Some years ago a Dutch lady attending the TDSB nature walks told me an interesting fact about the Alder species. “In the Netherlands, young children learn to count to four by looking at the alder”.
It has 1) last year’s male pollen catkins:
2) last year’s seed cones (female part):
3) this year’s male pollen catkins:
4) this year’s seed cones:
Male and female parts on the same shrub? It is not uncommon. Many plants do this including spruce, elm, black locust, dogwood and honeysuckle.
The term is “hermaphrodite.” In Greek mythology, Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. He was born with a physical body combining male and female sexes. The term “monoecious” is also used. Species like Sumac and Kentucky Coffee Tree are “dioecious” meaning that there are separate male and female plants.
I saw lots of Speckled Alder on this day as I explored the Great Trail near Blackwater.
The Great Trail follows a former railway line.
It is still early spring here and few birds were about. I did find this Song Sparrow:
The Earth awakes: Already her deep heart
Begins to stir, and send its life abroad. – Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–72)