Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fuzzy White

I find some very odd things on my everyday adventures. The plant in this picture is something I've never seen before. Maybe one of you knows exactly what it is, but it is completely odd to me. This is the kind of thing that makes an adventure fun. Discovering something new.

This plant is in a very wet area. The whole place is like a big swampy pond. As a matter of fact, it is in the same area where I came upon the hundreds of ducks I showed you a few days ago. I was looking at this plant right before I reached the area where the ducks live.

When I first saw this, I thought it was some sort of strange pine cone. The plant doesn't look like any kind of pine tree to me though, so I'm sure that's wrong. Maybe it's a kind of pod or something. I didn't know it until I looked at the pictures, but the white color is from the fuzz that is growing on it. Underneath that fuzz it is green.

I would have picked one and took it home and cut it open or something, but I always worry that an unfamiliar plant might not be so good to touch. Who knows? Those little white hairs on this plant might be sharp and poke right into my skin or something. That would not be fun trying to dig them out.

I might just be paranoid about things like that, but at least I'm uninjured. I've done very many foolish things on my nature trails, but my main safety rule is to keep my hands off of unfamiliar things. Last winter I was caught in a freak winter storm where I saw a tree fall in front of me on the path, and it only excited me more. But I still won't touch a strange plant.

Here's a more pulled back view of the whole plant. I think it might be a bush of some sort, because it isn't very tall. On the other hand, it is taller than me. It might be a tree that has a lot of close branches. I guess I might learn the identity of this plant one day, but it will be purely by accident. The one thing I know for sure is that I'm not going to touch it.

Thinking about a few comments from yesterday's post, I thought about showing a few pictures of the meadow today, but wider shots just don't show the flowers very well. The taller weeds seem to hide them in the photos I already have. I'll have to go back and try to get a few better shots that include the flowers. Then maybe I can show it to you. I don't touch the flowers either. I guess it's a phobia.

28 comments:

  1. It really looks like a pine cone, indeed. I'd also never seen something like this before! Nice discovery :)

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  2. Yes, it does look like a young pine cone, but as you said, the leaf is totally different..Maybe someone can identify it soon..

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  3. VanillaSeven - Thanks. It's a very unusual plant, at least to me.
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    Icy BC - I hope somebody knows what it is. I will eventually find out somehow.

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  4. To find something new is very exciting, I have seen some new critters on my last hiking, so good and interesting.

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  5. Rainfield - I hope you have a few pictures of your new critters. Even if you don't, a little story about them would be very fun too. :)

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  6. Don't know what it is but isn't it fun to find things like that

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  7. your adventures and your finds are so exciting ratty! that is an odd looking foilage, i think i might try a search and see if i come up with something. it's very curious.

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  8. I thinks this is a beautiful plant. It looks silky and delicate. I don't think I could resist touching it, just to feel the texture, but I don't blame you for being cautious.

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  9. Howdy Sir Ratimus!
    I have friends at the UNCC greenhouses I will show your pictures to. They seem to know alot about these things!! Hope all has been well!!

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  10. It looks like some kind of seed pod to me too. Very interesting shape and texture. Maybe you could put gloves on and then look inside one? I bet it is full of seeds?

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  11. that looks very interesting, what a joyful discovery, which brings us to try to learn its identity. i don't know what it is since it is my first time to see it as well.

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  12. The leaves on that plant look like a willow but I dont recognize the tight fuzzy leaves clustered together in that manner. Makes me think of a fruit but it's just not right for that. Very odd indeed!

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  13. Joe Todd - Yeah, it is fun. I love the mystery. :)
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    PJ - I hope you have better luck in your search than I did in mine.
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    The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls - I should have probably picked one of them, but I'm just too paranoid.
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    Steve - That would be great! I'm sure if anyone could find out what it is, they could. I've been pretty good. I hope things are getting better with you too.
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    The Retired One - I think I might just work up the courage to get one next time I go there. I'm not afraid of a mob of raccoons, but I turn cowardly when it comes to touching plants.
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    Betchai - It's beginning to seem like a bigger mystery than I thought. I'm still hoping there's an easy solution.
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    Julia - Maybe that's somewhere I can start. It will be a huge accomplishment if I can figure this one out.

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  14. OK, I asked the asst. director of the UNCC Botanical Gardens, and she really wants to know more about it! She thought at first it might be some insect pod, but that was only because I could not remember the specifics you gave about it.

    Im going to email her your website so she can see it for herself.

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  15. Shaun McGowan - Thanks. I try to have fun.
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    Steve - Thanks Steve! I hope she takes a look at them and can figure out the mystery. They're definitely not insect pods. They're part of the bush they're growing on. I hope my pictures show everything clearly enough.

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  16. A very interesting mystery. The leaves look very familiar but I just can't quite come up with a name. But I have never seen a seed pod like that before.

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  17. SquirrelQueen - I think once somebody finds out what it is, we'll all recognize the name. It's a fun mystery, and I hope it gets solved.

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  18. I'd be tempted to give it a prod! Have you checked back after to see if it's changed?

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  19. so I know this post is pretty old but I recently just found the exact same thing on my parents' property and we searched all of the books we had about trees and found nothing like it. After an extensive internet search, I found out that they are actually galls made by gnats. So they aren't actually a part of the tree, bugs make them which is why they appear to be on normal willow trees and shrubs. If you searched for "gall gnat" you'd probably be able to find more information about it.

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    1. Thanks for the information. I've wondered what these things were ever since I wrote this post. You're the first one who has added any information at all about them.

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  20. I saw these exact same things on our cabin trips this year . .. they look like tiny little pinecones, with scale-like layers tapering to a point. They started out light green, and progressed to white as they got bigger/older. I read up a little on the gall gnat, and they have their eggs in red clover, not trees (this was on a shrubby bushy kind of tree, like a willow, it was well over 10 ft tall), and these definitely do not appear to be insect eggs - but I did not cut one apart to find out! Now that I know exactly where they grow, next year I will try to cut one up to see what the inside is like. I'd love to know what they are, too!!

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  21. oooh yes, after more research, it is made by a gall gnat! google "pine cone willow" :)

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation that this is a gall gnat. I'll definitely Google pine cone willow too.

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  22. Pine cone willow gall.
    A gall gnat lays an egg on the leaf which causes the formation of the fuzzy ball. There is a maggot like insect inside the ball.

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  23. Pine cone willow gull.
    There's a bug inside the fuzzy ball

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  24. So I found this plant as well. I decided to cut open the cone to see if it was a gall gnat. It was not. It was only soft pine cone like layers. I have a few pictures as well but do not know how to upload them here.

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