Field of Science

Is this bittersweet?

Someone called these fruits to TPP's attention and asked if this was bittersweet?  Now there isn't a whole lot of bright color along trails at this season and this path was a RR right of way formerly, so bittersweet was possible.  Nope, not bittersweet.  However they were not far wrong.  This is a large gangling unkept viney species of Euonymus, E. japonicus, perhaps (TPP isn't good on this genus).  Euonymus is mostly relegated to TPP's Don't plant this list. Left unattended this sprawling plant is aggressive and since it is shade tolerant, it can take over a wooded area. Euonymus is a member of the Celastraceae, the bittersweet family, so with good reason the fruits are similar.  The fruit consists of an outer fruit wall with a creamy to reddish color, so not really very attractive, but the wall then splits open to reveal a seed covered by a red (or orange) aril, a fleshy covering of the seed, to both encourage and reward bird seed dispersers.  The value to birds doesn't at all compensate for the aggressive nature of this plant.  So don't plant it!

Friday Fabulous Flower - Flowering early?

The local fall weather was pretty mild and so our tropical houseplants stayed outside a bit later into the season than in the past.  And then November turns cold and includes several snow events (none really serious).  As if it isn't confusing enough a warm front moved into our region on Friday and the temps got very mild, while we got treated to thunderstorms and tornadoes.  Although tropical plants are often day neutral, the longer cool nights seem quite capable of inducing flowering in quite a few of our tropical house plants.  Both the so-called Christmas cactus and the Easter cactus promptly produced a huge flush of buds and began flowering. The induction period in most houses must take a bit longer such that the cacti more or less flower near their namesake holidays.  Now of course commercially glass houses can be manipulated to bring plants into flower at the appropriate season for sales.  But with house plants you take more or less what you get. So, yes, a Christmas cactus flowering some three weeks before Christmas.
Fridays have turned out to be pretty busy days in our semi-retired/retired lives and TPP if finding it tough to find time for blogging.  So please indulge the irregularities.