Thursday, October 05, 2006

Unusual Seed Pod

I led a hike last Saturday following the entire length of Taylor-Massey Creek, about 16 km. It was attended 15 people, mostly Bruce Trail regulars. The low turnout may have been due to the threat of rain although it held off until very near the end.

In Taylor Creek Park we came across some unusual trees with leaves shaped like birch or cottonwood. However they produced a very bizarre looking seed pod (see picture). It is about 7 cm in diameter with curly woody spines sticking out all over it. Imbedded in each pod are about 5-7 seeds that kind of look like hazelnuts. I looked it up in my Trees in Canada book but I couldn't find an equivalent so it is likely non-native. If any tree experts out there have a clue, let me know.

Unknown seed pod. Can you identify it?


Marnie said...

I've consulted with some friends and have an initial guess of European Beech. Someone's checking with the curator of a herbarium -- I'll get back to you with the results!

Anonymous said...

Alan S. Weakley, Curator of University of North Carolina Herbarium in Chapel Hill: I'm pretty sure this is a teratological Corylus (hazelnut). Because of a virus or fungus, the normal bracts enclosing the nut are going crazy.

Donwatcher said...

Thanks for your comments. I am going to visit the tree again and take a closer look.

Kati said...

Wow, what a surprise to encounter a picture of what I think I have right beside me on my desk. It was among odds and ends my housemate left behind when she moved out. I will check on the dimensions you are describing and maybe have an answer to my own puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a filbert nut (hazelnut) in Oregon we grow a lot of them... take care.
Hiedi in Eugene Oregon