Are these flowers on my Fraser Fir?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by shelli, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. shelli

    shelli Active Member

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    Hi all.

    Last summer my Fraser firs lost a lot of needles due to dry conditions. One of them dried up at the crown (about a foot and a half). This spring all of them were absolutely covered in these "things" which I'm hoping are flowers, but unsure. Can anyone identify what these things are. At first I thought they were small pine cones, but then the pine cones appeared and they are much larger (and prettier). Thanks for your help.
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not quite flowers in the botanical sense, though they do produce pollen. These are the male cones and are even described in the Wikipedia entry on [WIKI]conifer cones[/WIKI] as "flower-like" (in appearance).
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Those are the male (pollen) cones. The female (seed) cones are erect, on the higher branches at the top of the tree.

    PS Firs don't have pine cones - that would be like a cat having puppies. Firs have fir cones, pines have pine cones ;-)
     
  4. shelli

    shelli Active Member

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    Thanks so much for the info. I'm relieved to know that they are cones and not some kind of illness. Sorry about the "pine" cone thing. I thought firs were part of the pine family... my mistake. Thanks again!
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No problem! Technical point - yes, firs are in the pine family (Pinaceae), but that doesn't actually mean they're called pines despite being related (to continue the animal simile, foxes are in the dog family Canidae, but aren't called dogs and don't have puppies either :-)
     

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