Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Horse chestnut ~ Конский каштан

The horse chestnuts are in full bloom here. The main street and many other areas are planted with them. Jaan and Raia say that the individual flower spikes look like Christmas trees, but we decided that the overall effect of the trees in bloom is like birthday cakes, with the flowers as candles.

We have had a great time observing the flowers, drawing them, and even conducting a little experiment with them. Actually, we've been watching them since the very beginning of spring. Their early buds are some of the most interesting around here: huge and sticky.  And in the fall we had a wonderful time collecting and playing with huge seeds from the same trees.  Here are some photos of what they look like now:

(See the beetle?)

Our notebook pages:
You can see them separately here.

And our experiment:
The flowers change colors!  We had noticed that some have yellow dots on the petals, and some have a bright pink-red.  We took a photo of a yellow one and tied a string around it to mark it.  The next day it was red!  (I know it doesn't show well in the photo; our particular flowers was folded down a little.  The colors shows on the others near it, though.)

And see the bright orange pollen on our fingers in the close-up photos?  That has sparked an interest in pollination and flower parts.  Jaan especially has been going around, inspecting the different kinds of pollen in various flowers and looking for their stamens and pistils.  On my part, I've been trying to learn the names of all those parts in Russian.  Sigh.  My brain moves slowly these days!


Anna said...

Lovely! Were these trees still in bloom when I was there last year in June? I remember that were some beautiful flowering trees and we didn't know what they were. And these look really familiar to me now.

Mom said...

What joy to see the results of your explorations and experiments! We continue to be very thankful that the wonders of creation are not lost on you.

(If your brain "goes slowly," I fear mine is stuck in reverse gear.)

Much love to each artist and scientist....

globeonmytable said...

Congratulations on such lovely nature walks. I am hoping and waiting for ways to re-introduce these for my children.

I haven't found the beetle yet though.

Phyllis said...

Anna, I can't remember. We'll have to see how long the blooms last.

Click on the photo if you want to see the beetle. :-) I believe that it's what you all would call a Cockchafer.

Unknown said...

This is a great tree study. Such a beautiful tree! I really loved reading about your color experiment.

Thank you for sharing your tree!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

PS I am still thinking about the white flower drawing troubles. I will keep thinking and then post about it.