Sunday, December 21, 2008

Toxicodendron radicans it is

Dana and Justin correctly identified the frozen branch as that of Toxicodendron radicans.

This is how it grows on the fence along the southern boundary of our property...



... and here are a few of the remaining, nutritious fruits that are eaten and then spread by a variety of birds...



This probably explains why the plant has this shrubby growth around all of our fence posts. The birds eat the fruit, sit on the post, and poop out the seeds; then the plant grows up along the post. Urushiol, the chemical that causes the itchy rash in people, is not poisonous to birds.

Toxicodendron means "poison tree," and radicans means "rooting along the stem." Can you believe that there is a cultivated variety of poison ivy with variegated leaves?

9 comments:

Justin said...
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Justin said...

Sweet! Those are some compositionally interesting photos as well. I wondered what the man made object was in your quiz photo.

Your total disregard for the boundaries of quizable material has not only liberated me from the trappings of traditional examination, but has engaged the gears of inspiration within my otherwise dormant and sloth-like brain in such a fashion as to rear in my soul the belief, nay knowledge, that I too can muster such creatively seductive juices with which to share and ignite the passions of men and women and children of all races, colors and creeds that have set forth on the luminous quest of botanical query. I will follow suit.

Scott said...

I have a few more interesting ice/plant photos. It's really pretty, and the sound created by clinking branches is also pretty. We still had all the ice as of this morning, but the sun has been out all day today, and it looks like at least some of it is melting.

Not quite sure how to respond to your second paragraph, but now I'm really looking forward to your next quiz.

We spread a mix of cracked corn and striped sunflower seeds along our driveway yesterday, and by 5PM we had a flock of 34 snow birds feeding in our driveway! Lindsay is watching today and will hopefully be able to snap a photo that I can post. I know Justin will be excited.

Justin said...

By "snow bird" do you mean Junco? Or are we talking Snow Buntings?

Scott said...

Well, I was hoping to be able to post a photo to show you, but Lindsay couldn't get a photo today. When they were there, the camera battery was dead. I'm going to keep trying in the next few days, but just in case I can't get a photo.... yeah, we're talking Snow Buntings. Sweet. Yard bird #99.

Keith said...

Ah, yes, the Yard Birds.
They made some great music back in the 1960's!

Scott said...

Hey Keith... who's the guy with all the hair in your profile photo??

Justin said...

Yeah, he looks familiar. Almost like Keith, but with a wig on.

Keith said...

Oh, that's my Elvis impersonation wig. Guess I forgot to remove it that day...