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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!


  1. Jeane says:

    American Hazelnut blossom

  2. Kay Schlueter says:

    A special effect left over from the Kirk Douglas movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?” Maybe? Just a guess.

  3. Mark Rahill says:

    Female flower of Corylus cornuta -beaked Hazelnut

  4. The Muppet Miss hairdo is now available at your local salon.

  5. Sure looks like the female flower of either American or Beaked Hazelnut. The flower of Sweet Fern is also a red sprouty thing like this.

  6. Kate Kruesi says:

    Corylus americana or cornuta. I love admiring them this time of year and photographed some of their carmine red stigmas here in Burlington where I’ve found Corylus quite common! They were not uncommon in Tinmouth too where we used to live.

  7. Sara Backer says:

    I haven’t seen one of these since I left Japan! It’s a candied sea urchin, used to cleanse the palate between sushi dishes. The flavor is predominantly high fructose corn syrup with assertive undertones of frog vomit. Definitely looks better than it tastes.

  8. Kate Fricker says:

    Beaked Hazelnut
    Gorgeous color.

  9. Female of the Corylus cornuta species.

  10. Leslie Nulty says:

    Raspberry Kelp

  11. Mary Droege says:

    beaked hazelnut female flower

  12. Jill Weber says:

    Hi Bryan, Greeting s for eastern Maine! Carpellate flower of Corylus cornuta or maybe Comptonia peregrina.

  13. Mark Council says:

    Why that there is the female flower of a beaked hazelnut. GREAT shot of an extraordinary flower, Bryan!

  14. Linda Shatney says:

    flower of the Corylus cornuta.

  15. Jeff Meyers says:

    tips of female flower cluster, Acer rubrum

  16. Joan Ray says:


  17. Teensy little hazelnut flower?

  18. Brian Parsons says:

    Pistillate flowers of Corylus cornuta, Beaked Hazelnut

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