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Naked Buds

12-5-12 flower and leaf buds of hobblebush IMG_6226Tree buds are formed in the summer, so if you look at a tree today, it will have buds on it, in the axils of where the leaves used to be (on deciduous trees). There are two kinds of buds – leaf buds and flower buds (flower buds are typically fatter than leaf buds). Both are usually covered with scales which help seal in moisture to protect the bud from drying out during the long, dry winters when water is frozen and therefore unavailable. Different types of trees have different types and numbers of scales. There are a few trees whose buds lack scales completely; these buds are referred to as “naked.” Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) and hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) all have naked buds. In the photograph, a hobblebush leaf bud is on either side of a flower bud.

10 responses

  1. That is a beautiful close up. I believe another widespread plant with naked buds is Poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).

    December 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

  2. Now we know why you’re a naturalist. You like to hang out with your naked buds. (Life could be worse!)

    December 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

  3. Elizabeth

    I like to clip hobblebush twigs with flower buds on them in January and bring them indoors to force them in water. It helps them to take up water better if you crush the twig end a bit with pliers. In about 4 weeks you get lovely white flowers.

    December 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  4. Seen from the side, hobblebush buds have always reminded me of hands in prayer, praying for spring…

    December 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

  5. Susan in NH

    I agree about the hands in prayer. Also looks a bit like an angel’s or bird’s wings!

    December 6, 2012 at 1:58 am

  6. nangalland

    What a beautiful sculptural form! Your photos are amazing!! – nancy

    December 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

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