Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wildflowers of the week: Canada Buffaloberry & Beaked Hazelnut

Female flowers of a willow
 Spring has finally started popping in the Home Bug Garden, but in the bush things are still a bit subdued. Coltsfoot and Creeping Buttercup are adding some colour, and this week, wild violets, but most of the forage available to the bees is much less easy to notice - the catkins of shrubs and trees, willow and hazelnut in particular.
Tiny flowers of Canada Buffaloberry
 Among the moose grazed hazelnuts, however, is one shrub with more flowery, if tiny, blooms, Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt., also called Russet Buffaloberry. Last week we mistook it for hazelnut, but this week, with the leaf-buds burst, we were quite clearly wrong. The scale-like appressed hairs that cover buds, stems, and leaves should have clued us in - Elaeagnaceae, the Oleaster family that includes things like Wolf Willow (Elaeagnus commutata) and Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia). 
Moth sipping at Buffaloberry flower
 The catkins of Beaked Hazelnut Corylus cornuta Marsh. also are 'in bloom', but not very flowery. We've managed not to even notice them until this year, when we corrected our misidentified Buffaloberries. Eventually, they do yield small hazelnuts - tasty if difficult to extract.
Beaked Hazelnuts
 We originally intended to plant Beaked Hazelnut in the HBG to provide some wildlife food and the odd snack. That was before red squirrels decided to colonize our attic, though, and on second thought we decided not to do any more to encourage them. There is nothing like removing 1557 spruce cones from attic insulation to make one appreciate that maintaining a distance from wildlife is in both our interests.
Nymphs of a hazelnut lace bug
 Another reason we decided against planting Beaked Hazelnut is that in the bush it is heavily infested by lace bugs (apparently Corythucha coryli Osborn and Drake, 1917) and look quite ratty by the end of summer. If the lace bug populations are out of control in the bush, where presumably their parasitoids and predators are abundant, then they are likely to be just as bad or worse in an urban garden.
Adults of Corythucha coryli


  1. sorry, gave you wrong email address. Correct one is
    Also, I do credit photographers, and I can add a link to your blog if you like

    1. This email bounced!

      The images belong to Ms Home Bug Gardener, so you should ask her for permission.