WHY DO SOME TREES BLOOM BE­FORE LEAF­ING OUT?

Rappahannock News - - NATURE • OBITUARIES -

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.”

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