Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Almost Like...


Walking around our neighborhood this week you would have thought that you were in a snow storm, albeit the temperature which was really pleasant for mid-April.

In fact the snow-like fluff comes from poplar trees which shed their seeds. The Fluff, which carries the seed, produced on female trees, is dispersed by the wind. The seeds are in pods that split open and release minute seeds attached to long white hairs. The phenomenon is temporary and last about two weeks. The seeds do not cause allergies but it often coincides with the grass pollen season. The microscopic grass pollen causes allergies but can’t be seen, so people often associate their reactions with the visible poplar seeds.

Doing some research about the phenomenon, I found out that a few years back there was a campaign for a grand sex change plan (of the poplar tree that is!)

Chinese poplar trees to change sex....by Communist decree
They are not afraid to boss nature around in the name of the glorious Communist Party. China's leaders have already dictated how many children a woman can bear, made the clouds rain at will, and, in the absence of grass, painted a rocky hillside a pleasant shade of green.

Female poplars and willows in the capital, Beijing, are being injected with a 'liquid growth inhibitor' which will effectively neuter them. So their plan to stop pollen causing havoc in the hay fever season is nothing less than ambitious - sex-change operations for the trees. It is hoped this will prevent the layer of white fluff which blankets the city each spring as part of the pollination process. […]
"The pollen affects the air quality of the city, and harms human health, so the city authorities must do something to deal with it," the state television, CCTV, said in a nationwide report. […]

In 2001, the city ruled that only male willows and poplars could be planted in the city proper. But statistics showed that by 2005 there were still nearly one million female willows and poplars that had been planted in the 1950s and 60s. […]
[Nobody could] explain how the infertile trees will reproduce in the future, or if the operation - which involves boring a 1in hole into the trunk - can be reversed. […] (Daily Mail)

Can we make a snowman with it?