Standard approach photo—boxelder on left, in nook formed by warehouse walls.
National Weather Service Observed Weather for Laramie, Wyoming; November 10, 2018, 9:53 AM (MDT): partly cloudy; 36º F; humidity 31%; winds westerly, 28 mph with gusts to 38 mph.
Conditions were not ideal for plant photography, but I had no choice. There would be no other opportunities to visit the boxelder I’m following if I wanted to post my report before the deadline. So off we went.
Even from a distance, the change was obvious. A month ago, the boxelder still was covered in green leaves, even though most other trees had turned color or were bare. Now the boxelder is bare too, except for a few memories.
Leaf still hanging on (boxelder leaves are compound).
Amazingly persistent spring flowers; note anthers at ends of dangling filaments (male tree).
I saw many more remnant petioles (visible below), which I mentioned last month. I had no idea that boxelders drop leaf blades but not petioles, or at least not yet. Do maples do this? (both boxelder and maples are in the genus Acer) Any other plants, do you know?
Abundant buds promise that spring will come. Though I never really doubt that it will, I still find comfort in buds.
|Flower and leaf buds.|
A tumbleweed had lodged in branches near the base of the tree (straw-colored, mid-photo below). This was no surprise. The field across the river to the west, part of the Territorial Prison tourist attraction, was cleared of vegetation a few years ago, I have no idea why. Now it’s perfect habitat for tumbleweeds, and every year around this time, they cut loose and head into town, dropping seeds as they go. This one is kochia (Kochia scoparia), the most common of our tumbleweeds.
The Canada thistles along the base of the warehouse wall were still green but seriously wilted. I think they're done for. This is Cirsium arvense, one of the most noxious of our noxious weeds.
Next I checked on the little lilac bush that I discovered last month in the field just west of the warehouse. When the surrounding railroad ties, palettes and debris were removed recently, the cleanup crew left it standing—so nice, and I smile whenever I see it. Now it too is bare of leaves. But there are plenty of promising buds.
A small building used to stand in this field; perhaps that explains the lilac bush. I looked through my photos, and found one from April 2014 with the building. Sure enough, it stood in the area of the little lilac. Whitman’s lilac came to mind—the one that last in a dooryard bloomed—but I think their circumstances differ. This lilac has survived in the absence of a dooryard, and hopefully there's more blooming ahead!