppercorns.

Buddy's teacher found this awesome hornworm near the peppercorn tree. It looks like it's rolled up in a leaf, but it's not, how's that for camouflage? It'll turn into a moth.

The Bean holding the hornworm.

Henry explaining about bilateral symmetry in flowers.

These sweetpeas exemplify bilateral symmetry. You could fold them in half, and each half would be like a mirror image of the other half, like people.

This morning glory exemplifies radial symmetry.

Henry explaining how seeds and fruits grow after pollination.

An old post oak tree in Caldwell Park. Nurseries aren't selling post oaks any more, so as they die off in public parks they are often being replaced by exotic trees from Asia. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens has a program to raise native trees for parks.

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