Sunday, March 27, 2011


I'm getting antsy here for some serious spring weather. This morning's run with my golden retriever was lovely but frosty, with a view of fresh snow dusting the foothills. I think it would be okay if winter signs faded, allowing buds to really pop.

I am intrigued by buds. They embody potential, what might be, enthralling possibility. As I wander my yard, I peer at the buds of dogwood, magnolia, aspen, pear, and willow. Each wrapped bundle is a gift: a present that will soon make its grand entry.

I go inside and read about buds. Botanists talk about buds in intriguing ways. For example, calling buds terminal, axillary or adventitious is just referring to where they choose to land on the plant, whether at the top of a stem, in the axil of a leaf, or elsewhere, like on a trunk or a root. If I were a bud, I'd prefer to be described as adventitious rather than terminal. Wouldn't you?

The appearance of buds is set forth with a vivid set of descriptors. Buds can be scaly, covered, naked or hairy. Buds that are hairy can be either scaly or naked. Now, I don't think being described as scaly is a good thing; it sounds too reptilian which, in our culture, is not positive (apologies to my herpetologist friend Frank). But to be both scaly and hairy just doesn't sound attractive. If those adjectives described me, I'd be looking for some laser removal pro, followed by good moisturizer.

Buds' status also determines how botanists describe them. Buds occupy roles described as accessory, resting, dormant, latent, or pseudoterminal. I'm thinking that none of these titles enhances self-esteem. If you were to choose your status from this selection, would you really be satisfied with dormant or latent? I cannot ever see myself happy with the status of "pseudoterminal," even if I knew it meant that I might be like a persimmon bud, having sympodial growth in which a terminal bud dies and is replaced by a closer axillary bud.

And then there are bud functions. I thought I understood what buds do: they get things ready for the show of flower, fruit, leaf, et al. Guess it's more complicated than that. Some buds' function can be described as "vegetative," which means they only contain vegetative pieces, like an embryonic shoot with leaves. Okay, but I thought all buds, in fact, all plants, are made up of vegetative pieces. I'm puzzled and so read further.

I find that, if a bud isn't functioning in a vegetative manner, it could be doing so in a reproductive manner (having the embryo of a flower) or it could be functioning in both a reproductive and vegetative manner at the same time (having both embryonic leaves and flower). This is making some sense to me, as I conclude that some buds are really good at multi-tasking.

My bud-study is clouding my head, confusing me, messing with years of intense bud observation. I think I'll quit reading. I think I'll just go back outside and peer at the buds in my yard. I really don't care if they are they are pseudoterminal or adventitious or hairy or scaly. I am just excited about the gifts that they are set to unfold.

No comments:

Post a Comment