In December, Thoreau used to go hunting for hopeful signs of spring. A bit early, you say? Not when the quest was for skunk cabbage.
Just as winter is beginning, this wildflower is sending up its odd-looking and foul-smelling buds through ground that may already be frozen. It can do this because the club-like spadix, which bears its flowers, has the ability to produce heat, a process called “thermogenesis.” The spadix is protected by a cloak-like spathe, which keeps out the cold air and keeps in the warmth. Even when the outside temperature is freezing, the spadix can heat itself to more than 70 degrees.
In early March when snow is still on the ground and spring is still weeks away, skunk cabbage is already ready to bloom, and its hot pocket will welcome bees, flies and other early insects to a tiny, tropical microclimate.
Profiles of notable Ridgefield, Connecticut, people of the past, along with musings on nature in suburbia and meanderings into The Old Days.
Follow us on Facebook's "Old Ridgefield" group or at www.RidgefieldHistory.com
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Spring in December
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
The Jeremiah Bennett Clan: T he Days of the Desperados One morning in 1876, a Ridgefield man was sitting in a dining room of a Philadelphi...
Charles Bluhdorn: The 'Mad Austrian' His death seemed like his life: face-paced and high-powered. Charles G. Bluhdorn, who b...
T he Bradford pear is a “street tree” that’s blessed with benefits and cursed with shortcomings. A cultivar of an Asian tree, the Bradford...
Col. Hiram K. Scott: A Most Useful Man If anyone could be called Ridgefield’s “most prominent citizen” in the 19th Century, it’s Co...
Post a Comment