WHY DO SOME TREES BLOOM BEFORE LEAFING OUT?
Let’s face it, nature, and life itself, is one big crap shoot. And organisms have evolved to find their particular niche and roll their favorite set of dice.
Before winter, trees and shrubs store energy to make it through the cold season and to start reproducing in the spring. According to an article about early bloomers on the Loyola Center for Environmental Communication website, “since reproduction is so important, the adaptive strategy of pre-leafing flowering is to use those energy stores to produce flowers that provide the seeds.”
The production of flowers also requires sunlight, just as does the production of leaves. And early flowering “ensures that the leaves will not block the sunlight from the flower buds,” the article goes on to say, and “once the flowers have done their jobs, they fall and leaves appear.”
The upshot? “The grand strategy,” the article says, “is that these plants put all food reserves into reproduction before all the other plants begin to grow, then spend the rest of the growing season focusing on growth and storing food for the winter.”