Nature Notes

Volume III No. 3 - September, 1930

By F. Lyle Wynd, Acting Park Naturalist

It is not often that the Mountain Hemlock trees about the Rim of Crater Lake bear a large crop of cones. It has happened that for several years scarcely a cone has been produced, but this season the trees are virtually loaded down with maturing seed-cones. We have seen many branches that have been broken by their weight.

The White Bark Pine is another tree that often fails to produce cones for several years at a time, but like the Mountain Hemlock, it is heavily loaded this season.

The same heavy crop of cones is also seen in the Shasta Red Fir and the Noble Fir.

It has been said that some conifers bear a large crop of cones every six years, this probably being due to some cyclic change in the physiological condition of the tree. The fact that every species of conifer in the Park is bearing an unusually heavy crop of cones would seem to disprove this theory. It would be a remarkable coincidence, indeed, if all of the coniferous trees of Crater Lake should have the fertile peak of their physiological cycle the same year.

The season at Crater Lake was very much earlier and warmer than in most years. The snowfall was very light. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the early, warm spring was the important factor in the large seed production of our conifers, rather than some independent physiological change in the tree?

How Bees Carry Pollen
By H. A. Scullen, Ranger Naturalist

If we watch the many kinds of bees which visit the flowers of Crater Lake National Park, we will sooner or later see a very busy little bee about a half-inch long with its abdomen stuck up at right angles to the remainder of its body. On the exposed surface of the abdomen will be seen a bright yellow mass of pollen embedded in the bristles. This is one of the leaf cutting bees (Megachile), if she is gray color. If she is bright green or blue, she is an Osmia. Both are common in the park. The family of bees to which both of these belong are of special interest, because of their habit of carrying pollen on the abdomen rather than on the legs as do most other bees.

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