I recently wrote a couple of posts inspired by a bunch of tulips I had bought. I talked about the personality they reveal when they are picked and subjected to the constraints of a vase, and about the way they twist and writhe in a kind of dance of death.
Unsurprisingly, those flowers have now been discarded – even I can’t live with dead flowers on the kitchen table for very many days, however interesting the photos of decay may be – and I don’t suppose there will be any more tulips to be found at the supermarket until next Christmas.
That said, I found a different kind of tulip in the park the other day although, at the time, I didn’t realise what it was.
I’m not particularly good at identifying trees, but I’m trying to learn more of the species I see locally and do try to remember any distinguishing features that will help me look them up. Mostly, of course, these features are leaves and flowers, fruits and seeds.
I’ve more or less worked out that a certain leaf shape indicates a sycamore or a maple, even if I’m not always sure which. But the other day I noticed that one of the trees I’d assumed was a maple didn’t have the typical winged “helicopter” seeds that had already set on most of its neighbours; in fact it had some fairly large flowers.
The blossoms were quite high on the tree, so I couldn’t get a very good view of them, although they looked a little like a magnolia. As I was hurrying to catch a train I merely made a mental note to return with a proper camera and take a closer look.
Having done so, I looked up my findings on the internet. Fortunately, someone else had made the same mistake as I had: it’s not a maple at all, but by looking up maple tree flowers, I discovered that it’s a tulip tree. I was right when I thought the flowers looked like magnolia blooms as it is from the same family.
As I said, the flowers were quite high off the ground, so these aren’t the best photos, especially as we’d had some bad weather and they were all a bit battered and bedraggled.
But further reading has told me that some people refer to the abutilon as the flowering maple, so I’ll add one more photo in for good measure. I had to go back in my files to find it as it was taken six months ago; I’ve been looking for a place to post it since then and I think will add a useful bit of colour to the page.