Friday, August 14, 2020

My Purple Tree on a Lovely Day in the Park

Last month, an afternoon thunderstorm kept me from visiting the chokecherry tree I'm following. So when I saw it yesterday, I was really surprised. It's purple!
In the wild, chokecherries have green leaves. But there are purple-leaf cultivars that turn from green to purple over the summer. They're said to turn gradually, but having skipped July, I missed the transition.
I especially like the trunk.
In June, I visited shortly after a heavy wet snow fell. With trees already leafed out, the town was a mess of downed branches. This tree suffered a broken branch, a major one. But it stayed in place, and the vascular cambium (main growth tissue, under the bark) continues to function—plenty of leaves and cherries.
The damaged branch droops, but is covered with leaves and cherries.
Chokecherries (Prunus virginiana) are native to North America, from Canada to northern Mexico. "Choke" refers to the astringency of the berries. Indeed, it takes a lot of sweetener to convert chokecherry juice into syrup, jelly or wine. I'm happy to leave them on the tree for birds to harvest.

LaBonte Lake, known to locals as Stink Lake, was emitting no foul odors despite our consistently warm weather—highs in the mid 80s F (~30ΒΊ C). Through binoculars (for birding) I could see that the City's aerator was working, bubbling away. It was such a lovely day in the park. So I stayed awhile.

This is my monthly contribution to the virtual gathering of tree-followers kindly hosted by The Squirrel Basket. Consider joining us—it's interesting, fun, and stress-free! More information here.