Oct. 21, 2018

More sassafras

Here's a glimpse of the staminate sassafras flowers that weren't there yesterday.  Sassafras has the sexes on different trees.  Sassafras also spreads enthusiastically by roots.  So whenever we see on of those brilliant fall groves of sassafras, it's likely to be all one tree, and all one sex.  So far this fall, that has frustrated my search for the berry, which are dark blue, held in red cupules.  Very pretty!  Both yesterday and today, you might have noticed the little structures that look like stamens, but shorter.  These are staminodia, adapted stamens that only attract pollinators.  Kind of like high heels for flowers, and perhaps not much more useful.