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What’s This? No. 29
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Although I photographed it on May 2, 2015, in Groton State Forest here in the Eastern Piedmont of Vermont, this thing has already begun to appear elsewhere in the state. Name it and be eligible to win $5 off any of my outings or workshops. Submit your answer in the comments section below. I’ll select a winner at random in a day or two. Don’t forget to enter in the “Creative But Incorrect” category as well. (I’m expecting some crazy stuff from this one.)
Added April 8: We have a winner! Twenty-five of you responded to this challenge. Of the 18 who got it right, my random number generator selected Brian Parsons as our winner. This is not, as the creative among you suggested, Raspberry Kelp (Leslie Nulty), Candied Sea Urchin (Sara Backer), Donald Trump’s hair (Josh Rose) or a Star-nosed Mole with a nosebleed (Steve Faccio). It is instead the pistillate (female) flower of Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta). As anyone who reads this blog might know, this is my second favorite flower in the world — after Twinflower (Linnaea borealis).
This flower, really only the stigmas, or the pollen-receiving part of a female flower, explodes from a bud no bigger than a pea on this tall thicket-like shrub. The fireworks happen now here in New England. So go find your fireworks. If you send me locations for the starbursts, I’ll make a map and share it. Meanwhile, for a more complete celebration of this flower, and a few more photos, including one of the male catkin, read this post. And find the rest of the creative crazy replies in the comments section below. They’re delightful. Thanks, everyone!