Have you seen the magical pink powder puffs floating through the air or coating the treetops in the past month? When a species comes into flower it’s presence is suddenly mapped out in front of you better than with GIS. This tree, with crazy Barbie flowers and tiny leaflets almost like needles, is straight out of a My Little Pony cartoon, but I never even noticed it until its flowers popped out. It is EVERYWHERE. That is the problem with the species in fact: it is not native. Non-natives that manage to get themselves EVERYWHERE are often called invasive, because they are taking over the niche of others, which can throw entire ecosystems out of whack. I knew when I first spotted it that this 6 year old girl’s fantasy tree was one that my tree teacher had mentioned once before. Lucky for me that teacher wrote a book on the trees of DC, and it is particularly handy for being full of photos of the trees in flower. This is not something I find in too many of my tree books, but when those flowers are out it is really all you need- and rightly so, as the reproductive organ (flower), along with the fetal fruit, are the building blocks and most unique features of most plants. This is the Mimosa, also called the Silktree, and it was brought to us from somewhere between China and Iran, where perhaps one can enjoy the delicate beauty with no sense of gloom hanging over them.
We only get the world as it is- however much I may want to plant natives, I can’t bring back the Chestnut as the forest’s dominant tree. The place it reigned over is gone. So I suppose it is alright that these bleeping pieces of bleep bring a little smile to my face. They are pretty, and I figured out what they are called! Still, now that I know, I think maybe they ought to go. Pleasekaythanks.