The lovely tassels on this boxelder tree are its flowers. They flower in the spring at the same time that their new leaves sprout, so the tender foliage with their coterminal silky skirts swishing in the breeze is truly stunning. Original Photograph, Modified with Graphic Design Software.
Boxelder trees are dioecious; they have separate male and female trees. The lovely, pinkish tassels hanging from the branch of this Boxelder tree are the filaments of its male flowers which emerge just as the tree leafs out in spring. They hang down like little hula skirts and the anthers at the tips release pollen that will float on the wind to fertilize the flowers on the female tree. Boxelders flower in the spring just before their new leaves sprout. The tender new leaves are tinged orangish-red with anthocyanins which serve as both sunscreen and insect deterrent. The upward-reaching foliage together with their coterminal silky skirts swishing in the breeze, seem to be engaging in a seductive fertility dance. This image inspired digitally-enhanced colors to align with the intensity and passion of the wonder I feel at the evolutionary process that culminated in life's structures, like a tree's flowers, which are both functional and wildly aesthetic.
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