Looking down 1


Stunning yellow tidemark showing where a puddle had been.

Stunning yellow tidemark showing where a puddle had been.

I often feel that I miss the world going by if I walk along with my head down. But sometimes I see things that I might have missed otherwise.

For example, what’s this bright yellow stuff appearing around Whiteknights?

It’s occurring on paths and roads over much of the campus at the moment. Like the tidal waves around this puddle. Sometimes it’s visible on soil too.

Male cones releasing pollen.

Male cones releasing pollen.

The explanation is that some of the conifers are in ‘flower’. (Although ‘flower’ is not the right botanical term since only Angiosperms have what botanists consider true flowers. Conifers belong to the Gymnosperms.) Male cones at the moment are producing huge amounts of pollen. Much of this is being wasted and is drifting down to the ground, but some will stay air-borne long enough to encounter a receptive stigma within a female cone where fertilisation will occur to produce new seed.  The particularly heavy pollen produces at present are the numerous Cedrus trees on campus, mostly C. libani/atlantica.

So be careful where you park your car for a while. Otherwise you’ll be washing off a film of vivid yellow dust!

About Fay Newbery

PhD student in the Plant Pathology Research Group.
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