Friday, April 6, 2012

First pistillate flowers are showing.

     The male flowers on a pecan tree are always easy to spot. Catkins emerge with the spring flush of new growth and hang from last summer's new shoots. The female flowers or pistillate flowers form at the ends of the current season's new growth. Today, I spotted the first sign of the 2012 pecan crop.
    The photo at right are pistillate flowers produced by the cultivar, 'Shoshoni'.  Shoshoni is a protogynous flowering cultivar that breaks bud several days before most northern pecan cultivars. Early budbreak translates into early development of pistillate flowers. In the photo, you can see the yellow-orange surface of the female flower's stigma (the area where pollen must fall and germinate to fertilize the flower). Each stigma is surrounded by four leafy bracks.
     This year's  pollination season looks to be three weeks ahead of normal.