Nature Notes

Tiny Tumbleweeds

May 17, 2011
a person holding an insect

… is how one parent on a breezy day described the yellowish, long worm-like things on his driveway that were being rolled around by the wind, joining with others to make bigger and bigger clumps. If you have noticed clumps or individuals of these ‘tiny tumbleweeds’ then there is a good chance there is an oak tree nearby. These are the male flowers (called catkins) of oak trees that have already given their pollen (something to sneeze at!) to the female oak flowers. The latter have not fallen for they, after being pollinated, are still attached up high on the oak, developing into the oak seeds we call acorns.