Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First pistillate flowers visible

    I took a break from grafting trees to check on the development of the 2015 pecan crop. Every year, our trees are covered with catkins (male flowers) but catkins only produce pollen, dry up, then fall off the tree. Over the years,  I've found that the number of catkins produced has no relationship to the number of female flower clusters that will be produced on the ends of this year's new shoots. So today, I went hunting for pistillate flower clusters.
   The first place I looked was a Kanza tree. I chose Kanza because of its protogynous flowering habit (female flowers receptive before pollen is shed) and if any tree was going to display female flowers early in the season it would be a protogynous cultivar. From a distance, all I could see was more leaves being produced by the shoots (photo at right).
    However, on close inspections I could see a pistillate flower cluster partially hidden behind the petioles of  emerging leaves. The yellow arrow in the photo at left points to the developing flower cluster. As the new shoot continues to grow, the pistillate flower cluster will become more visible with each flower in the cluster developing a prominent stigma.