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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pears? Or...

The other day, as we were driving along the Coast Highway, my mother (who is visiting from Massachusetts) said, "I think I just saw some pears!"  I've been in California long enough now that I knew what she had seen...but do you have a guess?

Warning: The picture below might give the answer away. 

Although not the actual ones that she saw, these are the same type of "pear-look-alikes":

Did you guess the fruit of the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)?

These large, pear-shaped leathery capsules split to reveal a beautiful, shiny, swirled-with-brown-patterned seed: 

Today we were walking at Crane Creek Regional Park (in Santa Rosa), and while stopping to admire California Buckeye trees, we heard a few loud thuds as the seeds dropped to the ground.  Then we noticed quite a few picnic tables under these large California Buckeye trees.  It crossed our minds that it might be a risky time of year to sit at those tables (see below):

(Just kidding...no mothers were hurt in the creation of this image!)

While researching California Buckeyes, I came across a wonderful article by Roger Raiche.  He did such a great job, I'm just going to direct you to Roger's article here California Buckeye: A Tree for All Seasons.  It's totally worth reading.  I especially like his description of how well matched this species is to a Mediterranean-type landscape. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very attractive forage for honeybees , but very toxic as well. Beekeepers were always advised to keep colonies away during bloom.