Apr 18 2013

Putting On The Green

Published by at 7:30 am under Phenology,Schenley Park,Trees

Ohio buckeye leafing out (photo by Kate St. John)
This week the trees in Pittsburgh are putting on the green.

The flank of Mt. Washington is my favorite place to see it.  All winter the hillside is a flat brown color without the look of individual trees but now each leafing tree shows up as a pale green crown.  Some are white with flowers.

This appearance is ephemeral.  Soon the leaves will be large and shady and the hillside will look uniformly green.  So now while the trees are changing so fast here's a close look at what they've been up to.

Above, in Schenley Park an Ohio buckeye leafs out.  Below at a later stage the flower buds emerge. (*see the Comments for discussion on this tree)
Ohio buckeye flower buds (photo by Kate St. John)


The bitternut hickory is not so quick but its mustard yellow bud has begun a leaf.

Bitternut hickory bud opening (photo by Kate St. John)


The pignut hickory's end bud is furry, shiny and enormous.
Pignut hickory bud (photo by Kate St. John)


These catkins look like caterpillars.
(Dark bark, perhaps a sweet birch. Do you know what tree this is?)
Catkins that look like caterpillars (photo by Kate St. John)


And the crown jewels are the magnolias, native to Asia.  This is a star magnolia.  Wow!
Star magnolia blooming (photo by Kate St. John)

(photos by Kate St. John)

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Putting On The Green”

  1. Rob Protzon 18 Apr 2013 at 9:32 am

    Beautiful pictures, as always, Kate! Thanks 🙂

  2. George Bercikon 18 Apr 2013 at 9:45 am

    April in Pittsburgh—- Nature putting on the Ritz!

  3. Mary Ann Pikeon 18 Apr 2013 at 10:05 am

    I’ll have to see if I can find the buckeyes in Schenley Park to look at them more closely. The Ohio Buckeye is more common, and has the stamens distinctly protruding from the flowers. The stamens do not protrude from the Yellow Buckeye flowers. There is a stand of Ohio Buckeyes in Boyce Mayview Park. I found a stand of buckeyes along Peter’s Creek Road in Jefferson Borough last weekend but the flowers hadn’t bloomed yet so I couldn’t tell which type they were….I have to go back and check them out this weekend.

  4. Kate St. Johnon 18 Apr 2013 at 10:11 am

    Mary Ann, looking forward to your opinion on them. They’re along the Upper Trail. I keyed them out in winter – they were hard – and did not recheck.

  5. Kate St. Johnon 22 Apr 2013 at 9:49 am

    Mary Ann, they bloomed and they are indeed Ohio buckeyes. Thanks for the tip!

    And a note on the mystery catkins. The bark looks like ironwood.

  6. Kathyon 18 Apr 2013 at 10:58 am

    Beautiful, Kate. Thank you. I used to love my walks through Highland Park when I lived in Rochester, N.Y. The horse chestnuts, the star magnolias and all the rest. My very favorite tree in that Park, and I have a framed picture of it right here in my living room, is a little Japanese Stewartia. That tree has such character. I am headed back “home” to see it next month. That and all of the beautiful lilacs.

  7. Mary Ann Pikeon 29 Apr 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for letting me know Kate. I was going to see if my husband wanted to take a walk in Schenley Park tomorrow at lunch to find them for me (he works in Oakland and I haven’t been able to get down there to look for them). Is the Upper Trail the one that runs along the Blvd of the Allies toward Squirrel Hill? But I guess he doesn’t have to go now if he doesn’t want to 🙂

    I found a lot of Ohio Buckeye blooming along Peters Creek in Jefferson Hills this weekend. Also, I was in Marietta Ohio on Saturday and saw a Yellow Buckeye and a Paw Paw tree in flower there (the first time I’ve seen either of those in person).

  8. Kate St. Johnon 29 Apr 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I re-found the buckeye tree the other day at eye level along the Lower Trail (gravel & wide that parallels the creek). And if you start at Bartlett entrance & walk to the Visitors Center you’ll also see pawpaw to your left — some on the lower trail where Upper and Lower divide and some near the bend above the marsh – a whole patch of pawpaw there.

  9. Tammy Deemeron 01 May 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Can you tell us the name of the mystery tree?

  10. Kate St. Johnon 01 May 2013 at 10:33 pm

    The tree is probably ironwood, also called hop hornbeam. Here’s a photo of the ironwood’s catkins.

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