When I first decided to tackle the topic of flowers, I actually thought of flowers as a separate species, as in there are trees, plants and flowers.
It took a while before I realized that flowers are simply a stage in the life cycle of every plant, at least, all of the angiosperms. Trees have flowers. Right now in Seattle, the lindens are about to burst into bloom. The horse chestnuts are sporting the delightful red and white blossoms known as candles. And the laburnums have shed their petals, as have the locusts. Grasses also have flowers, although we rarely see them because they’re so small and fine. The fuzzy pussy willow buds that I wrote about in March are flowers, as are the catkins dangling from the birches and the alders.
All flowers exist to flirt, to lure the pollinators that will fertilize the ovules and swell into fruit and disperse the seed. And all flowers are transitory, existing only for a brief interval in the life of the plant. Lucky for me there is a far wider time range for blossoming than I imagined when I started my flower project. Now I know that I can find blossoms year round, like the curving yellow threads of the witch hazel in January.
The photo of a wisteria blossom was taken by my friend Michael McIntosh at Schreiner's Iris Farm in May 2008.